I love the The Rachel Maddow Show. Their podcast is excellent, and I listen to it every morning on my way to work. It’s how I keep updated on the state of the world. I used to mostly rely on Facebook to keep me informed, and then I realized that my Facebook information skews toward trans/queer (and possibly PIC)-related news. I might get half a dozen different people posting links to the same new trans article (especially if a certain Windy City Times reporter has written it) . . . and nothing about President Obama’s new jobs bill, or the whole debt ceiling crisis, or who this Herman Cain character is.
I’ve been watching TRMS occasionally since the summer of 2009 (and faithfully downloading the video podcasts), but I rarely made the time to actually watch them regularly. The audio podcasts, however, started up just days before I started driving almost forty miles to work everyday, and I’ve been listening regularly ever since.
I really enjoy Rachel Maddow. So much. She’s articulate and clearly very intelligent — she’s a Rhodes Scholar, by the way — but she explains things in a way that is easy to understand and yet not dumbed down. She’s charming and humourous and just very likeable. She also has a rather unusual approach to very conservative guests on her show — she is virtually always friendly and courteous (and appears to genuinely like most of the people who appear on her show, including somewhat unlikely people like Michael Steele and other conservatives), but she doesn’t back down when she (respectfully) disagrees. The most antagonistic I’ve ever seen or heard her be was in her interview with Richard Cohen, a person whose work was one of the inspirations of Uganda’s “Kill the Gays” bill, and I’m amazed at her restraint, actually. I thought she was brilliant in that interview, if it needs to be said.
Rachel Maddow is not perfect, of course, and there are certainly aspects of her show and her views with which I disagree. Still, in terms of mainstream news and media, I can’t think of anyone I’d trust more to inform me about what is happening in the world. If nothing else, she and her show do a fantastic job of making connections and keeping track of various politicians’ positions. She even reads the books written by the people she interviews and quotes relevant passages from them: she definitely does her research.
Disregarding all that, The Rachel Maddow Show is also quite entertaining. They occasionally have segments like “The Best New Thing In the World,” “Moment of Geek,” and “Cocktail Moment” (one of my personal favorites, in which Rachel Maddow show us how to make a cocktail that is at least partially relevant to something in the news). The show is fun, and Rachel Maddow is endearing. Watching it is a little like eating healthy cookies (what’s a nonviolent substitute for the “two birds with one stone” analogy?).