Ever-Ambitious Rachel Maddow Gets in Unsubtle Dig at Colleagues David Gregory and Chris Matthews

Only a matter of time before MSNBC's answer to Eve Harrington (shown here being introduced to theater critic Addison DeWitt/Keith Olbermann) took a shot across the bow of unsuspecting coworkers.

On her show Wednesday night, Maddow recounted the "single strangest on-air moment for me" on election night in 2008 (video below the fold) --

MADDOW: This happened after midnight East Coast time, Barack Obama had already won the presidency and we were here in this studio (Maddow, "Meet the Press" host David Gregory, "Hardball" host Chris Matthews, former congressman Harold Ford and Republican strategist Mike Murphy) covering the reaction to the election results around the country. And in the midst of that, with everybody else I work with here at MSNBC, this happened --

GREGORY (describing aerial footage of large crowd in downtown San Francisco): I believe we've got some pictures out of San Francisco as well, some of the celebration pouring out in the Castro District of the city as it's known. A place near and dear to your heart, Chris Matthews.

MATTHEWS: Certainly me, having written for the papers out there all those years ...

MADDOW (interrupting): That may not all be celebration if it's in the Castro and we haven't gotten ...

MATTHEWS (reciprocal interruption): Well yeah, Prop 8 is ...

MADDOW (cutting Matthews off again, this time by abruptly ending clip in mid-sentence. Maddow now seen back in studio, waving hands for emphasis): Watch me saying, that may not all be celebrating, you guys! Have we heard anything about Prop 8?

Which is Maddow actually asking, haven't you heard about Prop 8? Duh!

Note the curious hyperbole leading in, Maddow describing those on air with her at the time as "everybody else I work with at MSNBC." You know, that cable network consisting of a single Sunday show host and two weeknight pundits. Despite the presence of "everybody else" at MSNBC, only she, the gimlet-eyed ingenue, can clearly see what's happening while mortals remain oblivious.

The segment may not raise an eyebrow if not for speculation that Maddow would make a splendid moderator on "Meet the Press" and should have been chosen instead of Gregory to succeed NBC patron saint Tim Russert.

After every Maddow appearance on "Meet the Press," for example, I watch for the inevitable story, usually via Huffington Post, of a ratings "burst" courtesy of Maddow's presence.

I'll venture a guess that Gregory tracks his show's ratings and knows when they spike, and with whom.

Hmm, come to think of it, isn't Olbermann more Margo Channing than Addison DeWitt?

Jack Coleman
Liberated ex-liberal from the People's Republic of Massachusetts