Rachel Maddow Did A Reddit AMA!!!

I am not familiar with certain corners of the internet and, full disclosure, sometimes I’m even a little scared of them. However, I am also an intrepid journalist who would follow Rachel Maddow anywhere. Even to Reddit. So that’s where I was at 11:00 A.M. when she drew that little robot guy on a whiteboard and proceeded to squeeze out some of her mind grapes for us, in Verdana.



A Reddit “Ask Me Anything,” or AMA, is a crowdsourced interview with a famous or interesting person — other recent subjects include everyone from Michael Bolton to the developers of StarCraft II. Anyone can submit a question, and the subject chooses which ones he or she wants to answer. Other readers help curate the discussion by upvoting and downvoting questions. I’m happy to report that even those of us who have already watched and listened to (and gazed at) Maddow a lot will probably be able to learn at least one thing from this particular Q&A. Right off the bat she reminded us why, besides being a great pundit/anchor/Famous Gay Person, she is a great Friday date — because she is able and willing to talk with equal fluency about her interests, her life, and her job.  And because she smooths things out with a drink first. Exhibit A: the first set of questions she chose:



This set the tone for the rest of the Q&A, which was about four parts newsy and political, two parts personal, and one part Internet (plus one troll garnish which Rachel forgot not to eat). News-wise, Maddow wishes more people would cover Afghanistan (“it’s not done, there are still real decisions to be made, and it’s still life and death”) and that she had gotten to be on the beat for the presidential election of 1800 (“A tie! Decided in Congress! Aaron Burr!”). She’s got some insight into the push-pull forces within the Democratic party:

“We all know about the internal issues of the GOP, but what do you see as the major conflicts within the DNC and liberals?”
“The big one, I think, with Dems in control at the WH and the Senate, is that liberals are always calibrating how much they want to push Dems from the left, and how much they want to support Dems against the Reps. The weaker and more confused the Reps are, the more free I think liberals feel to push the Dems on policy. Broadly speaking, I think the conservative movement thinks about its own future on longer horizons than the liberals do.”



She likes guns AND gun reform (“gun appreciation, even gun enthusiasm (which I confess to in a small way!) is absolutely not inconsistent with a belief in rational gun-safety reform.” She also likes Black Flag AND Hüsker Dü, which is perhaps not as rare, but is equally cool. She puts her socks on before her pants (clearly no one has told her it’s underwear week, as she failed to elaborate on the other steps involved). She would rather fight a horse-sized duck than one hundred duck-sized horses, and, sadly, she is never ever, ever running for office. But she thinks you should.

If you’d like to wade through the whole thing yourself, and check out some of the questions our favorite pundit decided NOT to answer, you can do so here! And if you need a cocktail afterwards, Hansen’s got your back.

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Cara is a former contributing editor for Autostraddle and a current staff writer at Atlas Obscura. She lives in Somerville with her girlfriend, their roommate, and a cat who can flush the toilet, and is generally thinking about gender, sustainable biodiversity, and/or rock & roll music. You can follow her on twitter @cjgiaimo if you want.

Cara has written 113 articles for us.



    also your feelings about reddit/corners of the internet made me giggle because reddit totally terrifies me but i often find myself following people over there for the AMAs. and obviously i would follow maddow anywhere.

  2. I am so happy that Rachel Maddow and I have something in common (other than the queer thing): socks before pants is a way of life.

  3. I think maybe I aspire to be Maddow when I grow up, maybe. Also I’m about to go out and buy all those rye whiskeys.

  4. Was anyone else watching her show last night when she said “happy birthday honey” It was everything.
    I don’t know what my life is going to be like when homophobia is over and there are more openly gay people in the media.

