Rachel_Maddow_in_Seattle 750

A Letter to Rachel Maddow

In Turkey, as I write this, there are, as you already know, approximately 150 miners trapped one mile below ground in a burning coal mine. It was you, Miss Maddow covering this disaster on your show on MSNBC who brought it to my attention.

These 150 miners who may still be alive, or not. There are also, based on your report, at least 270 already dead.

Watching your video segment, describing this, and similar mining disasters – I was overwhelmed by emotion, and for the first time in more than 30 years, I wept.

But, not for the miners still trapped a mile below the earth’s surface, in what may become their mass-grave. I did not cry, even for those who are already known to be dead. Miners, loggers and workers in all manner of dangerous fields die by the hundreds all over the world on a daily basis. A fact that while tragic, is so commonplace that it is rarely considered by people not directly affected.

Your report Miss Maddow provoked my temporary loss of control and my tears, by the words you used to describe those who are trapped a mile below ground, and those who are known to now be dead in that particular burning coal mine.

You called them people, and also, significantly, men. You also listed a series of other, and similar mining disasters, catastrophic events resulting in hundreds of deaths, and in some cases, thousands of deaths at a time.


Quoting you, Miss Maddow:

“..in 1907, a year later, in Monongah West Virginia, the worse ever coal disaster in the US – two huge explosions, one man is saved. But 367 American men and boys are killed. In 1913 in Wales – 439 men are killed in one mine, in one gas explosion. 1942 in China, that’s the worst one ever in the world, 1500 (“snuffed out 1,549 Chinese and Koreans”) coal miners killed in a single accident. In South Africa, in 1960 – a mine collapses, more than 400 men killed. “

You see, Miss Maddow, I am writing to thank you for noting in your MSNBC report something that I have never seen in any other mainstream news or media.

What you clearly named, and is what nobody else in the media ever mentions. The humanity of men and boys who die.

The usual format is this:

Turkey mine explosion: more than 200 dead and hundreds trapped”.

This is a headline from theguardian.com addressing the same Turkish mining disaster your MSNBC segment covered.

But 200 of who dead?

The 600-word article includes twenty references to the men trapped, and to the men already dead.

  • coal miners
  • colleagues
  • death toll
  • hundreds still trapped
  • Twenty people initially made it out
  • 200 and 300 workers
  • hundreds of miners stranded underground
  • the corpses of miners
  • how many workers were trapped underground
  • trapped workers
  • their faces and hard hats covered in soot
  • relatives of miners
  • workers were 420 metres deep
  • worker

The word “people” is used 4 times. Miners appears 7 times, including once in a caption on the article’s included photograph.

And the men attending this disaster, trying to prevent the deaths of their colleagues and countrymen, they’re not men either, they’re just “rescuers.”

The word “men’ is not used. You know, the people the article is about. They are not men. They’re workers, miners, they’re a “death toll”, and sometimes even people – but they’re never men.

That it is men who die in 93% of workplace fatalities, and 97% of military combat fatalities is never mentioned. It is a fact hidden behind the selective use of job titles and euphemisms by every single mainstream reporter, journalist and talking head – every time a large number of men die.

In other disasters, when people other than men are killed, the pattern of reporting is a little different.

Airstrike killed at least 14 civilians, including women and children

The article following that headline notes three women and five children among the dead. The word “men” is not included, although a little rudimentary arithmetic will indicate that the remaining six are the corpses of men. If any of the dead children were male, that’s hidden behind the word “children” as well.

That phrase, “Women, and Children” is the common key, used in almost all reporting, to let us know whose deaths matter. When people have been killed, blown up, vaporized by modern military technology, drowned, burned to death, suffocated hundreds of feet below the ground, or crushed under rubble, and if those dead people did not have ovaries – or were not children – then their deaths do not matter. Their humanity, prior to being extinguished by mishap – is hidden behind euphemisms like “death count” or job titles like, “miner,” and “worker”. It is one of the ways in which the corpses of those who are almost all men, and on which “civilized” societies run – are kept hidden from public view.

It’s what allows modern cultures to keep killing men, for everybody else’s convenience.

