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Righteousness Porn

WHAT?! Apparently, Rachel Maddow likes Tucker Carlson and is a lumberjack now?



According to a Vanity Fair profile piece and renowned photographer, Annie Lebovitz, Rachel Maddow has left political entertainment media journalism to pursue wood chopping and adventure camping….okay maybe that’s just what the picture looks like. But she did have nice things to say about Tucker Carlson.

In an extremely long, occasionally tedious but refreshingly personal profile, Vanity Fair author Joe Pompeo details Maddow’s extreme value to MSNBC, a network on which she anchored the only show with good ratings by any standard of the measure. Maddow was regularly the only rival to Fox News programming who could make it into the top 10 Nielson list. 

But one of the more interesting elements of Pompeo’s piece was the reminder of Maddow’s professional and collegial relationship with America’s favorite anchor and the Party’s public enemy number one, Tucker Carlson. Maddow recalled their time working together on an 11 pm show on MSNBC early in both their careers (Carlson’s first show). Of Carlson, she said he’d always been talented and now he’s found his “moment.” 

Of course, this leftist author couldn’t see the forest through the trees as his good buddy Maddow tried to let him in on the big secret of cable news: it’s only inflammatory because you [viewers] like it. Pompeo even quoted Maddow explaining to him her respect for Carlson as a competitor, comparing Carlson to the star pitcher of an opposing team. She tried to tell Pompeo that at the end of the day all the networks are trying to do the same thing, Fox News and Carlson are just winning. 

Pompeo wouldn’t hear of it adding his own commentary, very dramatically, that the stakes of democracy are more important than a baseball game (implying that Tucker’s use of free speech was dangerous to democracy). He totally ignored the point Maddow was making which was that MSNBC tries to upset and scare their viewers just as much as they perceive Carlson doing the same with his viewers only….they simply aren’t as good at it. 

It didn’t occur to Pompeo (and probably not Maddow, though, she seems to be more self aware in retirement) that perhaps Fox News does it better because there is at least some sensible truth to their tactics. Maybe it’s a tactic still, but at least their spin has something like truth in it.

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