BY Michelangelo Signorile
January 05 2009 12:00 AM ET
There are two lesbian opinion makers whose insights I turn to a lot in any given 24-hour news cycle: Pam Spaulding and Rachel Maddow. Pam is the blogmistress, as she calls herself, of PamsHouseBlend.com, a popular blog where she and her contributors discuss LGBT issues and general politics. Rachel, of course, is the cable news overnight sensation, host of MSNBC’s ratings-busting Rachel Maddow Show, and an Air America Radio host.
I’ve known both of them for several years. Rachel guest-hosted on my radio program on Sirius XM a few times in the early days of the show. Pam often comes on my show as a guest.
So when Pam criticized Rachel one day recently on her blog, my ears perked up.
Why, Pam wanted to know, didn’t Rachel ask Mike Huckabee about his views on LGBT people when he appeared on Rachel’s MSNBC show during his book tour? Commenters on Pam’s blog then wanted to know why Rachel didn’t ask Huckabee about the comments he’d made a few days before on The View, dismissing the fact that gay people are victims of violence.
Pam actually had picked up on criticism of the interview first made by ThinkProgress.org, the blog of the Center for American Progress Action Fund, which remarked that “Maddow was notably silent on the issue of gay rights” with Huckabee. (Ali Frick at Think Progress later told me that she didn’t look at it from the perspective of Rachel being an out lesbian but rather viewed her as an “open progressive” who should have grilled Huckabee.)
Something tugged at me upon reading the criticisms, something I hadn’t wanted to face but that I realized I knew deep down shortly after Rachel began her MSNBC show: This lesbian superstar is informed and witty on the twists and turns of the election campaign, astute on issues regarding highway infrastructure, illuminating when turning to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and brilliant at skewering the Republican agenda. But she’s lacking and, perhaps inadvertently, sometimes dismissive when it comes to focusing on the very big civil rights movement of our time, LGBT rights.