MSNBC's "The Rachel Maddow Show" appears desperate to get back in the good graces of The New York Times, constantly touting its headlines and praising its reporters on the heels of her far-left show being shunned by the paper.
Maddow -- and occasional fill-in hosts -- have mentioned the New York Times at least a whopping 41 times on her show since May 30, when Vanity Fair reported that the paper wanted its reporters to stay far away from far-left and far-right programs. That included Maddow's, because it was too liberal, even for the paper that is often considered left-leaning itself. The staggering 41 mentions over only 13 episodes does not include guests, who have also evoked the Times on “The Rachel Maddow Show.”
Maddow’s obsession to make nice with the Gray Lady reached new heights on Monday night, when she mentioned the paper 18 times in one hour. While Maddow has promoted the paper at every turn, her boss, MSNBC president Phil Griffin, has reportedly been busy trying to rekindle the relationship himself.
Griffin spent a prolonged lunch with New York Times executive editor Dean Baquet following the Vanity Fair bombshell, attempting to hash things out, to no avail. Times reporters have not yet returned to “Maddow.”
MSNBC and the New York Times did not immediately respond to separate requests for comment.
Meanwhile, Maddow hasn’t simply touted the Times’ current staff, but has also dug deep into the archives to plug the paper.
On June 5, Maddow mentioned the Times six times, including admiring a report from June 1970. Maddow read the 49-year-old story to her viewers in an attempt to compare the actions of President Nixon to current news regarding President Trump, as both presidents planned to honor America with July 4 celebrations.
"’The New York Times’ was first to break the news,” Maddow said of the decades-old report. “Classic, golden-era American news copy.”
Maddow then celebrated a July 5, 1970 Times headline that read, “Long-hairs clash with crew-cuts at Capital rally,” displaying the vintage paper on screen and reading it aloud.
“You don’t really get news copy like that anymore,” Maddow gushed.
DePauw University professor and media critic Jeffrey McCall feels that New York Times reporters bring “a degree of legitimacy” to cable news programs, which is something Maddow craves.
“Maddow likely wants to stay visible in front of the New York Times hierarchy in hopes they will at some point reverse course,” McCall told Fox News.
Accuracy in Media executive director Gus Portela told Fox News that the Times’ decision not to have reporters on Maddow’s show “is a step in the right direction to correcting the perception of bias” at the paper – because the MSNBC host doesn't align with the Times' ideal reputation of appearing non-partisan.
“We believe the excessive praise from Rachel Maddow is a way to double down on her bias,” Portela said. “She’s simply not interested in providing balanced commentary. We hope she will reconsider.”
Some members of the Times’ staff agree with Portela and one current member of its newsroom told Fox News “it rubs off” on any journalist who is too closely aligned to far-left pundits such as Maddow.
“I do think Maddow, and others on MSNBC, have very strong opinions that affect their ability to tell stories in an accurate way sometimes,” the staffer said.
CNN media pundit Brian Stelter, who used to work at the Times and reported the failed pow-wow between Griffin and Baquet, has even touted the host's affection for liberal media.
“Maddow uses her show to promote journalists,” Stelter wrote in the June 11 edition of his newsletter. “Maddow's affection for newspaper reporters was one of Griffin's points at lunch with Baquet.”
Maddow has dedicated significant airtime since Trump’s victory over Hillary Clinton in 2016 to speculating on whether or not Trump colluded with Russia. As a result, her critics have labeled her a conspiracy theorist and viewers turned away in droves when Attorney General Bill Barr's letter summarizing Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report indicated that a Trump campaign-Russia conspiracy didn’t exist.
NBC also has been widely criticized for naming Maddow a moderator of the first debate between 2020 Democratic presidential hopefuls. Debate moderators are historically straight-news journalists, as opposed to partisan pundits. The last time Maddow was allowed on a debate stage, she famously hugged Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.
The decision to include Maddow even drew criticism from the Times, despite her constant promotion of the paper.
“Opinion journalists are rarely chosen to interrogate candidates in the formal setting of a debate stage,” New York Times media correspondent Michael Grynbaum wrote.