  5. If you actually look at the AMA on reddit you’ll see that’s it’s regarded as one of the worst AMA’s of all time. Maddow failed to answer 8 of the top 10 voted questions because they all dealt with negative aspects of Obama administration policy and the democratic party. She is being derided as the liberal version of Sean Hannity and all of her answers are being down-voted to oblivion. The AMA was a disgrace and only showed how ridiculously biased she is, and that she’s unwilling to consider views that run counter to the official talking points she’s paid by NBC to advance. Way to miss the only remarkable thing about the AMA in your article here. Great reporting…

    • You seem unreasonably upset,I guess she didn’t pick your question…

      Rachel Maddow is not a spokesperson for the White House.
      Rachel Maddow is not subject to the whim of Reddit users.
      Rachel Maddow is smart and probably picked the most innocuous question so as not to offend anyone in particular.


      Go on and drink a cool beverage, you seem parched.

      • Actually, if you’ll read my comment, I’m not “unreasonably upset” over Maddow not answering my questions, I didn’t even ask any questions. I was pointing out that her failure to answer the TOP VOTED questions that received THOUSANDS of votes of support from the reddit community (which is by the way, and overwhelmingly liberal community) because they dealt with issues she’s not allowed to speak about (Bradley Manning, the Obama administrations disturbing lack of respect for due process and limits on executive power, the propagandistic nature of her program and all the programs on MSNBC) because she works for NBC which is a partisan propaganda network.

        • Take a deep calming breath

          Drink a shot of Michter’s rye whiskey

          Reddit is not owed anything…seriously

          Like you said, her AMA will be down voted and this will be but a brief memory

          Enjoy your weekend.

        • was it really YOUR comment? if so, how/why did your name change??


        • Another thing to consider is that she was only available for the AMA for an hour, and people continued to post questions and upvote things like 7 hours after she left

        • Dude, she has spoken about Bradley Manning and due process/civil liberties/executive power. I highly doubt she ignored those questions because they dealt with negative aspects of the Obama administration when she has dealt with thoe negative aspects of the administration many times.

        • I actually agree with you. i stopped watching her show when she did a complete about face in her coverage of Barack Dronebama’s secret (at the time) drone war. She would hammer him constantly, but after she visited Dronebama at the White House a couple of times, she did a 180 on her coverage of him. It felt like a sell out. I think this criticism is fair, and people saying “RM doesn’t owe Reddit anything, etc” are kind of missing the point of the AMA when she ignored the most requested questions of that community, provided, of course, that those asking are real and regular members of the reddit community in the first place and not people who created accounts 5 minutes beforehand.

    • So, I really like Rachel and I think she’s smart and fair. But this person is right, to an extent. It was a horrible AMA… the deal with AMAs is that the community collectively votes what they consider the most pertinent/best questions to the top. Rachel skipped over those and picked a couple she liked best. It’s just a huge no-no. The point is “ask me ANYTHING”– it’s not an interview. You do Reddit if you actually want to answer questions. If she didn’t– fair enough! But don’t do a Reddit AMA.

  6. WHY DIDN’T I SEE THIS WHEN I WAS ON REDDIT THIS MORNING? Because i only checked out r/buffy today noooooooooo

    (Sorry for the lack of punctuation and maybe also sense but I may or may not be under the influence of one or more substances)

  7. Also you guys reddit totally isn’t as terrified as it seems…I too feared it for many a year but its actually pretty cool as long as stick with the right subs I promise. Also r/actuallesbians is great and you guys would probably love it

  8. As a lover of everything Maddow (I have both the hardcover version and the audiobook version of her book, Drift) and a dedicated viewer, I was disappointed by her AMA. Before her AMA, she was just as worshipped/trusted on Reddit as she is on Autostraddle.

    Why? Because Reddit is a liberal’s playground. Sure, there are lots of scary parts that I don’t venture too. But, seriously, check out reddit.com/r/ainbow or reddit.com/r/GodlessWomen (or, for pure cuteness go to reddit.com/r/awww). They are amazing little supportive & news-junkie communities. In addition, if you look at the sidebar of those subreddits, you will find even more wonderful subreddits – it’s all a big spiderweb.

