Rachel Maddow breaks down in tears while trying to read latest family separation news.

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.

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.

Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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When "bobcat" trended on Twitter this week, no one anticipated the unreal series of events they were about to witness. The bizarre bobcat encounter was captured on a security cam video and...well...you just have to see it. (Read the following description if you want to be prepared, or skip down to the video if you want to be surprised. I promise, it's a wild ride either way.)

In a North Carolina neighborhood that looks like a present-day Pleasantville, a man carries a cup of coffee and a plate of brownies out to his car. "Good mornin!" he calls cheerfully to a neighbor jogging by. As he sets his coffee cup on the hood of the car, he says, "I need to wash my car." Well, shucks. His wife enters the camera frame on the other side of the car.

So far, it's just about the most classic modern Americana scene imaginable. And then...

A horrifying "rrrrawwwww!" Blood-curdling screaming. Running. Panic. The man abandons the brownies, races to his wife's side of the car, then emerges with an animal in his hands. He holds the creature up like Rafiki holding up Simba, then yells in its face, "Oh my god! It's a bobcat! Oh my god!"

Then he hucks the bobcat across the yard with all his might.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
True

Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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