Rachel Maddow’s featured session at South by South West was a fast-paced, funny and well-researched conversation ranging from the American people’s disconnection with soldiers to the country’s nuclear arsenal to the national need for journalism.
Maddow, who hosts MSNBC’s critically acclaimed “The Rachel Maddow Show,” touted her book titled “Drift: The Unmooring of American Military Power.” She said she wanted to write the book because it was going to take her longer than a TV show to get her message across.
“Whether the next war is in Iran or Syria or here or so long off from now that we can’t even see what conflict it will arise form, it should never again feel like it is not us at war, that we have sent other people to do it for us,” Maddow said.
Maddow said the American people who are not in the military or military families are incredibly disconnected with the foreign wars.
She said she is not cynical about the emotional response people have to returning soldiers, but she said it is not a real connection. She said if we were truly connected with soldiers then we would demand quicker disability responses from the VA—most soldiers today are waiting almost a year to hear back.
Maddow spoke on her birthday, and she said it should be important for everyone to know their birth president. She was born during Nixon’s presidency, and her mind was a little blown when she discovered there were people in the audience who were born during “Pappy Bush” and “Clinton” presidencies.
She said America has a nuclear arsenal of 5,000.
“Can you imagine setting off Hiroshima now?” Maddow asked. “Can you imagine setting off two bombs? Five bombs? Ten times the size of Hiroshima? Can you image that we would have use for 50 of them?”
She also said journalism will be a national need. She said journalism is meritocracy because content is trafficable.
She said basic ethics and editing skills are a national need and their content can be picked up regardless of whether they’re writing for the Wall Street Journal, Buzzfeed or a personal blog.
“"If you're good and proven true, you're gonna be picked up,” Maddow said. “My best advice is to be awesome."
Beth Brown, editor in chief