“Did you ever think what those sleepers are that underlie the railroad? Each one is a man…. The rails are laid on them, and they are covered with sand, and the cars run smoothly over them. They are sound sleepers, I assure you. And every few years a new lot is laid down and run over; so that, if some have the pleasure of riding on a rail, others have the misfortune to be ridden upon.”

~Henry David Thoreau

Except for you, Miss Maddow – you called them men. You pointed out that the humans regularly dying in the dangerous business of mining are the human beings called men and boys. Thank you.

I hope you haven’t jeopardized your job. Really.


Editorial note: title image used under Creative Commons License as specified here. –DE

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  • Draigo Luther

    Kind of surprising it came from MSNBC, but hey a small victory is a victory none the less..Kudos Miss Maddow…Considering the debacle of the Boko Haram reporting fiasco, and the selfie campaign behind it.

  • iggy

    I remember when I first swallowed the Red Pill and started paying attention to the tv shows, news and media… and how they where so gynocentric in nature. It became hyper-sensitive to it, and not in the least a bit angry about it. However I have since softened a bit as to my reaction to this sort of thing. I think media likes to sell advertisements and newspapers, and they know that women in peril or their death is something everyone will pay attention to and that leads to more viewers, more sales, more money in their pockets. I don’t take that personally, even if it is reflective of a society I and working to change. I understand those who do take it personally, and I am in no way suggesting that your reaction is unjustified or unimportant. However, I don’t want to cheapen the event itself… I don’t want to be like an uncaring media that just uses stories like this to sell crap or push agenda’s. I don’t want to co-opt the story, even if it has gynocentrism in it. I don’t know what these men believed or what they would want us to learn from their death, but I can well imagine they want to be remembered for being honest, hard working, productive men who’s lives ended much too early. I am sure these men would be worried for their families and their friends, as these men surely took care of others as well as themselves. I don’t want to cheapen them simply because our ideological opponents have done that to us for years. I don’t want to use their death to make my point…. that already happens every day in hundreds of lives. If it was 400 women who died in some way I would feel the same way… and so would the rest of us… and that’s my point. 400 humans died there, and that should be tragedy enough for us to notice, regardless of their gender.

    • Partridge

      I understand the point you’re making here, but I feel it’s unnecessary, because you appear to have missed the point of John’s article.

      If it was women and not men who had died, I’m sure we and the rest of society would have not ignored or hidden the fact that they were women. We only ask that the same courteous consideration be given in the event of deaths of men and boys.

      Far from cheapening this event and using the tragic deaths of those men to make a point, the article expresses gratitude for one of the rare recognitions in today’s media that the humans in this tragedy are men, and thus the men involved are humans. For that at least, Rachel Maddow deserves all our thanks.

      • PaulMurrayCbr

        “If it had been women and not men who had died, I’m sure we and the rest
        of society would have not ignored or hidden the fact that they were

        As that other article points out – those dudes that kidnapped the schoolgirls have for years been slaughtering boys and letting the girls go, and no-one gave a shit.

        • Partridge

          You mean the one in the Spectator? Agreed; excellent article. As is the above piece by John H.
          And MRAs need have no qualms or hesitation in pointing out society’s double standards.

      • iggy

        A fair reply, however I am not convinced Rachel Maddow is all that concerned about men or women for that matter. I’d be naïve if I didn’t recognize that headlines are used for political points, I am just not sure I’d want my father or son’s tragic death (or mothers or daughters death) used in that way. Be it 200 or 300 or 400, the tragedy is their death not their gender… however I do get that the lack of male-death recognition by media and the treatment of men as utilities (“miners”, “workers”,) has created this sensitivity in the first place and I stand behind those who point it out.

  • Gerald Vrooman

    Hmm. Maybe I will have to quit calling her “MadCow”.

  • DukeLax

    Nice piece john. I think the concept of breaking down current media accounts, into the critical eye of a recognized leader of the MRM, is a winning strategy.

  • Avatar

    She does not care . She hates men . It is so obvious.

    • Jesse James

      Potentially. But I still think it is important to allow for grace. Love her, or hate her, she is an adept (albeit extremely biased) left leaning journalist/oped-writer-anchor.