    But, much to my disappointment, Rachel Maddow lost the respect of Reddit and thus won’t be considered a trusted source of political information on the site anymore due to ignoring most of the top 10 upvoted questions. What was more disconcerting, is that all of those questions were legitimately interesting and deserved a thoughtful answer from Maddow.

    Here are the 3 questions that were at the top of her AMA while she was conducting it:

    1) Since we can safely assume that you have your disagreements with the president’s handling of certain issues, what is your strongest point of disagreement with the Obama administration, whether in terms of their agenda, their actions, or even their silence on certain issues? And same question, for the Republicans in the House and Senate.

    2) Why do you and MSNBC not cover Bradley Manning?

    3) Why didn’t the mainstream media cover the story of the LAPD shooting at innocents during the manhunt for Dorner? Thanks for doing this Rachel, you are my favorite.

    Watching one of your idols blatantly ignore the top voted questions is pretty shocking. She did provide some great answers to respectable questions and I throughly enjoyed reading her input. However, she said Ask Me Anything, not Ask Me Almost Anything (which is an option and shows honesty/transparency). Therefore, Reddits expected her to show them the respect that they show her – and she betrayed that. All you have to do is 5 minutes of research before an AMA to discover, that in order to be trusted, loved, and respected, you need to answer the questions with the most upvotes.

    Take my comment for what you will. I love Maddow, Autostraddle, and Reddit. But, because she showed that she has some intriguing non-transparent political affiliations, I will watch her show with more skepticism than normal over her choice of topics and stances. In my opinion, she’s still more respectable than most news-anchors out there and thank you for putting up the link to her blog’s version of her AMA up. It’s a lot nicer to recap her answers without the disappointed Reddit community downvoting them to oblivion.

    All in all, I hope that my comment showed y’all into the liberal and skeptical minds of Redditors. At the very least I put in my 2 cents.

    TL;DR I love Autostraddle, Reddit, and Maddow & was disappointed by Maddow’s AMA due to her actions of ignoring the top upvoted questions. They were all intriguing, respectable, and well-thought out. Because of her lack of response to those questions, Reddit will no longer consider her a trusted news source. PS: Autostraddle should not be scared of Reddit – go to reddit.com/r/ainbow & you’ll see why it’s an awesome site.

  9. Hahahhahaha butthurt ahoy! When someone volunteers to be ‘asked anything’, there is no obligation to ‘answer anything’. If I was asked to do one of these things, for free, hell yeah I would scroll through and find the questions I thought would be fun to answer, not the ‘top voted’ ones.

    Also, Reddit is most terrifying when talked about like it is an entity that deserves respect, and not the bunch of arm chair activists it really is.

    • This is such an ignorant comment.

      Reddit is a forum on the internet that services 8 million visitors daily, gets 37 billion page views a year, and has thousands of subreddits on everything from spacedicks to academic philosophy to radical queers. It’s frequented by idiot 10-year-olds and nuclear physicists alike. Some of its founders have made great strides in keeping the internet accessible and preserving the privacy of internet users like you. If you think the internet is an important innovation, than places like reddit are deserving of respect for fostering the ideals that the internet was created for: free exchange of information, privacy, etc.

      While the website certainly has its fair share of “armchair activists” and trolls (and I have nothing in particular against those groups), it’s clearly a valuable area of the internet. Rachel Maddow was given a slot to be asked questions, she did an inadequate job of doing so; in my view and many others’ she wasted a lot of people’s time. If the President could make time to answer more than 10 questions, I don’t see why she couldn’t have done the same.

      All of these responses dismissing reddit users as “butthurt” or immature really contribute to the gap between feminist/queer-oriented blog sites and the rest of the internet.

      I much prefer the anonymity and honest rudeness of places like 4chan to the snarky, entitled, dismissive comments I find repeatedly on autostraddle.

  10. Really appreciative of all these different perspectives! I definitely didn’t know much about Reddit or the AMA as institutions when I wrote this, and I’ll be sure to keep all of this in mind if I do an article like this in the future.

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