April 25, 2011


There is one question that is asked each week night in my house, usually by me;
"When are we going to watch Rachel Maddow?"

You know, the smartest/wittiest/cutest openly gay political commentator and host on MSNBC?
You know, the woman that takes her gin & tonic with four limes just like myself?
(so excited when I found THAT out!)


This started just over a few weeks ago. My counterpart stated something about how he was a fan of Rachel Maddow, but I had never seen the show air in our house. I believe the first time I had my eyes glued on Ms. Maddow was during the coverage of the earthquake that had taken place in Japan in March. This was probably the most exhilarating coverage that I saw of the quake and perhaps the least sad while being the most informative. I was hooked from the start when she showed us pictures of the most adorable little uranium pellets and shiny fuel rods. Finally! An inside look at what every news reporter had been talking about, but not showing to us. Before this aired, I kept stating to Eric how I wanted to go in one of these plants ASAP to look around, I'm a visual learner, gotta give me the visuals! I was quite fond of how I actually took notes on nuclear energy while watching her show. I loved it. I loved her (seriously messing with my straight vibes, Maddow). She reminded me of the new 2011 Tessa or I remind myself of her is probably best put. It's like how I've been putting it to everyone, I've acquired this thirst that I cannot seem to quench when it comes to learning. I feel so many people have become complacent in being ignorant and that does not necessarily pertain to a specific age bracket. I feel the only way to truly keep yourself alive is to keep filling yourself with new insight and knowledge. I feel that we are truly vessels, we need to be continuously filled because we're constantly (if you're doing it right) releasing information, and as more gets dispersed, more needs to be absorbed. I think the two best things you can share are music and opinions. Without them, I'd be destitute. I feel she has same spark to her. Actually, I KNOW she's got that same spark to her. She is a whip. There is no other way to put it. You can watch the video of her presenting the process of a nuclear reactor and you can see the visuals! Put on your thinking cap, yo!

I have no idea what it is about her. It's driving me crazy in the best way ever. As my friend Brooke said it (so glad I know another avid Maddow fan) "I don't know if she's brainwashing me or if she's the smartest person ever because I seriously agree with EVERYTHING she says." Oh hey, Liberal Brooke! That's exactly how I feel when I watch her show. I love that I go over the range of emotions during the course of the program. Lately, watching more of Michigan's industrial towns collapse & crumble while simultaneous school closings loom on the horizon in other parts of the state as they try to push them off to private charter companies just makes me angry. Is this the beginning of the end for public education in America? Watching this particular segment got me all fired up. I felt like marching-no, no RUNNING to Michigan to help those girls protest to KEEP THEIR SCHOOL OPEN. When did that become an arrest-able offense?

I was talking to a girl about this at work the other day and found myself shouting by the end of it. It's kind of how I end up reporting all my news to people. So less about what I see on the air, and more about the real focus of this entry (...?)

So it gets me thinking; (wait, do you smell a girl power story coming?)
I've been watching this show avidly for the past few weeks and it got me thinking; what makes THIS show different? She definitely holds an allure. Today kind of put it all in perspective as I saw this article pop up on the tweet deck. It goes on to say how she feels that people that are gay and closeted have a responsibility to come out, especially as an anchor and especially to strengthen the community. Seeing how much respectable intelligence she has oozing from her (sorry, bad imagery?) it makes me wonder, could someone else pull this off? Say a bleach blonde? I wonder if the appeal is in the fact that a). She's gay and b). she has a bit of masculine appearance (although, she's adorable)- but does this make facts ring more true? It just kind of gets me down on women again. HA HA HA HA. No but for real, it just makes me sad. Think of all the adorable little news anchors out there;

Seriously. You're not going to go into work talking about what any of these women were newsing about.
It's sad and it's true.

I feel that Maddow is where she is because she goes about it in a whole different way. I feel that blonde/attractive/straight laced anchors typically reduce themselves to entertainment reporting or views that are so in-your-face to the right or left that it just becomes hilarious. It's not because they are not smart, it's probably more the case of no one is letting them run with it. You lose the focus when the news is there, because the style of reporting is exceptionally "air-y". There are some amazing women journalists and opinion contributors, but will the bleach blonde ever be explaining fission and nuclear meltdowns on her own show?The only answer here is, hopefully. Perhaps, I'm being too harsh, or not really informed on the spectrum of reporting that blondes do, but I feel like based on what I see, it holds a bit of truth. I feel like does not occur commonly because because they don't allow themselves to be put in that position. It's kind of like when I was in a meteorology class and my teacher said "You should definitely look into broadcast, you know enough about weather and you've definitely got the look for it." Totally flattering, but I'll take the painstaking science over the bubbly anchor position.It wasn't that I was rejecting being on a news program and giving the weather report, it was irritating because that is what I was being reduced to. I don't want to just know about the basics and report on dew points and strong winds, I want to know the embedded purpose for it happening. I want to be out there chasing the storm, learning more about the new emerges that come from it all.

