MSNBC's Rachel Maddow normally shows her human side with informed outrage or her witty sense of humor.
But the normally stoic news host had to break away during her most recent show while talking about the family separation policy.
At the end of her June 19 show, Maddow was just like any number of countless people responding with a gut check to the heartbreaking news that "babies and other young children" are reportedly being separated from their parents and taken to so-called "tender care" facilities in Texas after their families were detained while attempting to cross the border from Mexico into the U.S.
Image via MSNBC/YouTube.
"This is incredible," Maddow said at the start of her report before trailing off for a few seconds. "Trump administration officials have been sending babies and other children—" she began again before she audibly got a lump in her throat as the emotional impact of what she was reading hit her.
"Hold on," she said, waving a finger to the camera as she tried to compose herself before being overwhelmed with emotion.
After a few more tries of reading the breaking news, a visibly shaken Maddow simply couldn't get the words out, saying, "Think I'm going to have to hand this off." The screen cut to her colleague Lawrence O'Donnell, who himself look surprised and moved by her reaction.
Maddow's reaction captured the pain, shock, and disbelief so many are feeling as more and more details about Trump's "zero tolerance" immigration policy emerge.
Shortly after her show aired, Maddow jumped onto Twitter where she addressed the moment in a series of tweets, apologizing repeatedly and posting the full text of the report she had been trying to read.
Ugh, I'm sorry. If nothing else, it is my job to actually be able to speak while I'm on TV. What I was trying to… https://t.co/0xL06bdflZ— Rachel Maddow MSNBC (@Rachel Maddow MSNBC)1529460966.0
But many Twitter users, rather than be offended in any way, were quick to respond with love and support, telling her things like "you rock" and reminding her to "never apologize for showing your humanity."
And it's true — Maddow didn't need to apologize for having human reactions while attempting to process tragic events in real time. Other famous figures like Walter Cronkite and President Barack Obama have had similar moments where their typically stoic demeanor cracked. It's a sign of humanity, not weakness.
Journalists are here to inform us, but they're also human beings. And sometimes their honest reactions are part of the story.
This wasn't a performance or a grab at views. Maddow was hit by the very real weight of what's happening at the southern border of her country — our country. The steady stream of heartbreaking news is shocking and painful. It's appropriate for even the most composed media personalities to struggle while reconciling that, on live television no less.
Maddow's break is evidence that the news of what's happening reaches far beyond partisan politics or views on immigration and into the realm of universal human outrage over an undeniable tragedy.
Facts are great. But when the facts are horrific, sometimes unfiltered reaction is the truest delivery of the news.