Sisterhood Blog

Rachel Maddow's Feat Times Three

By Sarah Seltzer

  • Print
  • Share Share
Getty Images
MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow

Last night Rachel Maddow interviewed Michael Moore at that stalwart Jewish cultural institution, the 92 street Y. Maddow had been under tremendous pressure from the feminist community to bring up the issue of Julian Assange’s rape charges — Moore’s overly flip dismissal of which I wrote about here last week.

Since then, the movement to get Moore to re-address the rape allegations has swelled on twitter under the #mooreandme hashtag and even spawned an intense intra-Jewish feminist smackdown between Naomi Wolf and Jaclyn Friedman on the Democracy Now! program.

So when Maddow and Moore took the stage last night, there was a maelstrom swirling around them, and they both sat under a spotlight of “don’t screw up” scrutiny. Maddow, to her credit, came out of the gate swinging — asking Moore to address the allegations, and getting him to make this statement.

“Every woman who claims to have been sexually assaulted has to be, must be taken seriously. The charges have to be investigated to the fullest extent possible,” he said, telling the audience that he started a rape crisis center in Flint, Mich.

“Mr. Assange has to answer the questions,” Moore added, before getting back to his WikiLeaks hobbyhorse. While he didn’t address the controversy he himself had spawned, he did manage to clarify his position on rape in a fairly satisfactory way. Watch here.

I have to say, this is the third time this year Maddow has handled a tricky situation with a survivor’s instinct, if not grace. When people like Bill Maher and Keith Olbermann (and yours truly) were slamming the “Rally for Sanity,” she civilly challenged Jon Stewart for an hour on his drawing equivalences between Fox and MSNBC. She got him to spell out his philosophical approach to his role in the news landscape in a way no one has before; she opened the door for us to judge him based on his own standards. And when Olbermann got suspended by their shared parent network, she managed to show solidarity with him without giving him a free pass or insulting the network brass too brazenly.

All three times, she’s come under tremendous pressure from us rabble-rousing progressive hordes on the Internet to be our voice on the television screen and our representative in the mainstream — and she’s done it. She’s done it while retaining her relationships with three big-shot progressive male heroes who are all inconsistent ideologically in ways that she is not. Through her relationships with them, she’s maybe even educated them.

For this, I can even give her a pass for referring last night to the Y as a YMCA, not a YMHA (although I hope someone educated her today).


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: WikiLeaks, Rachel Maddow, Michael Moore, Keith Olbermann, Jon Stewart, Julian Assange, 92nd Street Y

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • Some snacks to help you get through the second half of Passover.
  • You wouldn't think that a Soviet-Jewish immigrant would find much in common with Gabriel Garcia Marquez. But the famed novelist once helped one man find his first love. http://jd.fo/f3JiS
  • Can you relate?
  • The Forverts' "Bintel Brief" advice column ran for more than 65 years. Now it's getting a second life — as a cartoon.
  • Half of this Hillel's members believe Jesus was the Messiah.
  • Vinyl isn't just for hipsters and hippies. Israeli photographer Eilan Paz documents the most astonishing record collections from around the world:http://jd.fo/g3IyM
  • Could Spider-Man be Jewish? Andrew Garfield thinks so.
  • Most tasteless video ever? A new video shows Jesus Christ dying at Auschwitz.
  • "It’s the smell that hits me first — musty, almost sweet, emanating from the green felt that cradles each piece of silver cutlery in its own place." Only one week left to submit! Tell us the story of your family's Jewish heirloom.
  • Mazel tov to Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky!
  • If it's true, it's pretty terrifying news.
  • “My mom went to cook at the White House and all I got was this tiny piece of leftover raspberry ganache."
  • Planning on catching "Fading Gigolo" this weekend? Read our review.
  • A new initiative will spend $300 million a year towards strengthening Israel's relationship with the Diaspora. http://jd.fo/q3Iaj Is this money spent wisely?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.