Rachel Maddow: Forging MSNBC's Identity in Olbermann's Wake

If you were certain MSNBC's future is now in Maddow's hands, look no further: Howard Kurtz has a piece out today about the prime time star's rise in the wake of Olbermann's departure, her resolute nature in an entrenched network boy's club, and her general likability in a political landscape that doesn't produce that many likable commentators. The piece is flattering but fair, and it provides a neat peek into the inner workings of the show's production, with Maddow scribbling ideas on a white board with her 17 staffers and eliminating potential topics by instinct and savvy. The Daily Beast:

What's unusual here—beyond a host who is, in no particular order, a Rhodes scholar, a former prison activist, a full-throated liberal, a lesbian, and a pickup-truck driver—is the way she interrogates the staff on the tiniest details, down to the amendments in a South Dakota bill that she has already reviewed. And Maddow will need that brainpower as she is thrust into the biggest challenge of her brief broadcasting career. With the abrupt departure of Keith Olbermann, the combative anchor who helped bring her to MSNBC before flaming out, the 37-year-old Maddow has become the new face of a network at an uncertain crossroads.

It's worth reading as a nice update to the weirdly insightful home profile on Maddow in the New York Times Magazine -- and also as a signpost as to where progressive media may go as Olbermann moves to Current -- and FOK News -- and Cenk Uygur steps up to MSNBC. It'll be interesting to see where this goes, but as mainstream news hosts go, there are few as formidable as Maddow.

AlterNet / By Julianne Escobedo Shepherd

Posted at February 28, 2011, 5:47am

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