Fox News on-air talent, eat your heart out - that is, when it comes to Mika Brzezinski's ideal conservative.
Brzezinski appeared at Politics & Prose bookstore in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 13 to promote her new book, "All Things at Once" along with her MSNBC "Morning Joe" co-host and author of "The Last Best Hope: Restoring Conservatism and America's Promise," Joe Scarborough.
Brzezinski was asked by a member of the audience why she is sometimes reluctant to be more vocal with her ideologically liberal views on their show. She explained that wasn't necessarily her role.
"There's a lot of different things going on with my role," Brzezinski said. "You know sometimes, see - and most of the time, he's taking on three Democrats at the table and I find myself more moderator, making sure the voices are all being heard and that civility prevails, which is something that is really important to us."
The key, according to Brzezinski, is that Scarborough meets qualifications that other conservatives can't match (emphasis added):
"But also, I can be a counterpart when necessary and I jump into that when necessary," Brzezinski said. "But also, this is really important - the conservative voice in elegant, articulate, non-aggressive fashion is hard to find I think on television. I think this is the only one in general. We are creating a balance, not just on our show, not just the moment that you're watching, but think about the whole network. We need to make sure there is that. We need to make sure there are a lot of things going on with our show."
Scarborough explained the show isn't rehearsed and it needed Brzezinski as a component to work.
"And also, while we don't sit back and calculate how on our show, and I think the reason our show works is because, you know, one of the reasons why we needed somebody like Mika is because they kept trying to push people on us that as I always say had more curls than brains," Scarborough said. "We got three hours, no teleprompters and again we don't plan it out."
One of the criticisms of Scarborough has been that he's gotten hard on conservatives and soft on liberals during his stint at MSNBC, and there are various anecdotal examples of this. However, he explained there is a reason behind this - for good TV.
"Sometimes we do balance it out where we'll look at a list and we'll say, ‘OK, so we've got four liberals here on the panel. I'm going to lean forward a little bit more and you moderate.' And if they're a couple of conservatives on the panel, I'll say, ‘OK, I'm going to go after the conservatives and if I go too hard you pull me back.' So again, while we don't sit there and produce it out and calculate it out so much, we always try to keep a pretty good balance. Now sometimes because there is not a teleprompter it goes completely off the rails."
Scarborough detailed his recent reaction to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's controversial comments and a response he got via e-mail from White House adviser Valarie Jarrett. He explained he railed against Reid during their TV show, then took to him again on their radio program.
"After that, I made a pledge to Mika, and to Harry Reid, and to Valarie Jarrett that I would no longer talk about dialect, skin tone or rednecks from Nevada," Scarborough said.