December 18, 2010

Idiot of the Week: Rachel Maddow

Man, there are so many good candidates this week! After abandoning yet another campaign promise and further alienating his base by agreeing to give tax cuts to millionaires, President Obama is a strong contender. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) also comes to mind as he prepares to make a last stand in defense of anti-gay bigotry. Those who continue to watch Fox "News" after news of the degree to which they are misinformed by what they see can certainly be considered as well. One could even make a compelling case for Oprah Winfrey. And of course, there is the usual wide array of religious folk, ranging from Christian criminals to Muslim defenders of criminals. But I suppose the real tragedy is that this week isn't any different from any other week.

rachel maddowI'm going to go off the deep end and pick someone entirely unexpected this week: Rachel Maddow, host of The Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC. Does she really deserve it? No, probably not. But it should let me make a point I've been wanting to make since I caught one of her recent shows. Also, since I consider myself a semi-regular viewer and fan, I thought that selecting her would make it clear that I am going to call out anyone guilty of idiocy.

My beef with Maddow comes from an episode of her show that aired this week during which she was discussing soon-to-be Speaker of the House, John "the Orangeman" Boehner (R-OH). Maddow repeatedly insisted that it was okay for Boehner to cry in public as much as he does, going so far as to suggest that we should respect his emotionality for reasons she never made clear.

What brings me to idiocy, though, is the manner in which she kept making this point almost as if she knew she was going to be criticized for it. Why did she seem so preemptively defensive about what she was saying? Perhaps she knew that she has criticized Boehner's histrionics as much as anyone. She was the one who made fun of his absurd "hell no, you can't" tantrum by trying to incorporate it into an audio transition between segments on her show. She's been right to criticize him. The man either has virtually no ability to reign in his emotions (making him unsuitable for such a high office) or he is a skilled manipulator of gullible others (meaning that the sincerity of his emotion should be questioned). How is either scenario praiseworthy?

To Maddow's credit, her point was that we have to be able to look past Boehner's emotional theatrics and focus on what he is saying. She's right to point this out, but defending his over-the-top emotionality seemed like an odd way to do it. And given her history of mocking Boehner for precisely what she is now praising, we end up with idiocy.

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