A good analysis by the Washington Post’s media writer (and CNN host) Howard Kurtz on whether Rachel Maddow’s sexual orientation influences her interest in Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. Kurtz says that Maddow has long had an interest in DADT and that her interest isn’t based in a desire to be an LGBT activist. Here’s Maddow’s final quote:
Maddow accepts the fact that some critics believe she must be biased on the subject. But she offers a simple response:
“I can’t do the show as a non-gay person. I don’t have that option.”
Kurtz points out that Maddow is “one of the few openly gay television anchors” (is she really an anchor? Is two a “few”) but that she’s always had an interest in DADT and military readiness. He quotes Maddow pointing out that her coverage of DADT has less to do with her being a lesbian than her concern about the issue of gay and lesbian people being kicked out of the military. It was on Maddow’s show that DADT poster-boy Lt. Daniel Choi first came out and became an instant DADT activist.
Rather than speaking out as a lesbian, Maddow frames the battle by stressing that 12,500 gay service members have been kicked out of the military under the 1993 compromise that allows them to serve if they keep their sexuality hidden.
“We don’t really treat gay issues differently than other issues,” Maddow says. The controversy, she says, is just “a great story.”
It would have been intertesting for Kurtz to point out that LGBT activists have a love/hate relationship with Maddow, who appears to have an awkward relationship with the LGBT community.
Both Michelangelo Signorile and Pam Spaulding have criticized Maddow for not being forceful enough on LGBT issues and Maddow acknowledges she’s not all that interested in being seen as a voice for LGBT activism.