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19 March 2013 @ 06:41 pm
I think I broke up with Rachel Maddow  
I can be a political junkie. For a while, I was watching anything and everything I could that dealt with (lefty) politics. The Young Turks, Olbermann (before he committed career suicide), MSNBC's evenings and weekend morning programming, Meet the Press, the Daily Show and Colbert (although I've never found Colbert all that funny; his humor just doesn't speak to me. Maybe if his Satire wasn't so close to some actual political positions, I'd find it funnier).

I have since cut down to a reasonable amount. Which has translated to one talking head show a day and occasionally Stewart and/or Colbert. The talking head I had been watching was Rachel Maddow. She is relatively balanced for a lefty, tries to get people on her show who disagree with her, and covers a lot of political stories that are not highlighted elsewhere.

Except, I think the quality of her show has gone steadily downhill over the past year. It ahs decayed into exactly what I don't want in a talking head -- endless repetition of a small number of stories, to the total ignorance of other important items.

The last straw has been her continued references to Rubio's Republican Response to the State of the Union. it hasn't been to the substance of what he said, but an unfortunate aspect of its staging.
Specifically, somewhere in the middle of the speech, Mr. Rubio needed to take a swig of water. Given that it isn't exactly a short speech, that seems perfectly reasonable. The problem was that whoever was responsible for making sure he had access to water put it well out of reach, so Mr. Rubio had to lean over to grab it.
The day after the response, Ms. Maddow did a five minute sketch on the appropriateness or inappropriateness of taking a drink during a presentation, during which she took a swig of water roughly every 10 seconds. Which in and of itself was highly annoying and petty. Her show then continued to run the 5-second clip of Mr. Rubio grabbing a water bottle and taking a swig at the bottom of the screen for the next 5-10 minutes of the show.

There were plenty of items to lampoon from Mr. Rubio's speech -- referring to things the president said when the president did not; challenging the president's position on items that were identical to the positions Mr. Rubio was advocating, and Mr. Rubio generally not being very good at a spontaneous refutation. Lampooning a staging issue that was probably the result of a poor decision by an intern and had nothing to do with the politics at hand was going a little too far.

The real step beyond has been Ms. Maddow making references BACK to this staging issue, weeks after the event. Maddow has generally avoided the petty political bullshit that has become integrated with most political commentators. This is her falling prey to the unfortunately habit.

I have other issues with Rachel Maddow that has caused me to stop watching her; her interviewing technique, while relatively balanced, involves Ms. Maddow giving an introduction of her guest, a summary of interview topic, and a summary of the interviewee's position. She then asks the guest for any corrections or amendments to her presentation.

This would generally be fine, except the show frequently has 3 interviews a night. The introductions are often longer than the rest of the interview, and her presentation does not let the guest give any particular nuance to their positions or ideas.

There are also segments that contain near zero content. I generally agree with Ms. Maddow's positions on voter registration and access, abortion rights and access rights, union rights, and gun control. However, she frequently has segments, several nights in a row, on the same subject. The problem is by the 3rd, there is almost new content, and these topics can run for weeks. Yet the same time is given to each segment, night after night. There is preaching to a choir, but this is just wasting time. Further, there are plenty of other topics she could cover, while giving each of these subject a paragraph each night (at least until there is a significant update).

So, that's why I'm leaving Rachel Maddow. Not that anyone asked.