A couple weeks after President Obama won re-election, I asked whether MSNBC hosts would challenge the administration more from a progressive standpoint than during the campaign.
MSNBC's afternoon and primetime hosts kept their sights on Romney and the Republicans during the election cycle, while spending considerably less time holding Obama accountable on issues like civilian casualties from drone strikes, use of executive power and the Afghanistan conflict, the nation's longest-ever war, which escalated under the current White House. Instead, the network's top partisan hosts -- with the exception of former Republican Rep. Joe Scarborough -- seemed to circle the wagons around the Democratic president during his reelection bid.
But it's one thing for a self-identified progressive network to back a Democratic president against a Republican challenger. Campaigns in a two-party system are zero-sum games: Criticizing one side benefits the other. Now, post-election, the question is whether MSNBC continues cheering Obama on -- or takes him on.
Well, Obama hasn't yet started his second term, but Rachel Maddow may have already answered that question last night, as my colleague Jack Mirkinson caught earlier.
"The most amazing thing about this as a matter of policy is that it isn't a matter of policy," she said. "...The fact that we know that these things are happening and that our government considers these things deniable is frankly one of the more Orwellian things about being an American in the 21st century."
Maddow continued that the lack of accountability meant that citizens were denied a say in their government's military policy.
"We may or may not like what our military does in wartime, but the expectation ... [is that] we get to know what they're doing," she said. "Our political leaders can be voted out of office if we do not like what they have the military do. We do not have that luxury, that accountability, when our government does not admit to what we do."
Maddow has talked before about the Obama administration having "triple-downed" on the drone war from the Bush years, but she took a tougher line on drone secrecy in Thursday night's 18-minute segment than I've seen in recent months.
Watch the full segment here.