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Marion On February - 13 - 2011

Living in the UK, I often say I’m five hours ahead and one day behind everyone else. Also, working a long day and catching up with news Stateside leaves me less time than I want to write about things I’ve read or seen.

I’ve only just caught up with watching Bill Maher’s Real Time from February 4th, and something Bill said on that program has stuck rigidly in my craw.

John Fund was a panelist that week, and the only Republican in a trio which included Rep Anthony Weiner from New York.

I would normally applaud Bill including Republican points-of-view in the program. I think it’s valid to hear the other side, even if one doesn’t agree with what they say. Although I’m normally pessimistic by nature, I sometimes come across a Republican/conservative who makes a good point – good enough to make me think. I also like to think that there are still reasonable and moderate Republicans somewhere out there, with whom the Democrats can cooperate in a civil and constructive fashion.

Conversely, I think the wingnuts need to be exposed for the fearmongerers that they are and for the irresponsible deceit they propagate. Therefore, a two-way discussion is always helpful.

I know there was a time when Bill moaned about being unable to attract viable Republican guests on his program, often bragging that they were afraid to appear, knowing that he would ask the questions others were afraid to ask, and that was true; but lately – at least since John Bolton’s last appearance in early 2010 – Bill’s been wont to give his Republican guests too much of a free and easy ride.

That Friday night, February 4th, as he took his place in the moderator’s seat, the first thing Bill did was apologise to John Fund, for his being the only Republican/conservative guest that evening and having to pit himself against two obvious Democrats on the panel. He went onto explain that they’d been recently trying to have at least two Republican guests on the show, but that particular week, they’d been unable to find a second.

That remark kick-started something in my brain. The previous week, Bill actually had a panel of three Republican/conservative guests, and thus far, this season, the Rightwing viewpoint has far out-weighed that of the Left. For too long on that program, anytime a Republican/Rightwinger (synonymous) appears, they dominate the discussion, interrupt, talk over others and are just generally rude.

And as for Bill, he either lets their comments ride or totally ignores them by cracking a bad joke.

At the beginning of the second half of the 2010 season, Andrew Breitbart was on the panel, along with Amy Holmes. This was fresh in the aftermath of the Shirley Sherrod escapade, but throughout the panel discussion, not a mention was made of either Sherrod or race in anyway … until Carl Sagan’s widow appeared as the mid-panel guest.

She was very quick off the mark to confront Breitbart about this incident. Breitbart almost stood up in his chair and quickly berated Bill, by reminding him that one of the pre-conditions to Breitbart’s appearance on the show was that there would be no mention of either Sherrod or racial issues. Bill mumbled a hasty agreement and moved onto the next topic.

W … T … F?

What happened to those questions other hosts were afraid to ask? And why did he feel it mete to apologise to John Fund for not being able to secure another Republican guest so Fund could feel good about safety in numbers?

Bill regularly complains about Obama’s “neediness” in pandering to the Republicans, ignorantly refusing to realise that, now that the House has a GOP majority – thanks in part to Bill’s reverse cheerleading efforts in convincing the lowest common denominator of the ueber Left that Obama was no different than Bush, that he was weak and a pussy – Obama has to reach agreement with this half of the bicameral legislature in order to govern effectively. He has that responsiblity, and so does the Speaker. And polls have shown increasingly that the voting public want to see compromise and cooperation, rather than stalemate and stagnation. Otherwise, why don’t we all go to hell in a handcart?

And whilst Bill complains about Obama’s pandering to the Right, he, himself, looks increasingly cosy in the company of such staunch Republicans as John Fund, Michael Steele and Darrell Issa. And this week, after regularly ranting against corporate welfare and the power and wealth of corporate power in the US, he bows from the waist to the Queen Mother of Corporate Media Whores, Whoreanna Fuckington, herself, with a softball interview which allowed her, not only to continue her abject participation in the Big Lie propagation concerning the President, but also to cherry-pick her chosen Messiah for the GOP Presidential nomination, John Huntsman.

Bill calls himself a Progressive, but he’s in favour of the death penalty, is anti-union in sentiment, doesn’t like federal funding of the National Endowment for the Arts, is virulently pro-Israel and has a fear of Islam and Muslims that’s almost palpable, considering his interview with Anderson Cooper last spring. All those sentiments sound pretty closet Republican to me.

Or maybe, since Whoreanna’s sold herself to the highest bidder and isn’t afraid to be photographed either clinching Newt or reclining comfortably into the arms of Darrell Issa, turning Right is now the fashionable thing to do for some dedicated followers of political fashion like Bill Maher.

