The acclaimed political commentator Rachel Maddow has built a loyal following for her democratic views and ability to break down complex news stories with ease. This time around, the MSNBC host has some words of wisdom about the distraction of Donald Trump.
It’s a tough job to be a political commentator at the best of times. But when you’re living in one of the most polarising periods in American history, and working in a male-dominated industry, the odds are ever more stacked against you. But in spite of that, Rachel Maddow is winning right now.
Over the past 11 years, Maddow, who hosts MSNBC’s nightly political roundup The Rachel Maddow Show, has shaken up the landscape of US cable news in a remarkable way. As any regular viewer of her late-night programme will know, it’s not hard to see why she earned the title of MSNBC’s top-rated liberal pundit last year. With a friendly, engaging style, liberal views, and dexterous ability to unravel even the most complex news stories, her audience are able to gauge a thorough insight into what’s going on in the world.
Maddow isn’t just a dab hand at breaking down new stories into bite-sized chunks, though, even though that’s a feat in itself on television. The acclaimed political commentator frequently calls attention to underreported issues, whether she’s speaking out about the vital need for social security, anti-abortion activists threatening the reproductive rights of women across America, or the growing problem of domestic terrorism in the US.
The liberal pundit isn’t afraid to tackle Donald Trump’s politics either. Last December, Maddow made headlines when she devoted a 27-minute segment of her show to unravelling the confusing story of the POTUS’ ties to Russia. It was a huge story to take on, but Maddow took the time to give a nuanced analysis of what exactly was going on, and more importantly, why people should care. “Things are at a boil,” Maddow told the audience. “Things are going fast now. Everybody needs to pay attention.”
With the 2020 presidential campaign underway, Maddow’s unique storytelling ability is reminding people to pay attention to the exceptionally important stories that it would be far easier to scroll past on our news feed. And on Wednesday’s show this week, she imparted further words of wisdom.
Earlier in the week, Trump sparked controversy during a press session with the Romanian president, when he implied that Jewish Americans had dual loyalty to the United States and Israel. “Any Jewish people that vote for a Democrat - I think it shows either a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty,” Trump said on Tuesday.
But during a press gathering at the White House on Wednesday, Trump dismissed the criticism of his dual loyalty comments, and told a reporter that his comments inferring that Jewish Americans who vote for Democrats are “disloyal” actually referred to Israel and fellow Jews, and were “only anti-Semitic in your head.”
“If you want to vote Democrat you are being very disloyal to Jewish people and Israel,” he said before calling Jewish Americans who voted for Democrats in the 2018 midterm elections “stupid.”
Maddow was not about to take the contradictions lightly, and reiterated her call for the public to pay attention to Trump’s behaviour, advising viewers to “watch what they (the Trump administration) do, not what they say”.
“At this show, we have tried to follow this as best we can, as a general rule from the very first indications we had, that they were always lying to us, every time they talked,” Maddow explained.
“Every time they put someone on TV, including on this show. Every time they were asked for comment, it was always, always, always untrue,” she continued.
In an increasingly hostile political climate which has recently brought news of the persistent erosion of reproductive rights, the suffering and separation of migrant women and children at the Southern border, and racist attacks on the four congresswomen of colour, otherwise known as The Squad, Trump’s incendiary behaviour can be hard to stomach. But, as Maddow points out, it’s vital that we resist becoming desensitised against social injustice, and hold those in power accountable for their actions. But beyond that, we must hold a red flag to the inconsistencies in Trump’s rhetoric, and pay attention to the real stories behind the smokescreen.