Free State Brewery will host a broadcast of MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show” today, the restaurant’s owner said.
Chuck Magerl, owner of Free State Brewery, 636 Mass., said he didn’t know why the show chose to film at the restaurant, except that it would feature an interview with someone from the region.
“We’re the site; they’re the show,” Magerl said.
The left-leaning political commentator has been focusing on former anti-abortion Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline’s ethics hearings in Topeka and has done numerous stories on the issue.
A spokeswoman for the show said in an e-mail that the show will also be following up on its coverage of Wichita abortion provider George Tiller’s murder.
At the brewery, much of today will be devoted to setting up for the show, said Magerl, who added that he learned about the show’s interest in the location on Tuesday afternoon.
“We know that it’s going to be a pretty hectic time,” he said.
Though the restaurant will remain open, Magerl said the company wasn’t using the show as a way to promote its business, and wasn’t seeking to have a large crowd for the occasion. The one-hour show airs at 8 p.m. on MSNBC.
“I think they’ll be disappointed,” he said of people who might show up and hope to be included.
The show’s taping also coincides with the brewery’s birthday. A promotion that gave discounts for the birthday parties of people who share the same birthday will also be valid on Thursday, the restaurant announced.
With all the activity surrounding Maddow’s presence, Wednesday promises to be an interesting day, he said.
“We’re certainly trying to make a good presentation of Kansas on the airwaves, and that’s what we hope to do,” Magerl said.
Update: Chuck Magerl, owner of Free State Brewery, submitted the following statement to LJWorld.com on Wednesday, Feb. 23, 2011:
I’ve received numerous questions regarding my decision to allow Free State Brewery to to be a site for MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow talk show. Ann Coulter has been our guest at Free State Brewery, Bill O’Reilly has not called yet. As the proprietor of Free State, I’m a strong Kansas Independent who may wince at the barbs that are tossed our way by self-congratulatory hipsters from the coasts, but I have abiding faith in our ability to sift through the rhetoric and find ways to show we care about what happens here.
Yesterday when a producer from MSNBC called to say they were doing a show in Kansas and wanted to bring it to downtown Lawrence, I gathered a few details, and promised to call back. Based on my faith in the handful of folks I sought out for references, I decided to grant them use of some space in our building to land their show. Would I do the same for Bill O’Reilly? Likely so, if he felt the news from Kansas was something that would engage the conscience of our people.
Perhaps it’s a character flaw of mine, but I see very few pure heroes and not many devils walking through Lawrence. Mainly I see regular folks who may have strong opinions and values, but they truly care about what they regard as right. I’ve been moved by words I’ve heard from a country lawyer in Clay County, a farmer in Pratt and a café owner in Mitchell County. And I have continuing faith in the efforts of Kansans to help shape a wise course for our future based on the discussions we foster.
Over the past 150 years, we’ve seen that it isn’t easy. And we’ve had more than our share of orators and pundits who have crafted their words to call us to action. The Free State movement and women’s suffrage have been successes, Prohibition not so much.
Should we choose to silence the journalists who expose our weaknesses, flaws and hypocrisy? If so, we’re suggesting that the way things are today is good enough. I’m still hoping for better. As much as I hate to hear criticism of my business, my community, my State or my Country, I know sifting through the critic’s words is the only way to prove faith in our greater future.