In the first hour of “Morning Joe” the set felt compelled to once again address charges of sexual misconduct against show regular Mark Halperin.
As it did Thursday, the task fell to Mika Brzezinski who abruptly shifted from regular programming to deliver an emotional monologue about their “friend” Mark Halperin. Brzezinski ultimately said that despite the show’s personal closeness to Mark, that they supported MSNBC’s decision to suspend him.
“I’ll speak for both Joe and myself here, our hearts break for Mark and his family because he is our friend but we fully support NBC’s decision here,” she said. “We’re not going to avoid the story just because he is our friend. We’re going to cover it and we’re going to pray for everybody involved.”
With “Morning Joe” one of Halperin’s most visible platforms, media journalists and gawkers have been watching the program with a microscope to see how they would address the matter. In the very early moment of the scandal Thursday, Brzezinski issued a terse statement only announcing the news and promising that there would be more to come.
Her comments today thread a very careful needle between expressing her sympathy for Halperin, without being “soft” on the overall issue of sexual harassment. The tension between those two competing interests was on vivid display.
“We believe it’s important to stand with our friends through even the most difficult of times, but it’s even more important to demand the truth even when the facts appear to be extremely painful,” said Brzezinski. “We are at a pivotal moment in history where unacceptable harassing behavior toward women will no longer be swept under the rug and we do remain a nation of laws where everyone is considered innocent until proven guilty, and nothing has been proven or adjudicated here.”
In addition to his MSNBC suspension, Halperin saw much of his political/media empire fall away yesterday. Before the day was out an upcoming book on the 2016 election was canceled. and the future of his HBO show ‘The Circus’ was also in doubt.