I tried to be Rachel Maddow’s friend. I mean, I think she’s cool.She’s adorable, with that cute little bit of an overbite and the geekier-than-tho glasses. She’s also a journalist the way they used to be, which is to say that she does her homework, trying to find out the actual, um, facts before forming an opinion. (Daniel Patrick Moynihan once said that everyone was entitled to their own opinion, but not to their own set of facts. I suspect Rachael agrees with that assertion. Fox News, of course, couldn’t agree less). I like her slogan, “Mind over chatter.” There’s too much mindless chatter on TV, particularly on the cable networks. And she is one of the few journalists that truly “speaks truth to power,” being unfraid to challenge the statements of her guests when they’re blowing smoke. Then there is that thing about fairness: she has often stated that she wants her guests to leave feeling they’ve been treated fairly, even if she has disagreed with most of what they said. That whole “disagreeing without being disagreeable” thing that seems to be mostly missing from political discourse in recent years.
So there I was on Facebook, when up popped the suggestion that I might want to be friends with Rachael. My good friend Gil Askawa is a “mutual friend,” said Facebook. (Gil’s also a journalist, so that’s a doubly-good recommendation). So much of what appears on Facebook is useless drivel (no, I’m not interested in how you’re doing in Farmville — with apologies to my niece, who’s really into that), but there are potentially some interesting posts here and there. I figured Rachael Maddow would have something interesting to say.
Alas, it was not to be. Facebook informed me that “Rachael has too many friends.” (Funny, I thought friends were like ratings points; you can never really have too many. Rachael would probably love to take a few ratings points away from Fox). Facebook has recently limited “friends” to 5ooo. Now, for most of us, 5 friends is about all we can handle, but “friends” in the online sense is something else. Facebook claims something about their plumbing getting all clogged up if you have more than 5000 friends. As with most things involving Facebook, there must be a sinister motive to this. My friend Bob the Media Guy keeps trying to figure out how to “monetize” this social networking stuff (since that’s that Media Guys do); I keep saying once you figure out how to make money doing it, it will drive all the freeloaders away and there will be audience left. In any event, it seems like a bad idea to limit media types and celebrities in how many people they can influence or at least touch.
So, sorry, Rachael. Guess if you want to be friends with me, we’ll just have to meet for coffee sometime. We actually work a few blocks apart, so it should be easy. Have your people call my people.