Steve Kornacki has worked his way to the top of American political journalism. As a correspondent for NBC News and MSNBC, Kornacki has been at the center of some of the most important stories of our time, including the 2020 Presidential Election. Before covering this election, Kornacki hosted the weekend morning show Up with Steve Kornacki and was a co-host on MSNBC’s The Cycle. His MSNBC co-hosts speak highly of him; in an interview with Out Magazine, Rachel Maddow called him “the next big thing,” adding, “he can bring you from zero to 200 miles per hour in a very succinct amount of time, and in a super heroic way.”

Before making it on national television, though, Kornacki started smaller. Per his biography on MSNBC, Kornacki got his start in New Jersey, where he worked for three years as a political correspondent for News 12 New Jersey. In a Salon article, Kornacki referred to the job as “the break I’m still grateful for.” Reflecting on that experience, Kornacki said, “It was the perfect way to break into political journalism: My career was now on track.”

Aside from his personal success, though, Kornacki still had personal struggles to overcome. Though Kornacki described himself as “the All-American kid,” he had a secret he had to sort out for himself.

Steve Kornacki struggled to come to terms with his sexuality

In a piece for Salon, MSNBC host Steve Kornacki gave a very personal account of his coming out journey. He describes having a hard time rationalizing his sexuality as a kid growing up in Massachusetts, saying, “I didn’t fit the stereotypes of gay men… I fought it relentlessly.” Kornacki described to Out Magazine wanting to work in sports TV before deciding to enter political coverage, explaining, “The earliest thing I ever wanted to do was just be, like, the next Brent Musburger.”

Kornacki stayed closeted throughout college and through his first job in New Jersey, even keeping that part of his identity a secret well into his work in New York. “You may be wondering why I was so afraid. It’s 2011, after all, and I live in Manhattan, surrounded in social and professional settings by gay people,” he wrote on Salon. “But 17 years of fear and hang-ups can be hard for a person to shake.”

It wasn’t until these hang-ups cost him a relationship he really cared about that he decided to publicly own his identity. Of his coming out, he said, “This isn’t the start of some brand-new life… But now the fear and paranoia are gone. And my life can finally make sense to the people who matter to me.”

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