      So there is a possibility that they used her to see how one of ours would respond. They have to know we are coming. They can’t lambaste without their comment sections getting closed. She seels books/ink by the train load, so looking for a niche is an apt description of her.

      However, someone who does literally use ink by the train load would be a nice ally to have. Just don’t expect me to hold my breath. If there is a way to make it about women, someone like that would do so.

      I am curious that such a mainstream, feminist dogma putrificattion producer as MSNBC would allow her to put that out there? Suspect, or change of pace?

      • Graham Strouse

        I think MSNBC probably is moving more in a moderate-liberal direction. keep in mind that Phil Griffin, NBC’s president of news operations, is pretty mercenary. He’ll put out any kind of show if he thinks it will get him higher ratings and bring in more money. He is, after all, also responsible for programming the corporate-conservative CNBC. And in the US, feminist-marxist theology doesn’t sell very well anymore outside of the academic fringe. The last poll I saw of under 30 women found that only about 1 in 7 and 1 in 8 self-identify as feminists. Radical feminism just doesn’t sell that well in the US on television.

    • Graham Strouse

      I don’t think she hates men, dude. She just doesn’t like sleeping with them. There’s a difference.

      • Avatar

        OK . She does not like men . How is that ? Bit naïve eh …

  • crydiego

    She is political John. She doesn’t care about men or women.

  • jbantifem

    Good article and definitly something worth mentioning. Thanks.

    Mentioning the gender(s) of the deceased in a news article should be a given to me. But alas, that simply isn’t the case these days.

    Does anyone know Rachel Maddow’s politics? I’m sure she’s a feminist, but how man-hating is she? What background do we have on her?

    • bun yip

      She identifies as feminist, but she’s not the crazy kind. She appears to truly want gender equality, with equal rights AND equal responsibilities. However, she has unfortunately bought into the wage gap BS, and has occasionally used feminist speak like “mansplain” when discussing stories like the “legitimate rape” guy Todd Akin.

      I think she’s a great person and excellent at her job, but has a few minor flaws (the above, plus she avoids any story that makes Obama look bad whether he deserves it or not)

      • jbantifem

        Thanks for the information. Someone from the MHRM should chat her up and see if we can get her on our side. We need all the female ‘soldiers’ we can get. :-)

      • Graham Strouse

        Maddow is a reporter first and foremost, always has been. That’s why I like her. When she has a strong bias on a particular issue, she almost always qualifies her reportage with it. When she screws up, she makes public corrections.

    • Copyleft

      It’s a real awakening, isn’t it? To suddenly notice that while the loss of “workers” is regrettable, it’s only the loss of “women and children” that qualifies to be treated as an urgent, important tragedy.

    • Guest

      Maddow’s a liberal but she’s not really a part of the academic fringe. She comes from a fairly conservative military family. When you grow up with a mixed (political) family, as she did (and I did, to a degree) it tends to temper one’s tribal instincts.

  • PaulMurrayCbr

    I hope that this helps beak down some of the reflexive right-wingery of the MRM. Men’s rights are not about left and right.

    • DukeLax

      So far, the only real interest that Ive seen from any politician is from Rand Paul of the tea party, and one could say he does not prescribe to the American political “false dichotomy” either.

    • MRAlias

      Don’t want to debate it but I disagree wholeheartedly. While misandry is not inherent to either the left or the right I believe men’s rights can in theory flourish on the right. I don’t see that ever happening with the left. At best we’d be the winner of the victim olympics and that’s not something I want to see the MRM become.

      • dungone

        The difference is that associating feminism with the left makes the left look bad; associating the MRM with the right makes the MRM look bad.

        • kyle

          Let’s not be feminists, and not exclude anyone from mens rights, based on their political alliance. We can have a big tent.

          • Janet Wilkinson

            Agreed, it’s only in the states, that left and right seem to be an issue. All I see is feminists and MHRA where they come from doesn’t bother me.

          • Graham Strouse

            It probably helps that so many core leaders of AVfM are based in Canada. Canadian politics seem to be a bit less tribal than US politics.

      • http://javier.gr Javier Gonel

        I was going to write that perhaps there is hope, but after reading a press release from a communist party (from 2 days ago)… There is no hope, just politically correct speech and assumed existence of patriarchy.

