Rachel Maddow is a television and radio host, who has probably been best known for her contributions as a panelist on various CNN and MSNBC shows, and for her radio program The Rachel Maddow Show airing on Air America. She is also now well known for The Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC, which launched in fall of 2008. Maddow is clearly an intelligent and well-spoken host with a perceptible liberal lean to her commentary, and her television was developed after her success substituting for Keith Olbermann on his MSNBC nightly news show.
Maddow was born in California in 1973, and distinguished herself in college at Stanford University. Upon completing a degree in public policy in 1994, she earned a Rhodes Scholarship and attended Oxford University, where she received her doctorate of philosophy in political science. Though she is best known for her contributions to journalism, she has also worked hard as an activist for those with HIV/AIDs. Her work at Air America began in 2004, when the radio network first when on air. Prior to her work on Air America, Maddow worked for two stations in Massachusetts, WRNX and WRSI.
Rachel Maddow is considered a pioneer in broadcasting since she is one of the first openly gay hosts of a prime time news show on a major news network. MSNBC has also been praised for its forward thinking approach, though there has also been a considerable amount of backlash regarding Maddow’s sexual orientation, mainly from quite conservative shock journalists. These prejudicial approaches do not seem to have affected her ratings, which set records when the show first premiered.
Both Maddow’s television and radio shows are unapologetically liberal. She often sides even left of candidates she supports, openly criticizing Democrats who appear to move too much to centrist positions. Her criticisms are done with a deft touch however, and she is known for giving people of more conservative politics a voice on both shows, so that she does present the other side of many issues.
Perhaps the most striking of her conservative guests is Pat Buchanan, the former advisor to Presidents Reagan, Ford and Nixon, who made his own bid for the US presidency in 2000. Buchanan is now a political commentator on MSNBC. Though Rachel Maddow and Pat Buchanan represent two very opposite sides of the political spectrum, their on-air disputes are marked by some personal affection, and Maddow refers to Buchanan as Uncle Pat.