Grilling Dan Rather — her former boss — was no easy task for MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski Friday morning.
“It was like I was interviewing my dad,” says Mika B., who has had two stints at CBS News. “I’ve known him a long time. I’ve watched him all my life. My parents know him.”
When Brzezinski began at CBS in 1996, “it was Dan who guided and mentored me,” she says. “He’s been a huge friend and supporter.”
Still, she pulled no punches on the phone with Rather about the $70 million lawsuit he filed Wednesday against CBS over “Memogate.” It was only his second interview, following CNN’s Larry King Thursday night in L.A. (“Theyâ€™re friends. I understand,” she says.)
Brzezinski was at her daughter’s riding lesson in Scarsdale, N.Y., Wednesday when anchor Joe Scarborough called to give her the heads-up about Rather. She immediately began working her cell phone.
“I doggedly called him and his producers and his handlers, probably 25 times,” Brzezinski says. “I started begging to be the second interview. It would have been better if we were first. Next time, I just need to be more aggressive.”
More aggressive? The mind boggles.
Unlike many of her industry colleagues, Mika B. says she wasn’t surprised by Rather’s legal move.
“Dan Rather is not someone who gives up. When he left CBS, I always felt we hadn’t seen the last of him, so we’ll see. I have warm memories of my time working with Dan, but I have a lot of questions about this lawsuit.
“It’s really cool that he gave me the opportunity to ask them.”