What Rachel Maddow Has Been Thinking About Offscreen
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“The Rachel Maddow Show” debuted in the interregnum between political eras. Before it lay the 9/11 era and the George W. Bush presidency. Days after the show launched in 2008, Lehman Brothers collapsed, and a few weeks later Barack Obama was elected president.
And then history just kept speeding up. The Tea Party. The debt ceiling debacles. Donald Trump. The coronavirus pandemic. January 6th. The big lie. Maddow covered and tried to make sense of it all. Now, after 14 years, she has taken her show down to one episode a week and is beginning other projects — like “Ultra,” the history podcast we discuss in this episode.
But I wanted to talk to Maddow about how American politics and media has changed over the course of her show. We discuss the legacies of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the cycle of economic crises we appear to keep having, Maddow’s relationships with Pat Buchanan and Tucker Carlson, where the current G.O.P.’s anti-democracy efforts really started, how Obama’s presidency changed politics, how Maddow finds and chooses her stories, the statehouse Republicans who tilled the soil for Trump’s big lie and more.
Hitler in Los Angeles by Steven J. Ross
Nazis of Copley Square by Charles R. Gallagher
Hitler’s American Friends by Bradley W. Hart
The Oppermanns by Lion Feuchtwanger
1940 by Susan Dunn
Down in New Orleans Billy Sothern
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You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of “The Ezra Klein Show” at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.
“The Ezra Klein Show” is produced by Annie Galvin, Jeff Geld and Rogé Karma. Our researcher is Emefa Agawu. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris, Mary Marge Locker and Kate Sinclair. Original music by Isaac Jones. Mixing by Jeff Geld. Audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Special thanks to Kristin Lin and Kristina Samulewski.