How Rachel Maddow Makes Queer History

Amy Borsuk
Ms. (blog)

What’s sexier than a brilliant, Internet-savvy, queer, liberal prime-time news host with an Oxford University degree? Yeah, I can’t think of anything either.

Since her show on MSNBC began in 2008 (and even before that, on Air America), Rachel Maddow has been turning heads and getting people thinking. She has been able to set herself apart because she finds the story and tells it intelligently, rather than telling you how to think about it. Of her interviewees, she told Variety:

I don’t believe in humiliating people. That is not what I am there to do. I am not there to make you look bad. I am there to talk with you. You can make yourself look bad.

Her main focus on the issues themselves, rather than on sensationalism, is a relief; she cuts through the hyperbole to get at what is really important and what can be done about it. Much of that attitude, I’d like to think, comes from her scholarly background. After graduating early from Stanford with a degree in public policy, she became involved in the AIDS/HIV awareness movement that grew out of the radicalism of the 1970s, predominantly focusing on improving prison conditions for prisoners with HIV. She then went on to earn a Rhodes Scholarship and earn a DPhil in politics at Oxford (her dissertation is titled “HIV/AIDS and Health Care Reform in British and American Prisons”).

To read the entire blog post at Ms., click here.