The life of Rachel Maddow: how a Rhodes scholar and AIDS activist became America's most unlikely cable television host
- Rachel Maddow never set out to be a television news host. Friends thought she'd be a professor, or an activist.
- After studying at Stanford and Oxford, she got her start as a news announcer for a local Massachusetts radio station. She went on to be a radio host on Air America, before becoming a regular political commentator on MSNBC and CNN.
- Since 2008, she's hosted "The Rachel Maddow Show." She's the first openly gay host of a primetime news program in the US.
- She's a new type of host, forgoing confrontational attack-style interviews for deep-dive monologues on whatever news item she thinks is worth analyzing.
- Here's her life so far.
- Visit BusinessInsider.com for more stories.
Rachel Maddow might be the most unlikely cable television host in the country.
Combining humour, empathy and some serious research, Rachel Maddow was the first of a new, less angry political television host. She's also the first openly gay host.Maddow is known for being extremely intelligent - she won a Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford, but it's obvious too, in her lengthy, well-researched monologues that she opens her show with every day. She's also more civil than some of her peers. She's chided Pat Buchanan for telling another commentator to "shut up," and she refuses to act as a referee while guests fight between each other, unlike her competitor's shows.
Maddow did not come straight to journalism. Friends thought she'd be a professor or an activist. But after deciding she liked explaining things to people on a local radio station, it was only a matter of time. She went from radio station to bigger radio station, to television, to being the face of MSNBC.
As Ben Wallace-Wells put it for Rolling Stone, "What Maddow is trying to build is a different channel for liberal anger, an outsider's channel, one that steers the viewer's attention away from the theater of politics and toward the exercise of power, which is to say toward policy."
Here's her life so far.