Commasense: Bye Olbermann, hello Maddow

As a commie, pinko, knee-jerk liberal atheist, I’ve been watching Keith Olbermann more or less religiously (har!) for two or three years.

Back then, it was refreshing to see someone in the mainstream media who didn’t just parrot the talking points of one party or the other, or both. Who was willing to call out the Bush administration on its misdeeds, and do so in a straightforward and entertaining fashion.

But I’ve been frustrated as, over the past year or so, he’s become increasingly shrill and partisan, less concerned with basic fairness and balance. He never has anyone on who differs with his point of view. He opens **all **his conversations with guests with leading questions with which the guest is expected to agree (and they always do). Hell, Keith, even Bill-O has guests who disagree with him. (Not that I can bring myself to watch that blowhard and liar more than once a year or so.)

But now that Rachel Maddow, one of Keith’s regular commentators, has her own show, I think I’ll be switching to her more often. Tonight she did something that really impressed me.

Her guest was David Frum, former speech writer for G.W.B., who decried (rather hypocritcally, IMHO) the decline of “tone” in politics, and within seconds named Maddow’s show as a prime example of that, with its “heavy sarcasm and sneering, and its disregard for a lot of the substantive issues that really are important.”

Having been blindsided when she expected to be talking about the McCain campaign (which Frum had been critical of), Rachel kept her cool and without being too defensive, engaged Frum in a discussion about whether her intentionally satirical tone was equivalent to McCain supporters calling for Obama to be killed, etc.

Frum continued with a very careful “more in sorrow than in anger” demeanor, saying that if she were really serious, she’d ask more McCain reps or conservatives on the show instead of just making fun of them. She replied that in the four weeks or so she’s been on the air, the McCain camp has provided one person for about three minutes.

I won’t recount the rest of the interview, but you can watch the replay of tonight’s show at 11 ET on MSNBC and several more times in the next 24 hours.

Anyway, it was a surprising attack on the host of a show, and I suspect it was Frum’s plan all along to try and take her down a notch. But she handled it very coolly, professionally, and politely, defending her choices without being defensive or offensive. I was extremely impressed.

And I seriously doubt that Keith could have handled it half as well. Perhaps he knows that, and that’s why he never risks having conservatives on his show.

So I think I may reset my DVR to record Rachel instead of Keith, and get my political commentary from her instead of him henceforth.

Plus she’s every liberal’s fantasy girlfriend.

Every liberal girl’s fantasy girlfriend. :wink:

I don’t normally watch her show, but I happened to have it on. And thanks to my DVR, I was able to rewind after missing the initial part of her exchange with Frum. I still watch Olbermann but I agree that he’s getting shrill. I would prefer that he were more balanced in his commentary, sort of like how the Daily Show does it. The Oddball segment can be really funny at times.

It’s not an either/or. I watch both and appreciate each for different reasons. I find Keith funny more frequently…but Rachel had one that literally made me laugh out loud - and made me suspect that she reads the Dope. She was talking about how Paul Wolfowitz was now the head of a nuclear safty group, and how he immediately started banging the drum for developing new nukes to compete with China. Her response was:

The default would have been chocolate. The bacon thing looks like a shout-out to the Dope.

She’s not my fantasy girl-friend. She’s America’s Lesbian Best Buddy.

Why are all the good ones married or lesbian?

I’ve been randomly injecting American women with a potion that turns them into lesbians for about 2 years now, and will keep doing so until the proportion of American lesbians reaches 38%.

No particular reason. I was just bored.

That explains a great deal. Thanks for the info.

I regret nothing. Not even the Degeneresation of Lohan.

Dude, it’s bacon.

I like lesbians as much as the next guy, but dude I’m trying to get laid. Maybe you can back off for a while.

That’s as may be. I still wanna start licking her neck and work down.

She did not take his opinion personally one bit. Instead she engaged him in a calm and rational discussion without an ounce of condescension.

Impressive. Up until this moment, I actually didn’t believe this was possible on a cable news show

That’s not even mentioning her regular Pat Buchanan guest segments, called “It’s Pat!”, in which she treats him like her “favorite fake uncle” (if I have the quote right) - with a lot of affection but not without calling him on it when she thinks he’s spouting BS. Maddow is made of awesome.

I really like Rachel Maddow – except for one thing. She’s supported bad grammar. Specifically, in those instances in which “you and me” is correct but people mistakenly say “you and I”, she’s said she’ll continue to do the latter because “you and me” “sounds wrong”, even though she knows it’s correct. That’s supporting ignorance, and it’s hard for me to get past.

Otherwise, she’s great. I would go lesbian for her if I were a chick.

“[This construction] with I as final coordinate is, however, so common in speech and used by so broad a range of speakers that it has to be recognized as a variety of Standard English…” - The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language, p 463.

Personally, I think “me” is the better choice, but she has not “supported bad grammar”. Her usage is questionable, certainly, but it is nevertheless grammatical, at least in certain contexts.

Right, she stood up for what she’s trying to do on her show while calling out Frum for trying to establish a false equivalency between satire and hate speech. These Rhodes scholars really know how to handle themselves!

And it seems to me that after eight years, Frum is coming a little late to the whole “Why can’t we just be civilized?” position. Yes, David, now that your side is losing, we’ll all be nice about it. Hypocrite!

I don’t recall when I learned that Rachel’s a lesbian, but if you google for pictures of her, you can find her looking very tomboyish (e.g. here and here.) It’s interesting to see how feminine she’s allowed MSNBC make her to be “presentable” in prime time.

BTW, she had a good appearance on Jay Leno’s show last week. It was the first time in years I’ve watched the show. But when’s she going on Dave?

I don’t know who Rachel Maddow is (well, I saw a picture of her in a blog the other day), but David Frum is an idiot. He recently wrote a cover article for Foreign Policy about George Bush entitled “Lonesome Cowboy: Why You’ll Miss Him When He’s Gone”.

Actually, no, we won’t. Moron.

Give back the Orb of MakingYellowTypeGStarsGoSupernova and I’ll Degeneresize all of them, even Lohan. Otherwise every women in Portland starts wearing Birkinstocks.

Portland, Oregon?

Dude, that boat has sailed.