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Who is Rachel Maddow?

Tricia Christensen
Updated May 23, 2024
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Rachel Maddow is a television and radio host, who has probably been best known for her contributions as a panelist on various CNN and MSNBC shows, and for her radio program The Rachel Maddow Show airing on Air America. She is also now well known for < em>The Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC, which launched in fall of 2008. Maddow is clearly an intelligent and well-spoken host with a perceptible liberal lean to her commentary, and her television was developed after her success substituting for Keith Olbermann on his MSNBC nightly news show.

Maddow was born in California in 1973, and distinguished herself in college at Stanford University. Upon completing a degree in public policy in 1994, she earned a Rhodes Scholarship and attended Oxford University, where she received her doctorate of philosophy in political science. Though she is best known for her contributions to journalism, she has also worked hard as an activist for those with HIV/AIDs. Her work at Air America began in 2004, when the radio network first when on air. Prior to her work on Air America, Maddow worked for two stations in Massachusetts, WRNX and WRSI.

Rachel Maddow is considered a pioneer in broadcasting since she is one of the first openly gay hosts of a prime time news show on a major news network. MSNBC has also been praised for its forward thinking approach, though there has also been a considerable amount of backlash regarding Maddow’s sexual orientation, mainly from quite conservative shock journalists. These prejudicial approaches do not seem to have affected her ratings, which set records when the show first premiered.

Both Maddow’s television and radio shows are unapologetically liberal. She often sides even left of candidates she supports, openly criticizing Democrats who appear to move too much to centrist positions. Her criticisms are done with a deft touch however, and she is known for giving people of more conservative politics a voice on both shows, so that she does present the other side of many issues.

Perhaps the most striking of her conservative guests is Pat Buchanan, the former advisor to Presidents Reagan, Ford and Nixon, who made his own bid for the US presidency in 2000. Buchanan is now a political commentator on MSNBC. Though Rachel Maddow and Pat Buchanan represent two very opposite sides of the political spectrum, their on-air disputes are marked by some personal affection, and Maddow refers to Buchanan as Uncle Pat.

PublicPeople is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a PublicPeople contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.
Discussion Comments
By truman12 — On Dec 16, 2011

Many people associate Rachel Maddow just with her political reporting. But she has a lighter side that is revealed in several videos available online.

I saw one where she offers up the recipe for her favorite cocktail. She is dressed down in the video and her personal style is much different than her on air style. She makes the cocktail and then takes a big sip and you get the feeling that she would be a great person to have a drink with. Its always nice to see the human side of people that you only know from their on air reputation.

By ZsaZsa56 — On Dec 16, 2011

Rahel Maddow is one of my favorite TV journalists and she is a refreshing antidote to the screaming head pundits who seem to dominate cable news on both the left and the right.

I always find her show informative, balanced and logical. I never feel like she is advancing an agenda, she is just providing an honest analysis. She avoids hyperbolic rhetoric or cheap shots and ultimately brings a level of class and respect to the political conversation that is often lacking. I hope she remains on TV for years to come.

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a PublicPeople contributor, Tricia...
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