For Variety’s latest issue, we asked Rachel Maddow to write a tribute to Nicolle Wallace, one of 50 people to make our New Power of New York list. Here’s why Wallace, who has her own afternoon show on MSNBC, represents a new generation of movers and shakers that capture the best of Manhattan. For the full list, click here.Have you read Nicolle Wallace’s fiction? Nicolle is self-deprecating to within an inch of her life, so when she first told me she was writing...
Rachel Maddow got her start in broadcasting as a “news girl” at WRNX, a small radio station in Massachusetts. These days, she is often the most-watched cable-news personality in primetime. Her job description hasn’t changed.
“I see my job as explaining stuff,” she told Variety earlier this year. “Boy, there’s a lot to explain.”
As controversy continues to swirl around the administration of President Donald Trump, Rachel Maddow has drawn attention by attempting to light a way through the fog. Since she launched her program on MSNBC in the fall of 2008, she has established herself as a sort of news raconteur. She immerses herself in the wonky details of whatever she may be examining — a river in North Carolina polluted by Duke Energy coal ash, for example — then weaves those granular bits into a colorful tale of national import, one she often tells in a mammoth 20-minute opening segment. So reliant is her program on her investigations and storytelling that it has typically had little use for the talking heads who tend to populate so much of the cable-news landscape.
Her newfound cable dominance lends her additional visibility. For years, Fox News Channel’s Bill O’Reilly was the most-viewed news personality, hands down. Maddow’s surge puts her in a position to influence the viewpoint of many a news consumer in an era when many journalists have become subjects of derision. Her efforts to weave together fact and context over a slower boil may help stem that threatening tide.