Rachel Maddow at Rutgers

I went to see Rachel Maddow speak yesterday morning bright and early at Rutgers (my alum!). The event was a part of a series of events the Eagleton Institute of Politics is holding (I went to see Nicole Wallace speak several weeks ago as well and plan on going to see Valerie Jarrett next month also).

Nicole Wallace was the Former Communications Chief under President George W. Bush and also served as the Communications Director for John McCain’s presidential campaign. You can see what she said at RU in the following video:

Anyways, back to Maddow’s visit: Yesterday’s program was called “A Conversation with Rachel Maddow” and it was basically a Q and A forum that lasted about an hour and a half. Initially Ruth Mandel (the Director of the Eagleton Institute) asked a bunch of questions before turning it over to pre-approved questions from RU students and then finally opened up to a few questions from the rest of the crowd.

I liked what Maddow had to say for the most part and one of the lines that resonated with me was that she said she had an opinion and a point of view on things that she expressed, but not an agenda. She went on to explain that her past work involved a lot of activism — and at that time she did have an agenda — to get more attention to the causes she cares for so deeply.

If you’ve ever seen her show, you probably agree that her team researches like no other to prepare for the show. It was quite surprising (to me at least) when Maddow told the RU crowd today that they always choose what stories they are going to use for the day’s show on the day of at their meeting that starts around 2 PM and then everybody on the entire team from the producers down to the interns research and how disorganized everything is.

That and the fact that she is apparently a big “downer” of a person, “depressive” and a “big grump”? Certainly did not come off as one today. Sarcastic, maybe — but we all already know that.

One of my favorite questions asked today probably was when Ruth Mandel asked Maddow who she imagines she’s talking to when she’s looking directly into the camera and passionately making her points. Maddow’s response, however, was ‘no one in particular’… just others who agree with me.

Another point I just remembered was that Maddow did point out that when she accepted the contract with MSNBC one of her only requests was that she had the freedom to choose what she wanted to talk about on her program and that MSNBC could not tell what she could or could not talk about… but also noted that she fears on a daily basis that it could be her last show and that she could be fired any day.

Oh, and of course someone asked whether MSNBC and FOX News were actually two sides of the same coin, but she dodged the question saying something to the likes of she doesn’t watch much television or something, She also wouldn’t comment on the Olbermann’s situation and just said in due time Olbermann himself would tell his story — probably after he’s settled with his new network.

One of the biggest things I disagreed with Maddow on would be her take on Pakistan. To preface, someone (I believe Mandel?… anyhow when the video is uploaded, I’ll post it here) asked Maddow that she claims to talk about the stories that no one else is talking about and wanted to know what was the number one story that no one else was talking about? Maddow’s answer was Pakistan. This is a whole another VERY LONG blog post so I’ll just leave that there.

I’ve said before that the only show I regularly watched on MSNBC was Keith Olbermann’s, but my brother Ayaz absolutely loves Maddow’s show. I will have to ask Ayaz what he thought of what Maddow said though because he agrees with Maddow on pretty much everything.

I didn’t take my camera because but here are some pictures from my phone — but I’m warning you they came out terrible especially because of the lighting:

Fortunately, Rutgers (for the most part anyways *cough* Snookie *cough*) invites pretty interesting guests, and today was no different.

P.S. Don’t forget to leave me a comment below on your thoughts! As always, I’d love to hear from you.


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