 For some news anchors, hardcore journalism doesn't come with the job, simply reporting it, does. This kind of goes back to my last post about dying your hair from blonde to brunette in order to be taken more seriously. I get it, I really do. I feel like if I did have a show I would have to wear my glasses in order to get a point across but at the end of the day I thought Legally Blonde would have done more for us. I remember hearing a tid-bit somewhere about how women news anchors struggle immensely with trying to fit in the "serious" bubble, while also maintaining attractiveness to rope in viewers. Women anchors will be taken more seriously if less attractive or if they have hair of a darker colour, however, if they are not as attractive as their competitors, they may lose viewers...? This sounds ass backwards, but it's the fire that female broadcasters have to juggle. I kind of feel like Rachel Maddow was given all allocations to skip over all of this. Like perhaps this time being gay worked out big on the advantages here, while I'm sure it may have hindered her in other ways.

If you haven't seen, Rachel Maddow has a male twin. I am so glad others are buzzing about this on the interwebs, because it's a good spectacle. Chris Hayes or Brother Maddow?

First glance you're like..."wait...what?!"

I remember last Friday she was out and he covered for her and I was in the kitchen bopping around and I hear the same Maddow inflections, but it's a male. Definitely a male. It was hilarious because I almost cannot watch it. I know- you would THINK them being the same would make it easy for me to watch, but I just find it too odd. I feel like when he covers for her show Rachel is at home watching going "Uh huh, thatttt's right, very good."

You can watch him cover for her

At the end of the day, she completely inspires me. It is SO great to have smart females have such strong voices in the media. I love trying to sway republican males in their 50's to get hooked on the show. It's always a hoot. I can only hope for more females to hold these hard hitting journalistic positions. I wonder if she needs any interns?? (I will write in artichoke juice) PICK ME! PICK ME!

Tune into MSNBC weeknights @ 8/9pm


Eric said...

As someone who works from home, I get the opportunity to have the news on in the background during the day.

I used to watch Fox News in the afternoon. I do watch Fox News a decent amount just to confirm my low opinion of Fox News, and because Fox News is silly, funny, and generally entertaining. Afternoons with Fox means a couple hours with Megyn Kelly. I truly believe that Megyn Kelly is a smart person, after all she was a lawyer for Jones Day and that takes hard work and brains.

However, I always get the impression that she puts away or hides her intelligence behind her fluttering eyelashes so that she can be the set up woman for Fox's pundits that bring the “news with conservative bias”. She simply delivers more eye candy than she does information to the viewer.
I could start a drinking game along the lines of a shot every time the camera pulls out to show off her legs. That's Fox news though, reminding me every chance they get of the Don Henley song Dirty Laundry: "We got the bubble-headed-bleach-blonde who comes on at five, she can tell you about the plane crash with a gleam in her eye". It’s just not “her” show, it’s just 2 hours of Fox News with your host, Barbie.

Bottom line: Megyn Kelly doesn't "own" her show. Rachel Maddow "owns" her show because of all the reasons you astutely mentioned.

Eric Valentour said...

The other reason I watch Fox News during the afternoon is because Tamron Hall on MSNBC has too many soft/entertainment related stories.

Of course we love Tamron because she's from our hometown. By "from" I mean she spent 10 years at our local Fox broadcast affiliate before getting the MSNBC job. And by "love" I mean I was programmed to feel that as a result of the hundreds if not thousands of "blah blah blah and more tonight with Tamron Hall on Fox Chicago" bumpers at commercial breaks.

I just dislike entertainment and soft news stories. Which means I was over the moon when Rachel Maddow's staff sent her the secret artichoke message on Friday: we don't want to cover the royal wedding!
A+ to TRMS staffers.

Jessica said...

Don't judge me, but I have never seen her show! You have me totally interested, and now I will for sure be sitting down and watching it.

Tessa G. said...


No worries, ha ha. I'm still new to Maddow myself, but I'm telling you, I really can't get enough.

I've already got my Halloween costume in mind. ha ha.