Rachel Maddow at the TCA Winter Press Tour

Maddow isn’t worried about running out of ideas:

I don’t think we are at risk of idiocy
going out of fashion in Washington. So wherever there
are bad ideas, I will find ways to make fun of them.
And sometimes, that’s going to be bad democratic
ideas; it’s going to be bad republican ideas; it’s
just going to be bad ideas. So I don’t worry about
not having George Bush to beat up on anymore.

We’ve been on the
air since September 8th. And as we’ve gone further
along and gotten further from the election, beating up
on George Bush now feels like I’d rather not to a
certain extent. We committed to it with the
quack-itude lame duck segment.

We thought about a few
different things for replacing that with a different
sort of franchise. There’s a few different ideas in
the hopper. I don’t really want to tell you what they
might be, because we haven’t decided yet.

But I think
you are going to see some sort of franchise probably
with a semi-sophomoric sound effect in that position
on the show, replacing the lame duck watch.

A reporter commented to Maddow that "one of the most refreshing things
about your show is the fact that it’s bluster-free" and asked whether there has been a time — when someone she’s interviewing has "veered off script and
started insulting you or TV news in general" — that she’s had to rein herself in.

She was also asked what she thinks of political talk shows that encourage this sort of rancorous dialogue.

After commenting that "I can’t speak too much to what it is
like to experience other people’s shows as a viewer
because I don’t watch much TV," Maddow said, "I do know what it
was like to be a guest on other people’s shows where,
for a very long time, I was in the wilderness, where
it was — I was Punch and they were also booking Judy,
or I was Judy and they were also booking Punch. And
it didn’t really matter what we were talking about, as
long as we were going to fight."

She described this kind of discourse as "boxing, masquerading as news," noting, "sometimes I was good at it, and sometimes I wasn’t,
and sometimes it was demoralizing, and sometimes it
was fun."

But it was a style she definitely didn’t want to emulate on her own show:

When it became even remotely
possible that I might be able to host, I knew that I
would not pay that forward, that I would not be
hosting “Punch and Judy” shows at all. Plenty of
places to get it. It’s not going to die. There’s a
reason people book it that way. A — it’s very easy.
B — the host has no real role, so they can relax and
have a smoke. And C — it does actually — kinetic
activity does draw eyeballs.

I don’t learn anything
from that process. I don’t — sometimes you learn how
to argue well, but that’s kind of it. And I honestly
sort of want to learn something. I want to have there
be a reason that we’ve taken up that time on this
precious broadcast medium that we’ve got. So I don’t
host that.

I certainly have give-and-take with my
guests, but it’s going to be one-on-one. It’s going
to be civil. I’m not going to tell anybody to shut up
unless they say something about my mom or something
else that I can’t control myself about. But other
than that, it’s the way that I — it’s the way that I
want to take in information.

She was also asked whether she plans on her show to focus on accountability and the past, or just current political events.

Maddow wants to cover a mix of both:

…I think accountability stories matter. I think
that political drama, obviously, continues to matter. But moving forward, I mean, I’m really, really, really
invested and interested in national security and
military issues.

I think that with Hillary Clinton at
the State Department, I think we’re entering an era of
diplomacy after an entire generation of almost
militarism in terms of prioritizing military responses
to our — the way that we’ve tackled issues around the
world. I mean, even our disaster aid is now provided
by our Navy instead of being provided by USAID.

So
issues like that about how America is changing, how we
try to get what we want in the world, some of that
stuff does — we do have to look back in order to
understand it. And I think that when you let stuff
go, you’re not necessarily effectively saying it can’t
happen again.

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