By Jack Jodell, June 6, 2011
RACHEL MADDOW (1973- ) is the host of MSNBC-TV’s wildly popular The Rachel Maddow Show, seen Monday-Friday at 9 PM Eastern. A Rhodes scholar with a Ph.D in Political Science from Oxford University, she has always championed progressive causes, despite having been raised in a conservative, strict Roman Catholic family. She is also the first openly gay political commentator in prime time on U.S. television. Rachel lives in both Manhattan, where she works from, and in western Massachusetts with her long time partner, artist Susan Mikula.
An excellent investigative reporter, Maddow leaves no stone unturned to get the the bottom of a relevant news story. She helped break the existence of the shadowy right-wing pseudo-religious Washington D.C. cult The Family and the sordid affair of member Sen. John Ensign (R-UT), and the subsequent hush-money/cover-up role played by his wealthy parents She has called into question and exposed dozens of far-right lies, and has done so with solid analysis and fact. There is no one better than Rachel Maddow to dissect point by point the inaccuracies of the latest far-right crazy claim. It is quite obvious this lady does her homework!
Quite the athlete, she played three sports in high school (see her senior class photo at right). She is an avid Boston Red Sox and New Englant Patriots fan. Maddow got a degree in public policy from Stanford University in 2004, and, at graduation, received a John Gardner Fellowship award and a Rhodes scholarship. Her next stop was earning her Ph.D at Oxford. Upon receiving her Rhodes, she made a pledge to her friends that she would never sell-out to the establishment. She made good on the pledge by immediately cutting off most of her hair and dyeing what was left blue. Her career in broadcasting began on radio, at WRNX-FM in Holyoke, MA. She actually won her co-hosting spot after entering a contest sponsored by thae station’s owner. In 2004 she was able to pursue her passion for politics by moving over to the new all-liberal network Air America. From there, she began making guest appearances on and even occasionally hosting MSNBC-TV’s highest-ranking Countdown with Keith Olbermann Show, and eventually was offered her own hour of programming, directly following his, in 2008. She immediately poured herself into the show, bringing a vitality and thoroughness unrivalled in modern mainstream media.
Very lively and witty, Rachel Maddow is seldom at a loss for words. When asked about her own politics, she once quipped, “I’m undoubtedly a liberal, which means that I’m in almost total agreement with the Eisenhower-era Republican Party platform.” Interesting—I made a similar observation about that wretched party in a blog I did several months ago concerning how very far to the right they have drifted since their more sensible and pragmatic days of 1960! But Maddow’s liberal stand on issues is undeniable. She, like me (and I dare say most of the readers of this blog), is constantly attacking the current far-right Republican Party and their Tea Party faction for the consistent anti-labor, anti-science, anti-intellectual, anti-truth, anti-gay, pro-corporate stances they take, as well as the blatant hyperbole and deliberate distortion they employ while taking those positions. Yet, the amazing thing about her is that she manages to treat ALL guests on her show, be they conservatives, reactionaries, libertarians, progressives, liberals – whatever, with the utmost respect, courtesy, and deference. Her competitors over at Fox “News”, namely Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity, and Michelle Malkin, could learn a great deal from her excellent example!
Maddow’s excellence in jpurnalism has netted her a number of well-deserved awards. In 2009, she won a Gracie Award, presented by the group American Women in Radio and Television. Also in 2009, her show was the only cable news show to win a TV Critics Association award for Outstanding Achievement in News and Information. In 2010, Maddow won the 21st Annual GLAAD Media awards in the category Outstanding TV Journalism-Newsmagazine. That same year she was the recipient of a Maggie Award for her reporting on healthcare reform and the murder of abortion doctor George Tiller.
Rachel Maddow is a top-notch journalist who speaks truth to power and deserves our support. If you haven’t done so already, tune into her show. You’ll be pleased at what you see, especially at the way she actually does true investigative reporting!