Some would call it flip-flopping; others, hypocrisy. I say it’s chickens coming home to roost.

Categories: News & Politics, TV

19 Responses so far.

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  1. Itchybiscuit says:

    Thanks Marion. I too feel that sometimes I’m way behind the curve. Scotland isn’t exactly ‘out of the loop’ but I refuse to watch ‘clips’ of any show because -- as another commenter posited -- they cleave too closely to the ‘brand’ those shows want to project. I prefer my information presented in full and if possible, unedited. I also get what you’re saying about AH -- she seems to have gone back to her republican roots.

    Itchy.

  2. ghsts says:

    Wow, never really watched him enough to know, only was fed the clips via youtube and then usually only when he had Maddow or other guest I respected. Amazing how the clips that are “free” paint a picture only consistent with the brand.

  3. KQuark says:

    Marion I always enjoy reading your posts. While most people give Maher a pass just because he has the progressive label you give him no quarter. He’s also like the right wing in that he plays the “comedic entertainment” card whenever someone says he’s part of political commentary media. It’s the coward’s way out to avoid taking responsibility for what he says like the Limbaughs on the right.

    • Marion says:

      He is no Progressive.

      He is not carrying the meme that Obama is an atheist, openly doubting that the President’s declaration of his faith is dubious.

      First of all, I’m not a believer, and faith shouldn’t even enter into this situation at all. It’s unconstitutional, for a start; but I appreciate how and why Presidents and Prime Ministers have to pay lip service to religion.

      Be that as it may, this is a very pejorative stance for Bill to take, and deliberate. Too often too many people have believed the meme about Obama being a secret Muslim. What Bill’s promoting, cloaked in the coolness of the secular left, is aimed, again, at the same tranche of people who believe Obama follows Islam.

      What’s worse, for them, than a Muslim, but an atheist? And then, Bill doubts Obama’s stance on gay marriage.

      Look, I understand this is a seminal Presidency; and if he is cloaking himself in this language, I understand the reason why. It’s killing flies with honey instead of vinegar; and Bill’s deliberately fucking it up.

  4. KillgoreTrout says:

    I’ve always had mixed feelings about Maher. For the most part, I don’t care for him. He is very class conscious, chauvinistic and carries himself with a great deal of self importance.
    Sometimes he says things that I do agree with. Sometimes he makes me laugh. But let’s face it, he’s in it for the money. And when money is a person’s main motivation, genuine principles fall by the wayside.

    • Marion says:

      “He is very class conscious, chauvinistic and carries himself with a great deal of self importance.”

      All signs of low self-esteem. He has daddy issues as well. Watch how he surrounds himself with Irish men -- Chris Matthews, P J O’Rourke, Paul Begala …

  5. AdLib says:

    Wait until you see the latest episode with Arianna getting a spotlight interview at the neginning.

    Maher was practically crawling on the floor and praying to her. She tossed out one lie after another, one betrayal of her stated positions after another, she crowed about this further corporate takeover of the media…and Bill just nuzzled up to her.

    Not one question to challenge any of her obvious BS or her championing of corporate control of the media. Not one question about her claims that HP is not a political site and that she’s never been a maverick…er, Progressive. Not one probing question about her announcing that she might vote for a Republican for president in 2012.

    Maher looked like a starstruck rube in the presence of someone better than him. His kowtowing to wealth and power (and bragging that “his girl” was controlling content at AOL) was simply nauseating.

    Can’t wait to read your response to it.

    As for this trend of claiming “no labels”, it does seem like cover for the elitists on both sides to come to a consensus that their elevated position in society makes them have more in common with each other than the other 99% of Americans.

    • Marion says:

      I saw that, and I have the e-mail of Maher’s producer at RealTime, so if he ever makes one anti-corporatist remark in the future, I am going to slam her with that; because that interview made it so obvious that both of them are shameless corporatists.

      She almost choked giving credit to Obama’s handling of the Egyptiand situation, but then carried on the lies about the abandonment of the Middle Class.

      One thing I did note, every instance Bill brought up her newfound wealth, she squirmed -- especially when he mentioned the tax cuts. That she will vote Republican the next time is without a doubt -- she mentioned John Huntsman and then brought up the old chestnut of third parties -- and that worked just SO well the last time, didn’t it?

      I actually felt vindicated this week. I wish I had a dollar bill for the number of times Progressives have called me a liar and told me I was wrong about Fuckington. I knew exactly what she was, and what she’d always be. Mission accomplished -- she drove a wedge in the Left that’s almost irreparable. A Rovian ratfucker. That was her brief, and many bought it.

