political junkies

At MSNBC in the intensive 2008 presidential campaign Maddow quickly doubled the 9 p.m. Eastern audience to 1.9 million. Among viewers aged 25 to 54, she outdrew the CNN icon Larry King for 27 out of 44 nights in her first two months.

Her work ethic from college has carried into her career. Her days run 16 hours. She admits to getting only a couple hours of “drunk sleep” some nights.

Maddow’s drive is contagious. Her crew at MSNBC, political junkies in their 20s and 30s, uses the same term “drunk sleep” and concedes to crankiness as they show up at mid-afternoon to brainstorm themes with Maddow for the night’s show. The sessions harken to those all-night, free-form college dorm jams on imponderables.

Maddow, lanky and 6 foot, flops on the floor; however, she’s comfortable at the moment. Bubbling through the give-and-take is a rich mixture of optimism for the future and skepticism about politicians—and bedrock patriotism. The session is heavy on the day’s events and questions that need to be asked and on guests to line up to address the issues. Maddow twirls and lobs a foam basketball. Shifting her body on the floor, she scribbles ideas in a notebook.

The loosely structured planning is all rehearsal for Maddow—a kind of free-form cerebral internalizing. On air there is focus, although an informal feel that has attracted the young audience that the major television networks covet. There’s a practiced sneering, her sarcasm punctuated with a trademark “Duh.” There is no doubt of Maddow being bright, authentic, and original.

To be sure, Maddow has detractors. Her innuendos and nudge-nudge, wink-wink comments have been called theatrical and biased. Others see Maddow as finding a flavorful balance that is substantive and distinctly refreshing. For sure, Maddow resonates with a mass audience that finds the old boys’ club that has dominated cable television suddenly stuffy.

Writing Prompt What Do You Think? – Clever, Smart, Dorky?

Do you see room on television for the news and perspective hybrid that Rachel Maddow epitomizes? Or would you prefer your news straight and perhaps even bland?

The response entered here will appear in the performance dashboard and can be viewed by your instructor.

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