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Maddow About You (Rachel on AIDS, via POZ Magazine)

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pinto Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-08-09 09:15 PM
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Maddow About You (Rachel on AIDS, via POZ Magazine)
Maddow About You
by Bob Ickes

Rachel Maddow, the host of MSNBCs white-hot The Rachel Maddow Show, has been an avid AIDS activist for years. Now, she addresses the topic on prime-time TV. Is Maddow our new Edward R. Murrow?

Rachel Maddow first appeared on our pages when she was a freelance reporter struggling to pay the rent. For POZs July/August 2003 issue, she penned a piece on the advances in HIV prison care, a topic to which she has committed 15 years of her lifeby serving as a health care advocate for those living with the virus behind bars. While getting her PhD at Oxford University she wrote a brilliant thesis on the topic (HIV/AIDS and Health Care Reform in British and American Prisons). Today, she is the instantly recognizable host both of MSNBCs The Rachel Maddow Show, a relatively new, nightly news portal that filters politics and culture through her unapologetically personal sensibility, and a radio program of the same name on the Air America network.

Her history as an advocate for people living with HIV informs her current work; she is an American broadcaster well informed about AIDS activism and public policya striking counterpoint to CNNs Sanjay Gupta, who reports mostly on the realm of pure medicine and epidemiology. Unlike much of Americas mainstream press, Maddow and her show have not shied away from the topic of stateside HIV, indicting former President George W. Bushs domestic policy on AIDS and highlighting the recently reported statistic that at least 3 percent of Washington, DC, residents are living with the virus. On air, Maddow eulogized legendary treatment activist Martin Delaney, the great leader of Project Inform who died in January; she challenged president-elect Obama for considering a candidate for the position of director of National AIDS Policy who didnt support needle exchange (he was not appointed, and our current AIDS Czar favors needle exchange as a scientifically proven form of AIDS prevention); and she featured AIDS pioneer Cleve Jones the day after Milks Oscar splash. And yet, her programs AIDS-related segments, while estimable and often unreported elsewhere, typically differ in urgency, not in frequency, from those of the big-three networks. Despite her background as someone willing to fight for the rights of people living with HIV, Maddow is vigilant about distinguishing the job description of activist from that of broadcasterand she bristles at any suggestion that her work as an AIDS activist confers an obligation upon her work as a prime-time pundit.

Ive always thought broadcasting and activism are two totally different things, says Maddow, 36, in what has been described in innumerable media accounts as her everyday 13-year-old-boy daytime uniform: jeans, white T, open buttoned-down shirt and sneakers. And theyve always felt that way to me. I know thats grating to some peopleI get a lot of pressure . I get a lot of talking points handed to me. I get that not only from the HIV world but also from anything that Ive ever had any vague association with. So I get it on AIDS issues, I get it on gay issues, I get it on Massachusetts issues , California issues and on prisons and on lesbian health. And dad worked for the water company and moms Canadian! come in literally by the hour. And, of course, when someone overtly and publicly presents you with talking points, that guarantees that you will never use them. I am happy to take an idea from anyone. When Marty died, I got a heads-up from a very good friend in the movement who offered to hook me up with some information. But I opted to . I dont take talking points from the president, so Im not going to take them from anyone else. Thatd be the death of me.
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RandomThoughts Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-08-09 09:36 PM
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1. Even when I don't like some things Maddow says,
I still like her smile, and she really seems to have a cheerful heart it keeps most judgements at bay :), even in the times she gets irritating. But who doesn't irritate at one time or another. Although most of her stories are interesting and she seems to address issues not spoken of on other shows.

The article you linked was a great article, her work on AIDS issues, and especially speaking for the prison community is very admirable, another showing of character. I also liked what was said about her view on ethics.

Maddow wanted to be helpful after graduation, too. So she concentrated her studies around HIV. I did a public policy degree with a concentration in health policy. At Stanford, they dont do minors, but I did an honors program in ethics. And I wrote my undergraduate ethics thesis, my honors thesis, on dehumanization and the AIDS movement. On how people can have a strict moral code about how other people ought to be treated and still treat people very badlyby virtue of the fact that they dont see the people who theyre treating badlyAS PEOPLE! She chuckles bitterly. So therefore your sense of self-regard and your morals can be completely intact while youre behaving monstrously.

That thought, on many issues, I think is one of the most revealing thoughts on how almost all people act. Almost a form of self delusion most people have, and the cause of so many groups that treat other groups horribly. Her comment seems to show the concept of understanding the value of all people, the dignity of every life, and to me that is very admirable, and something I still aspire to be able to do more often.

Thanks for posting the article, it gives some interesting thoughts on Rachel Maddow past and POV.
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pinto Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-08-09 09:57 PM
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2. She's smart as a whip. I don't care much for talking head TV - from KO to Jay Leno, or whatever.
If you know what I mean. She's in the biz, big time, yet I'll hang with a Maddow show.
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RandomThoughts Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-08-09 10:08 PM
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3. Yea, some of the segments seem to be a bit manufactured.
Or so it seems, but that may be an incorrect look at correlation and causation. My best guess is some of the things she says are slipped in by people with different interests. But again that is a guess.

Either way their seems to be a spinning of a couple stories. But I have not spent the time to isolate any intent to it, so for the most part I just treat it as an interesting anomaly.
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