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Rachel Maddow on Being ‘Enraged’ by Obama, and the Future of Fox News

When we caught up with Rachel Maddow at the Huffington Post pre-inauguration countdown, she was as outspoken as she is on TV and radio. All we had to do was ask about Rick Warren's participation in the inauguration. “I’ve been pretty open about my feelings about it — I thought it was a mistake by Obama,” she told us. “Either [Obama's people] didn’t consider what it would mean to people who support gay rights who also support Barack Obama, or they did. And if they did, I’m ready to be enraged all over again. And if they didn’t, I’m ready to be surprised, because they’re very smart.” We also asked her about the participation of openly gay Episcopal bishop Gene Robinson, Fox News, and her resemblance to Ira Glass.

Was Bishop Gene Robinson a token gesture?
Well, I was talking to Ezra Klein about this last night. And he pointed out that the line from the Obama folks on this was that the Gene Robinson invitation had been in mind even before the Rick Warren invitation was issued. And if that’s true — I mean, nobody believes it’s true. But if that’s true, if we believe them, if we take the charitable approach, that means that they let the gay community inveigh in public, enrage against this, while they had in pocket the whole time that they were going to or already had issued this invitation to Gene Robinson. Why would they do that instead of saying, “Hey, don’t get mad. We’re inviting Gene Robinson, too.”

What does that do?
Well, if they did that on purpose, if they wanted to have a Sista Souljah moment by throwing the gays under the bus, that’s the way you do it. Then the payoff, the point of doing it is to get the outrage voice from people like me, because they think that helps them politically, to get attacked from the left. And specifically to be attacked by gay people. And if they cashed in on me having my feelings hurt, along with other gay people having their feelings hurt and people who support gay rights having their feelings hurt, that’s enraging and I think they should explain.

What’s going to happen when the honeymoon is over? He’s going to have to make unpopular decisions.
True, but you would hope that he could make decisions that he could stand up for.

Did you read our article about Ira Glass looking like you?
I did! I sent him flowers. I thought it was so sweet.

Do you think you look like Ira Glass?
Who would not want to look like Ira Glass? Oh my God! That’s spectacular. I mean, I totally don’t. I wish I did. He’s a hunk.

What’s going to happen to Fox News now?
I think they’ll do great. It seems like they’re shaking up their lineup a little bit and doing some things a little bit different. I think soul searching is probably good for all media organizations, and I’m sure they’ll come out of this stronger than ever.

Will liberals stop going on there, now that they don’t have to appease anybody?
When have liberals ever had to appease anybody?

I guess that’s right. Otherwise they wouldn’t be liberals.
I don’t think that Fox was ever a pertinent outlet for liberals. They’ve got Glenn Beck. Maybe he’ll do better there than he did on Headline News. They seem very excited about him and they seem very excited about having gotten rid of Mr. Colms. I don’t watch TV. I know what their lineup is, but I don’t watch. They make so much money I’m sure they’ll do great.

You won’t be poaching conservatives from there to be on your show?
I think I’m doing okay. They can have them.

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