Kelsey told me to try watching Rachel Maddow even though I don’t generally watch TV news shows or political pundits.
So, in honor of the political season, I tried watching the Rachel Maddow Show. I loved it. It has the perfect blend of sharp intellect, wryness, and respect for facts. I especially liked it when this liberal-leaning show unceremoniously included right wing fixture Pat Buchanan and our own Republican Governor Tim Pawlenty. Maddow treats everyone with respect, but she doesn’t put up with nonsense and she knows how to dig for an answer.
I also tried watching some allegedly comparable shows.
The Tivo kept picking up the last few seconds of Countdown with Keith Olbermann when recording Maddow. I was both repelled and intrigued by his chuckling about Bill O’Reilly. Apparently the Nielsen ratings showed that Olbermann’s show was pulling a larger audience than O’Reilly, and O’Reilly was demanding an investigation. I’ve never watched O’Reilly since it sounded as if bias would trump other concerns (like facts, maybe).
So, I watched Olbermann and I don’t see what the fuss is. He’s OK I guess, but not something I’d watch again. He seems loud and insistent, but that’s about it.
I didn’t get a sizzle with Campbell Brown, either. I heard some good things about her and saw someone interview her (one of those weird incest rituals that “news and commentary” shows like to indulge in – to interview each others’ hosts) so I checked out the show. No, she doesn’t slur her words or make the sort of mistakes one might see in an Alaskan VP candidate, but I don’t see the depth and intelligence I see in Maddow.
I’m posting this today, Election Day, because it’s clear that the election season has allowed Maddow to shine. Her shows are 100% election news, and even the “pop culture” segment devolves into election-related “culture.”
I’m wondering how Maddow will do with non-election news. Can she be as interesting and entertaining when covering daily events? I guess we’ll see.