Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Finding ideological agreement

Rachel Maddow is now a television personality. Not bad for someone who doesn’t even own a set.

Maddow got her start in radio answering a cattle call for on-air talent at WRNX, in Holyoke, Massachusetts (Mass-a-two-setts for you Obama-ites). She was hired on the spot to co-host the station’s premiere morning show.

From Holyoke, she moved over to Northhampton’s WRSI for two years, hosting their Big Breakfast.

Next came Air America, where I first discovered Ms. Maddow. She was partnered with former Public Enemy frontman, Chuck D, and Lizz Winstead, on the sharp, snappy Unfiltered. After this gig got cancelled, two weeks later, Maddow landed her own two-hour program, The Rachel Maddow Show, flying solo.

Maddow’s grown into her on-air personality. Smart, witty, and not afraid to go toe-to-toe with her ideological opposites, Maddow should do well on MSNBC, which seems set to be cable’s flipside of Fox.

With a triumvirate of Chris Matthews, Keith Olbermann, and now, Maddow, the cable network now is where liberals find validation.

Maddow is clear about what her role will be. From the Wall Street Journal, "Ms. Maddow does bemoan what she sees as America's rightward drift. She's already taken some shots from conservative commentators about her politics and the fact that she is gay (she's also a Rhodes scholar). Noting that Ms. Maddow will take the slot of longtime MSNBC regular Dan Abrams, Rush Limbaugh said on his radio show, 'It's got to be humiliating to be replaced by someone who has more testosterone than you do.'"

This segmentation of journalism raises concerns for me. American politics seems to have become nothing more than finding voices that lend comfort to one’s choice of ideology. A case of, “my mind’s made up, don’t confuse me with the facts.”

As Rem Reider, editor at American Journalism Review notes, Maddow is a good choice for the network, but it “reinforces the trend toward separate megaphones for separate audiences.”

Just another talking head, preaching to like-minded ideologues.

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