The Rachel Maddow Podcast - Questions Must Be Asked

Rachel Maddow Podcast

Asking All The Questions

Rachel Maddow has a signature styled ability to question and pursue a path of inquiry in a manner that both entertains and ultimately seeks to get to the truth. The onset of every show that Rachel stewards can be almost dizzying in the pace and plurality of figures and facts she weaves together almost like a prosecutor would in setting the story of a case.

She pulls at a multitude of strings from seemingly disparate parts of stories and ends up tying each and every knot when all is said and done.

Rachel Maddow pushes when others might give up or become too jaded and cynical due to the times and climate we live in. It is these very times, though, that we need our media and journalist to be at their most inquisitive and dogged in the face of smoke screens and subterfuge.

My desire for a steadfast and determined press is not a politically driven nor left-leaning inclination either. It is a fundamental core of our country and our government and institutions must be held accountable at all times on all sides. Maddow has the spirit and the academic chops to contribute mightily to the cause.

There are times when even myself, an admitted left-leaning individual, feels Maddow can be slanted too hard left or seems to be grasping at the loosest of straws in an attempt to piece together storylines but we need the questions to persist.

It would be all too easy for the press to fold up in a fetal position, fatigued from the daily stonewalling and countless lies that flow outward from the White House but the questions must be asked and Maddow shows no signs of slowing her pace in the least.

Rachel Maddow History

Rachel Maddow has paid her academic dues and earned her right to wax poetically and inquisitively about all things politics. She attended multiple prestigious colleges by going to the University Of Stanford and then earned an impressive doctorate in politics from the University Of Oxford.

Maddow first got into broadcasting through a radio gig back in 1999. She held a few different positions within the radio format and at one point even served as a co-host alongside the iconic hip hop emcee Chuck D from the venerable Public Enemy.

In 2005, Maddow got her start on television debuting first as a panelist on MSNBC. In 2008 Maddow earned her way into substituting as the host of Countdown, which was Keith Olberman’s show on MSNBC, with Olberman becoming a champion and supporter of Maddow at the cable news outlet.

Olberman’s views and opinions on Maddow may have slightly shifted since then, taking some odd shots at her and other former colleagues from MSNBC, but that is a whole other discussion and article.

Recent views from Olberman aside, his support and pushing of the network helped land Maddow her very own show on MSNBC which launched in August 2008.

TV Shows Repurposed For Podcasts

People are on the go anymore in this day and age. We are constantly on the move. Does appointment television even exist anymore where folks are compelled to tune into a show at a set time each week or weekday?

I know I personally do not have any shows that I consume on a set schedule directly as they air through the original broadcast. The DVR and on-demand cable access have allowed us all to take in shows on our own schedule, at our own convenience, exactly when we prefer.

The new media of podcasting has only further served to allow television shows to be more conveniently consumed by fans who are especially on the go and unable to sit in front of a television for a scheduled period of time.

Traditional television shows, especially news driven shows like The Rachel Maddow Show, can be reformatted and repackaged to become an easily and instantly accessible audio stream podcast available on all the major podcasting outlets.

A show like The Rachel Maddow Show is the perfect fit from television to be converted into a podcast. The show is story and interview-driven, with Maddow commencing each episode with her exhaustive monologue that is rapidly paced and chocked full of background and connected details that may go unnoticed or simply feel too daunting to even try and tackle by other outlets.

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No visuals are truly needed when taking in The Rachel Maddow Show and getting to hang on Maddow’s every word through a set of earbuds as she sends the story cascading through your mind might even be a better way to grasp and process some of the complexities that accompany her coverage of events.

Commuting to work, taking walks outside, or bouts at the gym are now all enhanced with the ability to get many of our favorite television news broadcasts through the convenience of a podcast stream.

Bag Man Podcast

MSNBC recently produced an original podcast series with Rachel Maddow as the presenting host. The series was titled Bag Man and it was an investigative feature into Richard Nixon’s Vice President during the era of the Watergate scandal, and that Vice President’s name was Spiro Agnew.

This story of Agnew is befitting for Maddow to tackle. Spiro Agnew’s stark corruption and criminal activities have mostly been either forgotten or somehow rewritten as tax complications as time and history has worn on in the United States.

Maddow, never one to allow a stone to remain unturned or a lingering question to be unanswered, takes a comprehensive and compelling look at Agnew and the cash for contracts scheme he was executing, separate of the Watergate scandal, even while serving as Vice President of the United States.

The other element of this podcast series that is so jarring is the striking similarities between the political style of Agnew and our current president Donald Trump. The polarizing and divisive nature of Agnew’s rise to prominence that eventually leads him to be picked by Nixon is something we should all have an awareness of in consideration of today’s political climate.

Bag Man is a top-notch, investigative podcast series that is a must listen for any casual fans of true crime and or history. I had no knowledge or understanding of who Agnew was, beyond casual name recognition, prior to listening to Bag Man. I especially was not aware of the crimes he carried out. Bag Man provides an important history lesson for us all delivered through an entertaining platform.

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Rachel Maddow’s Politics?

While it may seem the obvious designation to label Maddow an ultra-liberal progressive, being an openly lesbian talk show host on MSNBC, her comments in the media and public space have not been as obvious and direct as one might think. Can you truly pin down her specific loyalties to politicians or positions on debates beyond being a progressive?

Maddow was not very clear in her support of President Obama and if anything may have hinted at a desire to distance herself from his administration. Regardless, Maddow can play coy at times when it comes down to defining her public allegiances in politics.

I personally have no concern when a commentator’s political leanings are known and defined. We are all humans with perspectives and opinions and to think our media members and broadcasters should and can abstain from political pulls towards one way or the other is naive.

While I agree there are some sources or outlets of reporting we should desire a more stringent code of unbiased journalism with fewer editorial slants, I do not believe that cable talk show hosts like Maddow, Bill Maher, or Sean Hannity fall under that category of news coverage. There are just certain shows and hosts where a leaning one way or the other is understood by most.

What I require out of political pundits or talk show hosts is a demonstrated ability to think, be open to other perspectives, and to disavow the regurgitation of national party talking points. The latter being a critical requirement for any assemblage of integrity in political media.

Whether all three hosts I listed above merit out under the personal criteria I established for a respectable talk show host, I shall leave up to you, but I think you would be hard pressed to designate Maddow a mouthpiece for the national democratic talking points of the day.

Our Free Press Being Tested

These are trying times for journalist. While politicians and journalist have often shared contentious moments and interactions throughout the history of our country there always seemed to be undeniable respect and an understood need for a free press as a linchpin of our democracy.

I do not view the desire for our press to be protected and upheld with the entire might of society as a political plea stemming from my admitted left-leaning ways. A free press should be valued and championed by every citizen of our country, regardless of their political affiliation.

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I can understand individuals souring on the press at times or questioning a bias or tendency within certain stories or of an entire outlet but we can not allow that to tarnish the rights of journalists or devalue the importance of the greater institution of the free press.

Rachel Maddow is probably one of the more polarizing figures within the landscape of political news media. Being a female who lives her life openly as a lesbian probably puts her at odds right off the bat with a certain segment of our population.

Add onto that, a persistent capability of asking countless questions and pulling at various strands of stories in the name of ultimately driving to the truth, and a whole other segment of our population is likely enraged by her journalistic approach.

Regardless of your perspective and opinion on Maddow, she is fearless and unwavering in her mission of covering the news on a daily basis through an unyielding style of questioning everything and everyone.

The world of podcasts, either through Maddow’s repurposed daily show or from original content like Bag Man, is a more informed and entertained world because of her participation.