      The picture made public of her hugging Newt in August and the ever-so-comfortable party weekend with Issa in Vegas … true colours.

      What surprised me is how shallow the US media is in harbouring this woman as a bastion of the Left. She virtually admitted on that interview with Maher that she reinvents herself. Phony, much?

    • PatsyT says:

      AdLib,
      Watching all of that, I couldn’t help but think, he doesn’t need her, why is he doing this?
      He is so quick to smear President Obama for corporate involvement, where is all that fire power now?
      I would love to see a link posted here to all of the articles that Marion has on the Maher, Issa, Huffington, Britebart connection.
      They lay out a pattern that is being confirmed over and over again right before our eyes.

      • KQuark says:

        Corporate influence over the media is just as bad as corporate influence over pols. At least pols admit what they are but when you ask people like Aryanna about their corporate ties they duck the question and say they are really in entertainment media.

        Ah hem Aryanna last time I read on your sight it said Huffington Investigation Fund. Now I guess you’re gonna tell me the topics you choose to “investigate” have nothing to do with getting more ad money for your site.

      • Marion says:

        Arianna Huffington and Rupert Murdoch -- walking advertisements for more stringent immigration controls.

    • KB723 says:

      AdLib, I really think Arianna is going to ride this tide til’ the end. Funny to see her on Bill’s show, they are both one and the same.

  6. Parsifals says:

    As this Egyptian revolution has unfolded and now appears on the move, I am losing respect for more than Mr. Maher. Many of the seemingly progressive speakers on talk shows are showing their true colours when it comes to “might is right” jargon. Just listen to the Sunday talking-heads, and you get the notion that the US can and should influence Egypt’s call for democracy.

    It is beyond disheartening.

    And thanks for calling it out.

    • Marion says:

      I know Ka-TREEEEEEEE-na vanden Heuvel, who’d fumigate herself if she ever passed an Egyptian peasant in the street and doesn’t realise that the poor and working poor of the Midwest and rural South were once the base of the Democratic Party, is advocating that.

      Pardon me, but weren’t these the people the ones who blasted Bush for nation-building in Iraq and they want to do the same thing in Egypt?

      Tell you what I’d like to do -- in a purely fair and balanced way -- I’d like to overdose vanden Heuvel and Peggy Noonan on helium. Those dramatic, breathless drawn-out voices do my head in.

  7. choicelady says:

    Marion -- I’d say you may be five hours behind technically, but you’re ahead of the curve on all other fronts. I think you were the first to point out Maher’s nastiness and suspicious anti-progressive stances. So you have my thanks for your leading insights.

    I once, recently, totally agreed with a Republican. I’m in therapy for it, but he had a lot to say about California’s redevelopment commissions that was good from my point of view, condemning their direction of money to large corporations and not communities. A friend and I agreed that this probably means he’s not long for this political world. One other thoughtful Republican in the CA voted to raise taxes a couple of years ago, and the party mounted a swift, and while unsuccessful, effort to recall him that dogged him for months. The result -- he dropped out after one 2-year term, fed up with his own party. Those kinds of losses are what is tightening the party’s ultra-conservative philosophy. Moderate GOP officials are funning scared and then simply running away.

    It’s scary how doctrinaire the party is. The Dems suffer their Blue Dogs as manifestations of the voters who elected them, but the GOP demands -- and gets -- absolute conformity. It does make them powerful.

    When their power is reinforced by the media sycophants -- Breitbart would not “permit” dany discussion of the Sherrod affair???? And Maher agreed???? -- we have propaganda machines, not media. That is truly scary! Thanks for outing Maher once again. I’m seeing fewer and fewer real progressives anywhere in print or on the air, and it’s getting downright frightening.

  8. Redemption Song II says:

    Excellent observations…and, if I may, you write well.

    As for Bill, all I can say is that, unlike Olbermann, he knows who’s his daddy…and mommmy (apparently *smiles*).

  9. smit9187 says:

    Thank you for your timely thoughts. While I usually like Maher’s humor, he has turned me off with his Obama bashing. These people love money and they realize they make more if they can entice Republicans to come on their shows or websites; in Arianna’s case. She completely ruined a community by making it possible for all those nameless trolls to come there to spill their lies and venom. From what you described, I don’t get HBO, Maher is a suck-up.

  10. bastalready says:

    This is a good article. Maher takes himself a little too seriously and that ain’t at all funny.


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