Back in April, I flagged Bob Somerby's work on how Rachel Maddow's MSNBC show was recapitulating the flaws of cable news (ideologically-motivated dissembling and ratings-driven sensationalism) in a liberal format.
Somerby is back on the Maddow beat this week and his conclusions are just as depressing. Like Josh Marshall's Talking Points Memo, Maddow has been pandering to her audience with a tabloid-like focus on Republican sex scandals. And Somerby busts her blatantly misquoting Pat Buchanan after his segment to put him in a less favorable light.
Unfortunately, very few comentators want to defend Buchanan, especially on the issue of race, so you're not likely to hear much about this. More generally, there's an incentive problem that extends to most cable news shows -- many media elites are likely to avoid criticizing Maddow because they want to get booked on the show. Finally, within liberal circles, there's a tendency to rationalize Maddow's behavior by saying that she's still better than comparable conservatives and that the cable news medium is at fault. As a result, there's largely been a blackout on critical perspectives on her show.