Last month Vanity Fair reported that the top brass at the NY Times had decided not to allow any of its reporters to appear on highly partisan shows like Rachel Maddow or Don Lemon. Since then, Don Lemon responded by claiming his show isn’t liberal. That’s laughable coming from the guy who said he couldn’t possibly bring himself to shake the president’s hand.

Lemon’s claim was laughable enough but it’s hard to imagine Rachel Maddow making the same claim with a straight face. Instead, she seems to be trying a different tack to win back the approval of the NY Times. She’s going to praise them until they feel compelled to support her in return. From Fox News:

Maddow — and occasional fill-in hosts — have mentioned the New York Times at least a whopping 41 times on her show since May 30, when Vanity Fair reported that the paper wanted its reporters to stay far away from far-left and far-right programs. That included Maddow’s, because it was too liberal, even for the paper that is often considered left-leaning itself. The staggering 41 mentions over only 13 episodes does not include guests, who have also evoked the Times on “The Rachel Maddow Show.”

Maddow’s obsession to make nice with the Gray Lady reached new heights on Monday night, when she mentioned the paper 18 times in one hour. While Maddow has promoted the paper at every turn, her boss, MSNBC president Phil Griffin, has reportedly been busy trying to rekindle the relationship himself.

Griffin spent a prolonged lunch with New York Times executive editor Dean Baquet following the Vanity Fair bombshell, attempting to hash things out, to no avail. Times reporters have not yet returned to “Maddow.”

DePauw University professor Jeffrey McCall told Fox News, “Maddow likely wants to stay visible in front of the New York Times hierarchy in hopes they will at some point reverse course.” I think that was pretty much Lloyd Dobler’s motivation in Say Anything. Can you picture Maddow standing outside the Times’ building in New York holding a boom box over her head that is playing Peter Gabriel’s ‘In Your Eyes.’ There’s nothing quite as bittersweet as unrequited love.

I wonder if this attempt to win back the Times might have also played into NBC’s decision to give her a slot co-moderating the first Dem debate. Maybe if she can come off as thoughtful and not terribly partisan she’ll impress someone at the Times and all will be forgiven.

Maddow’s problem is that it’s hard to claim you’re not a far-left conspiracy theorist after you’ve devoted two years of your program nearly every night to the Russia collusion story. Of course, if Dean Baquet is serious about having the Times regain some semblance of its own credibility, he should rule Maddow off limits for good. At this point, with her ratings down sharply, it seems she needs the Times far more than the Times needs her.