        • alex brown

          You think the communist party is going to change? I would ignore them, they are an authoritarian cancer.

      • Sanguifer

        Good luck with that. Any social justice movement will have a great degree of victim rhetoric. It’s more or less built in. Either there are actual victims which are disregarded, or some need to be made up in order to remain relevant. In both cases, it’s a race to see who can provide more victims or bigger victims that society cares about. MRA rhetoric is FULL of phrases like “the pain of these men”, often applied on the slightest of prompt.

        I don’t say it’s unjustified, I just say it’s there.

      • Theseus

        Eeehhhh “flourish” is just…I dunno. I don’t see them dumping their extremely heavy social/traditional conservative, drug war, private prison stances in the near future. Nor do I see them pissing off their bread and butter traditional/religious right constituency any time soon.

        I have similar concerns with the left and all their huge baggage. I think an awakening and getting allies from across the political spectrum is the key. Then as things actually progress to more equality under the law, both the left and right will soften their misandric male disposable policies.

        • Len Firewood

          Spot on Theseus – the way I see it is that the MHRM is largely the result of an ongoing awakening and a greater awareness of our common humanity which crosses ALL boundaries ultimately – even political ones.

        • Graham Strouse

          Much of the reason AVfM has become so effective over the past couple years is because the site has largely stayed away from factional left-right infighting. I hope we can keep it that way. Feminism has been long losing ground in large part because of in-group bickering & public wingnuttery that has even alienated much of its traditional liberal base. I’d rather we don’t go in that direction.

        • alex brown

          Drug war is a left thing as well. What I find annoying about this pointless political tribalism is the fact in the US both political parties are exactly the same on most issues. It is a waste of energy wondering what party is the least crap one, they both suck.

          In the UK we have the same problem as well. On the major core issues the main political parties are the same.

      • crydiego

        If we stay together, we grow. If we grow we will win!
        It is the strategy of the left and right to weaken by division and then own the message.
        You can watch it happening right now as the right is trying to divide feminism and they are coming after us too. The US election is getting closer.

        • crydiego

          As to the right trying to divide feminism, take a look at Independent Woman’s Forum.

      • alex brown

        What has the right ever done for men? Abandon the left right dichotomy it is mental tribalism, doesn’t mean anything?

        MRA needs to make inroads in the left, even if only to cause some infighting with feminists.

        If we can detach the left as feminisms nest, they would lose a lot of cover.

        This victim Olympics concern is empty and meaningless, just because women are privileged and whine about nothing, doesn’t mean men and boys have no issues.

  • jq747

    Absolutely fucking spot on.

  • napocapo69

    Spot on, John.

  • Junky

    pre emptive damage control expect to see more,, from feminists , from politicians, from media, from academia, they want to keep the funding rolling thru channels they control, and for media keep their jobs…

    do NOT forget who we are dealing with…..

  • http://www.jetpackhq.com/ Dirigible

    Before reading this article, I had made it 40 years without questioning the use of the “women and children” line. Thank you John, you are absolutely right.
    I have always liked Rachael Maddow.

  • Phil McCracken

    Thanks John. My Grandfather (a man) was nearly killed in a coal mine collapse. My Father (a man also) was allowed to visit him in the hospital. They were roughly 33 & 12 years of age at the time. He was allowed to visit because he was the eldest of 4 siblings and Grandpa wasn’t expected to survive the night. He did survive. He also had black lung disease. And he went on to help survey the local interstate system. Without Men like this, mining coal and building highways where would this talking head be today?

  • Civilisationftw

    Astounding because Maddow usually follows the manhating feminist way.

    • Graham Strouse

      Actually, she usually doesn’t. She tends to play it relatively straight with the news. As for some of the other MSNBC hosts, well…

      • Civilisationftw

        I know for a fact i heard her claim women earn 77cent for every dollar men do for the same work, i will post the youtube link if i find it.

