Rachel Maddow's New Show

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[On The Media]


As the 2008 Presidential Election looms ahead, The Women's Media Center has been actively participating in the public conversations around issues of feminism, motherhood, and women in American political culture.

Participants in our Progressive Women's Voices program have spoken out on our own Majority Post and in almost every major news outlet, including: CNN, NPR, ABC, GRIT-TV, Huffington Post, Fox and Friends, CNBC, and PBS broadening the discussion around Governor Sarah Palin to the issues important to all women voters.

And at long last, there is something to celebrate on the cable networks: this week Rachel Maddow kicked off her own talk/news show -- 9pm nightly on MSNBC. This means if you want your day analyzed by a smart (PhD, Rhodes Scholar), articulate, progressive woman with a light sense of humor -- there's now a place to go. I've been following her career since she broke through the Air America airwaves in its original form, where she's still doing a daily three hour radio show (6-9pm).

Known for going toe-to-toe with Pat Buchanan in sharp liberal/conservative debate, Maddow famously told Buchanan off when he insisted another woman contributor "Shut Up!" And at the Democratic Convention in Denver she conducted an informative, but pointed, conversation with Google president Eric Schmidt. In all, Maddow is a welcome, talented presence in the crucial time leading up to Election Day, 2008.

Speaking of MSNBC, sanity seems to have returned to the network with word that Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann, of late fighting with each other on-air, have been replaced as hosts of election coverage by reporter David Gregory. They will remain as the pundits they are, but at least there will be a center of objectivity and calm.

Lydia Cacho RiberoYesterday the Ford Foundation held a day-long forum on the media: Today's Press: How Free? Who Cares? Up for discussion -- violence against reporters (28 killed in 2008, see The Committee to Protect Journalists) and the problems of government and media self-censorship.

It was a wide ranging examination opened by Ford Foundation's new president Luis Ubinas who asked us to consider how the "disrespect of discourse here in this country manifests itself in the murders of journalists around the world."

Among the panelists was Lydia Cacho Ribeiro, an author and investigative journalist with Mexican news agency CIMAC. Cacho Ribeiro's expose of the sexual exploitation of women and children by government officials in Cancun and other cities has won her many awards-and the need for daily protection by bodyguards after being raped in direct retaliation for her work.

Russia was in the slate of countries we talked about -- where just recently several reporters were attacked and murdered, as the Putin/Medvedev regime has tightened control over anti-government comment. Just this year four men were arrested in the 2006 murder of Anna Politkovskaya, a 48 year old Russian journalist believed to have been killed for her reporting on Russian abuses in Chechnya.

Last Friday the WMC hosted a group of Russian women, elected officials from various cities and towns, here on a month long working tour arranged by the Department of State. We talked about their struggles getting media exposure for their issues -- and ours. Be sure to read our exclusive on a camp for children, Russian Women Look Outward to Create Change.

And we shared the work we do here -- our Progressive Women's Voices program, our commentaries, our research. We look forward to joint projects in the future.

We're working to make women - all women - visible and powerful in the media. We hope you'll join us in our work.


Carol Jenkins is the WMC President

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