Rachel Maddow: The ceiling continues to crack, as a woman again overachieves to reach the same level of recognition

By now, you’ve probably heard that Rachel Maddow will have her own show on MSNBC beginning Sept. 8, in the 9 p.m. timeslot. Maddow has been around for a while, including hosting a program on Air America. But she recently has gained much public favor for taking over the reigns of “Countdown” when Keith Olbermann went on vacation. We all felt she was a wonderful relief form Olbermann’s rantings, and there’s a reason for that. You see, uh, to put it bluntly, she knows what’s she talking about. Because Maddow, unlike Olbermann, has a background in politics. In fact, she is a Rhodes Scholar!. And what? She has a PhD. From Oxford University.

But she was only offered a primetime show after successfully “proving herself” by subbing for Keith Olbermann, the former sportscaster. Yeah, let that sink in for a moment.

Another woman who is highly respected, and also the object of much affection at the House of Jello, is Amy Walter. She writes a column for the National Journal, appears regularly on CNN and on The Newshour with Jim Lehrer (PBS). She’s been a panelist and commentator on Face the Nation (CBS), Meet the Press (NBC), and Washington Journal (C-SPAN). And oh, that’s right, she’s also an adjunct professor at American University in Washington, DC. Maybe someday Amy Walter will get to lead her own show, as well.

These two women are the real deal. They are experts. Yet it has taken this long for them to get the same network recognition as the Laura Ingrahams and Nancy Graces of the world. (Don’t tell me Nancy Grace is an “expert.” She’s also a nutjob. That cancels out any expertise she may have in matters of the law.)

So if anyone is still wondering why I still resent that Hillary Clinton was pushed aside by the Democratic party even though she was clearly the more qualified candidate, even though she proved that again and again by being held to tougher standards that always shifted, maybe you can see by the examples of these two highly intelligent, professional, hardworking women. It just gets a little tiresome to work twice as hard to get to the same point as men.

Working twice as hard, and yes, enduring insults along the way. Yesterday Rush Limbaugh described it as a “shame” that Dan Abrahams was losing his 9 pm timeslot: “He’s losing his show to somebody with more testosterone than he has.”

It’s exciting. And very, very tiresome.


  1. Men like Limbaugh fear lesbians, in the same way they fear gay men. That’s the basis for his bigotry and hatred.

    And he also hates because a strong woman like Maddow could intellectually eat his lunch and make him watch while she did it.

    I am so pleased to hear about this hire. Maddow is smart, witty, and she doesn’t have to use snark and spite to make a point, and make it bite.

    I can’t wait for her first show.

    1. Limbaugh doesn’t hate Lesbians or Gays. He hates stupid Liberals and loves Conservatives: gay, straight, black, white or green.

    2. Maybe his fear of gay men relates to a bad experience as a child with male child sex predators. Not all child sex predators are male btw.

  2. I am so glad that Dr. Maddow has finally gotten a show. I will be glad to hear some unapologetic liberal views for a change.

  3. This is the second place I’ve heard about Rachel Maddow today. I alerted hubby who controls the TIVO to check look for her show. Thanks for the heads up.

    The issue of the ocntinuing misogyny is one that is ongoing in this house for sure. Hubby is a very liberal leaning guy who firmly believes that women should have every equality afforded them,yet he too is but a man, and cannot wrap his head around the basic unfairness so many women still see. Sigh.

  4. i waa very pleased to hear rachael will be hosting her own show. i have been a total admirer of her work for some time. rush can’t hold a candle to her! he is such a weenie!

  5. I was really happy to hear this as well. I caught her on Countdown the other night where Keith was talking to her about her upcoming show. I’m really looking forward to her show. I enjoyed her hosting of Countdown very much.

  6. I’m so glad she’s getting this show in time for the November elections, and I hope she will be a regular commentator for the conventions. As Quaker Dave says, she says witty comments without the snark — I don’t know how she does it, but I gotta admire it!

  7. I wouldn’t call this an unfair case of discrimination… Olbermann gives a knowledgeable commentary and has a background in television anchoring that is formidable, whether or not it be in politics. I enjoy his style and his harsh, hammer down delivery of truth on misrepresented issues. He’s good at what he does, so having Maddow sub for him was a great way to give her a go at the job, and she proved herself as being competent. She didn’t need to do anything severe or extreme to get the job… she just did it.

    That aside, I’m extravagantly joyful to see Maddow on MSNBC. Her cometary is witty, hard hitting, and she doesn’t have an ounce of shame in her position. Her confidence and drive make her all the better in her work, which benefits us all.

  8. To state that Hillary was pushed aside by the Dems… is sexism in reverse on your part… how so… simply because she was first lady… she had the same amount of tenure as Obama in the senate… and Obama was better educated… he had h two degrees from two ivy league schools and may himself have been a Rhodes scholar as was Bill Clinton and Obama is good looking and younger and if you don’t think that has something to do with public majority opinion then perhaps you don’t have the intellectual fortitude to speak behalf of women… not Hillary… sexism exists yes, but take it from a Black American… it can’t always be the first thing you point to… ones reasoning must first be impartial and rational…

  9. Anonymous, I was willing to give you the benefit of the doubt that you were about to make a rational argument of your views, and then I read:

    “[Obama] may himself have been a Rhodes scholar as was Bill Clinton and Obama is good looking and younger”

    and I have to say, I don’t follow the logic of the rest of your comment, either. I would ask that you re-read the post that you’re commenting on, which is about two highly educated and intelligent women who have had to work twice as hard as men in their field to achieve the same status.

    I never claimed to “speak behalf of women”, much less to have any “intellectual fortitude!”

  10. You state, “A woman again overachieves to get the same level of recognition.” How did Rachel Maddow “overachieve” compared to Keith Olbermann? Olbermann is 50 years old, he has worked hard for 3 decades, overcame a lot of opposition at ESPN and elsewhere, has a photographic memory for sports and many other things, and has charisma. I have nothing against Maddow, but factually speaking, she is very lucky to have a chance to have her own show, when she was just 35 years old I think in 2008. Who else, male or female, is given their own daily 1-hour show at CNN or MSNBC when in their mid-3os? No one. How is that overdue recognition? You also say, “We all felt she was a wonderful relief [from] Olbermann’s rantings, and there’s a reason for that. You see, uh, to put it bluntly, she knows what’s she talking about. Because Maddow, unlike Olbermann, has a background in politics. In fact, she is a Rhodes Scholar! And … she has a PhD. From Oxford University.” None of that matters. As in visual arts, or theater, or other fields, in TV having a degree doesn’t matter a bit for an on air personality. It is how you come across and whether people like you and want to see you again. As a broadcaster, Olbermann is simply better than Maddow, Maddow herself would admit that. In fact, I did hear her admit that one time on the air. And Olbermaann’s “rants” that you criticize were courageous, well written nuggets of truth against the Bush gang’s misrule, at a time when the Tom Brokaws, Tim Russerts, and Chris Matthews of the media were all prety much slavishly worshipping the Bush administration and supporting the Iraq War with their words every day. It did take a lot of courage for Olbermann to do that. He knew the moment he started that he he was burning his bridges to sports commentary world, because much of the sports world is Republican, the White commentators at least. I agree with most of what Maddow says, and I watch her show. But no objective person could claim her show is as entertaining and, at times, brilliant as Countdown with Keith Olbermann was.

  11. R. C.A., I do realize Keith Olbermann has a lot of fans, I’m just not one of them. And just to respond to your last sentence: (a) I never claimed to be objective, and (b)I watch news shows for news and analysis, not for entertainment, so there’s that I guess.

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