Mad About Maddow - Times Pumps Up Another Left-Wing Media Woman

Who needs an agent when you have the NYT? Another left-wing Air America alum gets the star treatment, courtesy of reporter Jacques Steinberg.

Media reporter Jacques Steinberg boosted liberal media personality Rachel Maddow career prospects in Thursday's Arts section story, "Now in Living Rooms, The Host Apparent - MSNBC Has Eyes on Rachel Maddow," with a half-page profile including three large photos and a text box that read:

"She should have a show," the MSNBC president said.

(Who needs an agent when you've got the NYT?)

The Times also gave Maddow a flattering profile in 2005, when she hosted a program on the left-wing radio network "Air America" (during the same period the paper wasstudiously ignoring the network's financing scandal).

It's clear the Times adores left-wing radio personalities, granting former Air America personality Lizz Winstead not one but two fawning profiles, one back when she first earned her Air America slot, another in April of this year trumpeting her "live topical comedy show." It's safe to say that Laura Ingraham and Ann Coulter haven't been given similar flattering profiles.

Today the Times got excited about Maddow's possible move to MSNBC after a week-long stint sitting in for the Bush-loathing hostKeith Olbermann, to the point ofoffering her CV:

For clues about who might be next to get a show on MSNBC, viewers need not have looked further than "Countdown" earlier this month. For eight nights beginning just before the Fourth of July, Rachel Maddow, the host of a program on Air America, the liberal talk-radio network, served as a substitute for the vacationing Keith Olbermann.

"At some point, I don't know when, she should have a show," said Phil Griffin, hours before he was promoted on Wednesday to president of MSNBC. "She's on the short list. It's a very short list. She's at the top."


The steadily rising profile of Ms. Maddow - until earlier this year she was also seen regularly on CNN before she signed an exclusive, one-year agreement with MSNBC - is all the more remarkable considering she does not own a television. (She said she was worried it would be too distracting.) Less than a decade ago she was working odd jobs in western Massachusetts, including one at a Northampton coffee-bean factory where she cleaned out buckets, while finishing a doctoral dissertation on AIDS in prisons.

She appeared on her way to a career as an AIDS-policy advocate when a funny thing happened: on a lark she auditioned to be the news reader and sidekick on a wacky FM morning radio program in the area. She got the job, which had her occasionally donning an inflatable calculator costume at a local Ford dealer. She acknowledged that the work was not exactly what she had in mind when she graduated from Stanford University with a bachelor's degree in public policy and from Oxford University, which she attended on a Rhodes Scholarship and where she earned her doctorate.

Steinberg at least admitted MSNBC's obvious liberal tilt, while letting Maddow get in some Arts section political rants against John McCain:

For MSNBC, which has interpreted the success of Mr. Olbermann's rants against the Bush administration and other Republican targets as cause to turn its evening programming further to the left, Ms. Maddow has been a relatively easy fit. Sitting in for Mr. Olbermann on July 7, for example, she opened "Countdown" by mocking Senator John McCain, the presumptive presidential nominee, for suggesting that the economy was "slowing."

"Slowing, senator?" she said. "Try grinding to a halt. But don't worry, Senator McCain says he can balance the budget by saving all sorts of money when he wins the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan."That same night she took the news media at large to task for suggesting that Senator Barack Obama, the presumptive Democratic nominee, had recently softened plans to withdraw American troops from Iraq.

After that rant, Steinberg let Maddow implausibly claim that she's "far from a typecastable" liberal.