Maine CDC Director Nirav Shah on Monday tweeted out a list of recommended books and podcasts he planned to enjoy in 2023, and included among them was a podcast from prominent left-wing conspiracy theorist Rachel Maddow.
“I recently solicited ideas on books/podcasts that could potentially change the way I think about the world—a deliberate effort to counteract confirmation bias,” Shah tweeted.
He then posted a link to a document containing some of his reading recommendations and also his listening recommendations.
On the list was “Ultra,” a podcast from MSNBC host Rachel Maddow. The nine-episode podcast, which focuses on how the so-called “violent ultra right” has plotted against the American government over the years, was released last fall with little acclaim.
Maddow joined MSNBC in 2008 and subsequently became the most popular left-wing talking head in the country, a kind of liberal alternative to Bill O’Reilly, or a not funny version of Jon Stewart. The program mostly featured your standard predictable left-wing take on the politics of the day until the election of President Donald Trump.
After that point, Maddow’s nightly program — The Rachel Maddow Show — became a long-running unhinged conspiracy theory about a grand Russian plot to hijack America. Maddow convinced her viewers that the TV program, with her as a modern bespectacled Inspector Jacques Clouseau, was at the heart of a daring adventure to expose Trump as a long-time Kremlin asset.
Night after night, Maddow would release a cherry-picked bits of information, tantalizing her viewers with the half-baked theories about an international conspiracy to steal the 2016 election from Hillary Clinton. But every time she promised she had “the goods,” she came up short. And, in hindsight, the Trump-obsessed episodes of her show from 2016 to 2020 seem even more deranged then they did at the time.
As Rich Lowry noted in 2019, many of the items Maddow covered during her conspiratorial Trump binge were newsworthy, like the Mueller probe or the impeachment fights or the single page of Trump’s taxes she got her hands on. It’s just the evidence never backed the central thesis her show advanced for four years.
But hey, the ratings were good. Which is what really mattered, regardless of all the noble bluster about saving America from Vladimir Putin.