Friday, February 11, 2011

Rachel and Richard: MSNBC's Rock Stars

Hmm ... If memory serves, I do believe we said something mildly complimentary of Richard Engel back when the Egyptian Revolution began. It's great to see everyone else catching up, and Richard getting his just deserts for outstanding reporting of history being made.

What sets Richard apart is that he's steeped in Egyptian culture, he speaks the language fluently, hence can bring layers of understanding, subtlety and complexity to this once-in-a-lifetime story that no one else in Western media can match. It doesn't hurt that Richard is fearless and cool under pressure, earning all this high praise and possibly a marriage proposal or two.

And for in-depth analysis and commentary no one has done it better than Rachel Maddow. Her coverage of this story is of award-winning caliber. I really love that Rachel (and Chris too, surprisingly) have reached outside the usual suspects (not counting the excellent regulars) to Al Jazeera, Democracy Now, among others, for expert and knowledgeable voices that are seldom heard in the usual corporate media circles.

Richard & Rachel, Los R's Terribles: Crossed Paths in College, Reunited to Lift MSNBC From The Doldrums.
It sounds crazy to say this, but I trust Rachel. I trust her news judgment, her intelligence, her sensitivity, her enthusiasm for being a journalist. I love that about Rachel. And I can even dig her occasional lapses into syrupy-ness as when she told Matthews the American people "instinctively" side with the demonstrators because we harbor such qualities only the Tea Party can discern ... or something. Just as I was beginning to wince, with the violins playing in the background, Chris broke in to remind Rachel that the wingnuts are horrified by this, cowering in fear of the Islamic Brotherhood, and so on.

Whew ... back to reality for Rachel. And it might just be that our politics are more distorted than they have ever been, with the proverbial tail on the far right fringes wagging the dog, those of us with eyes wide open, and the rest who do not vote and allow this barbarity to unfold. Those Americans should not be held up for praise, Rachel. They're part of the problem. They ought to be cowering just like the wingnuts — not in fear, but in shame.

But yeah. Rachel, for what it's worth (I'm no Madeline Albright (thank God)): You're doing an awesome job.

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