Monday, September 29, 2008

The news is the news

Rachel Maddow changes the media (here are a few excerpts, but do read the whole thing!):
She is liberal without apology or embarrassment, bases her authority on a deep comprehension of policy rather than the culture warrior's claim to authenticity, and does it all with a light, even slightly mocking, touch. [...]

Maddow's immersion in facts rather than in opinions has helped shape her on-air persona. When Pat Buchanan, who joined Maddow on MSNBC's election-night panel throughout the presidential primary, claimed that the expansion of the health-care program S-CHIP would give money to already well-off families, Maddow quickly pointed out that 8 million children in the very income group he claimed could afford insurance don't have it. And in another segment, when conservative MSNBC host Joe Scarborough said John McCain had not backtracked on previous support for immigration reform, Maddow was ready with examples of how McCain had reversed himself on the issue during the primary campaign. [...]

Maddow's wonkery, however, is leavened by a light, sardonic touch that keeps her commentary from veering into the pedantic. Unlike so many televised liberals, who seem almost physically pained by the combative cable-news format, she obviously enjoys herself. A good example came during an election-night panel discussion of Obama's victory in the Nebraska and Idaho primaries, which Buchanan tried to delegitimize by saying that Obama could only appeal to liberals. Without missing a beat, Maddow responded, "In what kind of a world do Idaho and Nebraska represent the left lane?" She had the entire panel laughing outright. A chastened Buchanan could only manage a wan joke about Marxists.
She's been on less than a month, but already she has created a large audience for her show, which airs weeknights at 9pm, opposite Larry King's juggernaut.
An animated dissection of political events and offbeat news, punctuated by the host's sardonic humor, "The Rachel Maddow Show" has debuted with a strength that surprised even MSNBC executives. An average of 1.64 million viewers tuned in since the show launched on Sept. 8, more than double the number who watched the same hour in the first eight months of the year.

In her second week on the air, Maddow beat CNN's "Larry King Live," a cable news institution -- quite a feat for a self-described television novice and former AIDS activist who doesn't even own a TV.
If you haven't checked her out yet, here's a sample from a recent show:

No comments: