Bill Maher Sorry Rush Remains Alive, Media Silent
After Rush Death Wish, Maher Gets Free Pass
*** NEW: Cramer Says Radio Is Dead ***
Since when has it become okay to wish for the death of political rivals on national television? After Bill Maher's latest HBO meltdown, it's time to hold his feet to the fire. So far, however, that isn't happening.
On Friday's Real Time With Bill Maher, the host simply couldn't contain his hatred for Rush Limbaugh and the mere mention of El Rushbo's name triggered Maher's death wish outburst.
Maher has a history of bizarre episodes, including his Steve Irwin stingray- stab Halloween costume (seen left) and gay- baiting RNC officials without evidence to support his assertions.
Though NewsBusters and a few other conservative blogs highlighted this disgusting exchange in weekend postings, Maher has so far escaped any real heat.
From NB's transcript (follow link to watch the clip in question):
BILL MAHER, HOST: Why is it, I was asking Amy this, why is it that the Republican establishment, I guess it is, have so much disdain, not just for McCain, but for the other guy who's still in it...Huckabee? They don't like either one of them.
P.J. O'ROURKE, WRITER: Well, I think a couple of things are going on. It's the it's the twilight of the radio loud-mouth, you know? I knew it from the moment the fat guy…
MAHER: …You mean Rush Limbaugh and Sean..?
O'ROURKE: …from the moment the fat guy refused to share his drugs (audience laughter). I was, you know…he never called, he never wrote. I'm ready to party, you know, come on! No, I think it's kind of over for those people. So…
MAHER: Right, you mean the OxyContin that he was on?
O'ROURKE: Yeah, exactly. I mean, that stuff's good!
MAHER: Why couldn't, uh, why couldn't have he croaked from it instead of Heath Ledger? (small audience groans)
O'ROURKE: Yeah, yeah.
In response, National Review Online's Kathryn Jean Lopez said this:
My TV Question of the Day [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Why does anyone watch Bill Maher's show? Why would anyone go on it anymore? To wish someone dead because you disagree with him (or wish you were as effective and entertaining as him) seems an excellent reason to find something else to watch on Friday nights — and to find another way to get a first-class flight to Los Angeles.
Her first question is tough to answer, as the show is not terribly compelling. Who wants to hear Maher and liberal guests in constant agreement? Even worse, how appealing is it to see token "conservatives" join him, merely to end up looking foolish?
As to why anyone would appear on the show, especially from the right, perhaps they feel they can beat him at his own game (not bloody likely). Beyond that, it's probably about career advancement.
Responding to Lopez's questions was fellow NRO contributor Jonah Goldberg, who also happened to be a guest on Maher's program:
Kathryn - As you know, I basically agree with you. I thought Maher's comments about Limbaugh were grotesque. I regret not piping up about it, but this was supposed to be a segment solely with PJ O'Rourke and by that point in the show I'd reconciled myself to simply keeping a cool head (my wife is constantly telling me not to lose my temper on TV) and I was kind of expecting PJ to push back — but it turns out PJ and I don't see eye-to-eye on Limbaugh.
Regardless there was so much objectionable, absurd, or egregious b.s. flying around I just had to pick my targets. One thing I would like to know is what it says about Matthew Dowd (a perfectly likable fellow) that he eagerly signed up to work for Bush but now thinks the man's a moron. Makes you wonder about the guy's judgment, to say the least.
Jonah, your wife is wrong on this one, go ahead and lose your temper. And how does it matter how one feels about Rush and his views? Maher expressed regret that drugs didn't kill him. Next time, speak out of turn, jump up and yell, do whatever it takes to stand up against this kind of insanity.
If Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity or anyone else were to publicly wish for someone's death, the Media Matters / Soros crowd would be going nuts and launching a national campaign to remove that person from the airwaves.
On our side of the fence, we're not likely to go that far. But can we at least hold Maher accountable for his unacceptable outburst? Will we allow our political discourse to degenerate to Rwandan and Kenyan- like levels?
If the right can't get fired up about this, then what's the point of having a conservative movement? It's wrong to let this affront to human decency slide.
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