MSNBC's Contessa Brewer Complains About Blogs Pointing Out Her On-Air Gaffes

In part two of her interview with TVNewser editor Kevin Allocca on MediaBistro.com's Media Beat, MSNBC anchor Contessa Brewer discussed a incident last year in which she mistakenly introduced Reverend Jess Jackson as Al Sharpton: "...those things make me crazy.... I really hate that something like that can paint your whole career."

Brewer specifically called out blogs for reporting the gaffe: "...when I was younger in my career, if I had made a mistake like that, there were no blogs to keep it perpetuity." Allocca replied: "Are you looking at me? I do have a blog that keeps things in perpetuity." Brewer responded: "Whether you do or not, there will be someone else to pick up that slack, so I won't hold it against you in particular." The TVNewser blog did indeed report the incident on October 21, 2009, as did NewsBusters.
                        
Brewer explained: "...the best thing I can do at the point is just to apologize and the Reverend has been very gracious and accepted my apology." She then added how the gaffe "turned into a great opportunity to develop a relationship with someone that I admire," referring to a subsequent meeting with Jackson.

While discussing the issue with Allocca, Brewer declared: "I'm the final gate keeper, I'm the last person to try and make sure that the facts are right, that what we're moving forward and we're putting out there is, most importantly, factually correct." That has not always been the case with Brewer. In August of 2009 she fretted over "racial overtones" of "white people showing up with guns" at anti-ObamaCare protests but failed to mention one such man she cited was actually black.

During the first part of the Media Beat interview, Brewer described her MSNBC audition as "like a Marine Corps obstacle course" and criticized "difficult" guests that "come on with an agenda."

Here is a transcript of the second part of the Media Beat interview: 
 KEVIN ALLOCCA: And speaking of spending a lot of time on air, when you're on air a lot, it's live television, there are mishaps and – that happen.

CONTESSA BREWER: Really?

ALLOCCA: Yeah. And there have been some that have happened with you and I'm wondering – you know, I'm speaking, for example, you know, recently, not that recently, but the Jesse Jackson Al Sharpton incident that happened.

[BEGIN CLIP]

CONTESSA BREWER: Joining me now to talk about this and the nation’s real problem of joblessness, the Reverend Al Sharpton. What’s your reaction to hearing someone say, 'you know, when it comes to income inequality, all’s well, the rising tide floats all boats?'

JESSE JACKSON: I’m Reverend Jesse Jackson.

BREWER: Right, I don’t – you know, I’m so sorry, the – the script in front of me said Reverend Al Sharpton. I’m looking at your face, I know who you are, Reverend Jackson, we all do. I’m sorry.        

[END OF CLIP]

ALLOCCA: Do you feel like those kind of gaffes get – get more attention from you than other people or do you feel like it's sort of standard for the industry?

BREWER: I don't know, because I don't Google everybody else, but I do Google myself, and yes, I think that I get a lot of attention for that. And the reason why those things make me crazy is because, you know, this is what I was saying about juggling, this job is really about how many balls do you have in the air at once. And when something shows up in the Teleprompter that's wrong, I'm the final gate keeper, I'm the last person to try and make sure that the facts are right, that what we're moving forward and we're putting out there is, most importantly, factually correct.

And in that case, I missed it, I didn't see it, didn't catch it, didn't realize I'd said it. And once it became very obvious that I had said it, the best thing I can do at the point is just to apologize and the Reverend has been very gracious and accepted my apology. And actually, his – it's turned into a great opportunity to develop a relationship with someone that I admire and I think he's – he always brings an interesting perspective on current events.

The part that is still a bitter pill to swallow, I really hate that something like that can paint your whole career with 'you don't know what you're talking about. You don't know who you're talking to.' I hate that. And you know, when I was younger in my career, if I had made a mistake like that, there were no blogs to keep it perpetuity.

ALLOCCA: Are you looking at me?

BREWER: Well, I'm just-

ALLOCCA: I do have a blog that keeps things in perpetuity, but-

BREWER: I'm just – whether you do or not, there will be someone else to pick up that slack, so I won't hold it against you in particular.

ALLOCCA: Well, thank you for that.

BREWER: You're welcome. 
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen is a News Analyst for MRC