Rachel Maddow says she didn't want to cover the controversy over the proposed Islamic cultural center near Ground Zero, but Fox News left her no choice.
Maddow told the Daily Beast's Lloyd Grove that she'd actually banned the topic entirely from her show, even as it became a major national story, because she considered it a manufactured controversy:
"Participating in the discussion of this, as a political matter, is playing right into the hands of the people who ginned this up." (By "the people who ginned this up," she means Fox News and its allies--about which more in a moment.) "Adding to the volume--in both senses of the word--of the coverage, um, grosses me out a little bit," she says.
But by Monday, she said, she felt she had no option but to enter the fray. The cultural center "has become the foremost political issue in the country right now...and not weighing in on it is to spit into the wind."
Once Maddow decided to weigh in, she devoted a 14-minute segment to the issue, excoriating Fox News for what she said was merely the latest in a long line of its "scare white people" stories -- a charge she has devoted a lot of time to in the past few months.
In the interview, Maddow also talked about her personal life. She told Grove that, if President Clinton had allowed gays to serve openly in the military, she would seriously have considered joining. She also said that she thinks she looks better with her glasses on. She never wears them on camera, she said, because "all people would get is, like, Groucho Marx--'Oh, these glasses are talking to me!'"
Grove also asked her whether she wants to marry her longtime partner, artist Susan Mikula. Her answer? "Maybe. Conceivably. I like that we sort of have the right in Massachusetts."