MarketWatch Writer Praises Maddow as ... Wait for It ... 'Voice of Reason'

I'm fairly confident but not certain this didn't initially come from The Onion -- a fawning profile of MSNBC's Rachel Maddow written by MarketWatch's Jon Friedman.

"This is the rare 21st-century TV news star," Friedman writes, "an un-self-absorbed celebrity."

"Maddow, 37, is the voice of reason at MSNBC," Friedman elaborates. "Notable for their verbal brawn, the hosts of cable news shows often behave on air as if they're competing for a gold medal in preening. Maddow gets her point across in a restrained but emphatic way. She doesn't feel a need to outshout her guests."

Here is my favorite paragraph in Friedman's soliloquy, which ought to have been subtitled, "Not incidentally, I agree with her politics" --

The tone is unique. Maddow says she presents 'essays, which have a thesis, facts, analysis and conclusions. That way, I think, I don't invite pounding on the table or yelling at people.'

Allow me to provide an example, from Maddow's trip to Afghanistan last week. During an interview with Brigadier General Ben Hodges on the costs of governance and how they'll be covered, Maddow said this (first part of embedded video) --

MADDOW: People needed to provide policing, basic services, the kind of government jobs that you're talking about, obviously you need good, committed Afghan nationalists essentially to do that. You need people who want to do it for their country, people who are brave and willing to see that transition through. Who's going to pay their salaries in the long run?

HODGES: Well, that's a great point. I think, you know, Afghanistan does not have oil but they certainly have incredible mineral wealth, potential ...

MADDOW (after interview, raising finger for emphasis): Afghan mineral wealth. It's not quite in the category of the mythical Caribbean walrus from BP's oil spill response plan, but maybe it's close.

Followed by Maddow contradicting herself less than two minutes later in her July 7 broadcast while being led through a Kabul marketplace by NBC foreign correspondent Richard Engel (second part of embedded video) --

ENGEL: They have turquoise, rubies, emeralds. Obviously, recently the country's been famous, in the news recently because they discovered all these minerals in the mountains, a trillion dollars or more ...

MADDOW: Well, they discovered, discovered ...

ENGEL: .... They're still in the rocks ...

MADDOW: We're talking about them again. We've sort of always known that Afghanistan had incredible mineral wealth.


MADDOW: I mean, everything from lapis to lithium.

Hmm, would these be examples of Maddow's "voices" of reason?

Or how about when she suggested to Hodges -- on the July 4th weekend, no less -- that America's presence in Afghanistan was "inherently corrupting"? As any devout left-winger will tell you, this describes America's presence anywhere -- including America.

Or when Maddow claimed this past Sunday on "Meet the Press" that shelling out more unemployment benefits is "the most stimulative thing you can do" for the economy. That being the case, imagine the phantasmagorically stimulative effect of laying off most federal workers and paying them unemployment benefits instead.

In fairness to Friedman, he does couch his description of Maddow -- she is "the voice of reason at MSNBC." That she is -- at least compared to the bellicose buffoonery of Ed Schultz, the pompous self-importance of Keith Olbermann, and the manic meanderings of Chris Matthews. 

Jack Coleman
Jack Coleman
Ex-liberal from People's Republic of Massachusetts