  • http://www.StudioBrule.com Steve Brulé

    I noticed that CBC referred to “men” in a report as well. But all is not well at CBC. Last year they were caught advertising for a job that specified a male “any race except Caucasion” http://bit.ly/RHZI0s . And that’s only the tip of the iceberg

    Since I’ve been self-under-employed for 2 years now, I’ve had an opportunity to watch daytime news regularly. The CBC has 4 daytime shows : 6-9 AM, 9-12, 12-3PM, and 3 -5PM . They are all female anchors and, until recently, it was virtually all female reporters (a dozen on each show), female sports, female business news, female weather, etc. Usually even the interviewed guests are female. The only way this could happen is by official management policy to exclude males.

    Then a couple of weeks ago I turned on the news over breakfast, and saw a male guest stand-in anchor. I was shocked, it was the first time I saw a male anchor on CBC day news in two years. It made me stop and double check my eyes and ears. Then, barely a week later, there was a male reporter during the day. So that’s 2 males in one week, out of 20 episode and 200-300 live reporters during the week. In a country where 60-70% of the workforce is male, less than 1 % of the coverage is by males. I suspect that CBC is getting a little nervous about it’s blatant discrimination against males.

    From CBC’s diversity page “CBC/Radio-Canada is committed to reflecting the country’s diversity through its programming. All Canadians need to be able to recognize themselves on-air and know that its programs reflect the changing face of Canada on all platforms.” http://bit.ly/1hQKfC0

    I certainly have not recognized myself on CBC news.

  • http://batman-news.com MGTOW-man

    She is still a liberal feminist misandrist with wacky ideas formulated on idealistic, irrational, wish lists. Any time she is reporting, I watch something else.

    It is, however, good to know that she had the decency and honesty THIS TIME to say the word “men”…those horrible, patriarchal, oppressive, brutes who “hate” women EVERY time one of us has genuine concern for our species and its proper functioning, daring to scrutinize OUR world and 1/2 its inhabitants …especially if women will get less or not get their way all the time…we wouldn’t want women to think of anyone but themselves, right…regardless of the fallout, right?

    Thank you Jon, for not only thanking her but helping get the world out that it is MEN who die so much for this world so that selfish women can paint us as horrible, beasty cads.

    As much as I appreciate this, it is still the average men out there who we have to motivate to be as honest as we are here at AVfM. Change men, change the world.

  • Gerald Vrooman

    I am still not a Rachel Maddow fan, but JTO does have a point. When a woman does something nice we really should acknowledge it in the hope of encouraging more nice behavior. My vote for nice woman who deserves acknowledgement goes to none other than Miss America.


  • Grant

    exceptional… If you’re reading this Ms. Maddow know that we have gained respect for you!

  • http://womenandmenlivingtogether.blogspot.ca Joe Wilson

    Great article John

  • Iron Duke

    I listened to her segment. It’s not just her; the rescue efforts, the strife she describes, the surrounding of the PM’s car, shows people risking life and freedom on behalf of those men’s health and honor.

  • Justice4All

    Well done John. Doubt that I will ever be a fan of Maddow or MSNBC but good to have you call this out for us.

  • Xbillion

    There’s a clip that comes to mind of Maddow repeating the great “unequal pay”, “women earn..(what’s it supposed to be??) for every dollar a man makes” meme. BARF. Propagandist twit! But she’s a pretty sharp cookie and has a good tv news show -relatively good as compared to what else passes for news and journalism and political analysis on tv, yes indeed Maddow is pretty good. You needn’t agree with her and her bias to benefit from tuning in on occasion. Anyway it doesn’t surprise me actually to hear that she identified that the workers are male.

    • Graham Strouse

      The only time I’ve ever really hada an issue with Rachel was when she was buying into the pay gap woo. Otherwise I’ve always found her to be remarkably fair and even-handed.

      • Xbillion

        That pay gap myth will. not. die. It’s a potent, so very useful media meme and mere rational arguments and facts register weakly against it. White knights repeat it along with the feminists.

        But yea, Give credit where it’s due, Maddow does quality work and yes she is a liberal/progressive and even if you despise the liberals a person can be a liberal and do some quality reporting and analysis! Believe it or not! Chuckle.

  • Razedbywolvs

    The guy who wright the words on the teleprompter is surly going to lose his job.

  • Calming Influence

    “I wept.” “…my tears…” Christ, what a fucking cunt. You need a Costco size bottle of red pills, and even that might not be enough. Who the hell wants to hear about your fucking tears? Just say what you mean, pussy.