Howard Stern, Rachel Maddow [heart] NYT

Rachel Maddow appeared on Howard Stern’s Sirius XM radio show on Wednesday. (She successfully ducked his questions about her sex life.) Here’s the part of the interview where the two showed love for the New York Times and concern for the state of news reporting:

HOWARD STERN: The New York Times is the eighth wonder of the world, in my opinion.

RACHEL MADDOW: It is — it’s the gold standard.

STERN: So that’s the one you really have to read, right?

MADDOW: I read the New York Times first. But here’s the thing: the wire services, Washington Post, New York Times, Wall Street Journal — off the editorial page — the American newspaper reporting business is so impressive it’s unbelievable.

STERN: It is, it’s remarkable.

MADDOW: What I’m worried about with news is that we’re moving to all of these business models where nobody is paying reporters. Everybody’s paying people to comment on what reporters turn up, but nobody’s paying the reporters. So there have to be reporters, there have to be full-time editors. It’s got to be a professional gig, otherwise the rest of us who bloviate for a living are not going to have any facts on which to base our bloviation.

STERN: You make such a great point. the highest paid people in television news — like a Glenn Beck, O’Reilly or yourself — they commentate, they do commentary. Hardcore reporting is not well paid, right?

MADDOW: Right, and the number of jobs is shrinking all the time.

STERN: Because advertisers are scarce — the whole business model is falling apart.

MADDOW: The local news — local TV news and local newspapers — are not only the farm team for national news and national newspapers, but that’s where we get all our information. If something important happens in the country — somehere in Oklahoma, there’s got to be good reporters in Oklahoma who go cover it, who tell the rest of the country what’s happening there and if all of the local reporters get cut, we’re screwed.

Here’s how described her appearance:

Rachel Maddow stopped by to promote her new book, “Drift,” and Howard thanked her for the honor: “I admire your intelligence. I watch your show and go, ‘Gee, if I had that kind of intelligence, I wouldn’t have to be doing this.’” Howard also held up a surprising picture from Rachel’s high school yearbook: “She was the blonde beauty queen!” Rachel insisted it was a freak angle: “I actually just looked like this with long blonde hair…[but] I was cocky. I think I was a little bit of a jerk.”

Cocky, sure, but unaware, until she was 16 or 17, that she was a lesbian: “I [eventually] figured it out through rational deduction. I just decided that must be what it is.” The feelings were always there, just buried under fear: “You don’t put a name to it. You don’t think hard enough about it to understand what it is. … I was worried that I was going to have a hard life.”

Howard speculated that Rachel was a “gold star” lesbian (one who has never had sex with a man), but Rachel refused to answer: “I love that you’re intuiting this. You’re just getting this from my vibe?” Howard offered her his unique services — she could both sleep with him and keep her star: “I am like an inch and a half. … You would feel like you’re with another woman. I’m very sensitive.”

Howard mentioned Michelle Bachmann’s husband and his bizarre expertise in gay-to-straight conversion therapy, so Rachel laughed: “The comfort I take in that is they look ridiculous. They really look like–they look like a living, embarrassing artifact of a way that people used to think.” Rachel said the Republican party had gone a little nuts in the post-Bush era: “I don’t think they know who they are. But I don’t think they’ve gone nuts in a way that would make them [nominate] Rick Santorum.”

Asked about her Fox News competitors, Rachel admitted they regularly beat her in the cable news ratings–but the Cartoon Network reigns supreme: “We all get beat by Spongebob.” She even had kind things to say about the worst of them: “Rush is a propagandist for the Republican party and has brought it to an artform. … He changed AM radio to form it in his image.”

* Here’s everything that Maddow told Stern (her segment is low on the page)