The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

11 February 2008

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.

ELSEWHERE: Move America Forward is providing updates from its street protest in Berkeley today

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  • Yuk yuk! Maher and his angry liberal ilk don't do very well at comedy, because they're bitter, not funny. This is why few listen to Air America - they're bitter, not entertaining. They're bitter because they can't understand why their worldview doesn't hold sway with more people. In post-Vietnam libs, this leads to infantile outbursts, which further alienates all but the left's bitter choir.

    What are Maher's ratings like? Does HBO keep him on as part of the package because they can sell him as 'edgy'? (Remember, those 9-11 hijackers weren't cowards!) There's a difference between edgy and lame. Edgy is thought-provoking. Lame is bitter infantilism. Maybe no one calls Maher on the carpet because they don't take him seriously. And besides, to the self-righteous left, he may be embarrassing, but he's one of them. The end justifies the means! Keep hope alive! May 'shrub' break out in hives!! Haliburton!! Abu Ghraib!! AAAARGHHHHH!!!!!

    And what the ~hell~ was Goldberg thinking? That Maher's audience was going to buy his book? Sheesh. He'd be better off being named "worst person" on Keith Overbite's yukfest.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11 February, 2008 15:47  

  • Didn't your friend Michael Savage recently say that Barack Obama is going to be assasinated, should he get the nomination? Just saying...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11 February, 2008 15:57  

  • I'm sure PJ O'Rourke was on his show trying to sell a book. What I don't understand is why he thought anyone who watches that crap can read.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11 February, 2008 16:33  

  • What shocked me was that P.J. O'Rourke just responded with a pathetic "yeah, yeah." The hell?

    I once considered him one of the great conservative writers - has he pulled some sort of Huffington stunt lately to go over to the dark side for that sweet moonbat money?

    By Blogger Fatmouse, at 11 February, 2008 17:10  

  • Malmo, I hadn't heard about the Savage comment, so I will assume you quoted him correctly. That said, there is a vast difference between offering an opinion about what you think some racist a-hole might do should a black man be elected President (a possibility, in fact, that reportedly troubled Gen. Powell's wife enough for her to discourage him from running for office) and someone saying "I wish this other person would have died."

    If Iran develops nuclear weapons I think it's likely they will use them against Israel, but me saying so is no where near the same as saying I wish they would.

    By Blogger submandave, at 11 February, 2008 17:35  

  • As for why anyone from the right would go on the show, it seems that they loose nothing in the eyes of the audience, which is already assumed to rabidly agree with Maher, but gain publicity and support from pundits on the right in based upon the over-the-top attacks, lies and rudeness visited upon them. And they get Maher and other leftists to pay them for it.

    By Blogger submandave, at 11 February, 2008 17:37  

  • HEY, I AM fired up about Maher's comment!!!!!!! I am MAD AS HELL and DON't want to take it anymore....I live in Southern California...but what can I do???????????? We conservatives need to find a TRUE LEADER in addition to Rush to start making some noise. Lets get busy. Any ideas?????

    By Blogger Tiger, at 11 February, 2008 17:39  

  • "Didn't your friend Michael Savage recently say that Barack Obama is going to be assasinated, should he get the nomination? Just saying..."

    DId he say he hopes he gets assassinated, or did he predict that he would be assassinated? Very different things.

    As for Maher's comment - it's a poor, tasteless joke from a 3rd rate comedian. Who cares?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11 February, 2008 18:22  

  • I totally agree with Maher.
    I'd rather see H. Ledger be alive instead of a fat liar...

    By Blogger sashal, at 11 February, 2008 18:25  

  • By Malmö_Blue, at 11 February, 2008 15:57

    "Didn't your friend Michael Savage recently say that Barack Obama is going to be assasinated, should he get the nomination? Just saying..."

    Just saying what? You don't know the difference between a prediction and a wish?

    Anyway, Savage is an a*s... not my friend. I bet half his listers are leftists who tune in to be outraged at what 'the right' thinks.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11 February, 2008 18:52  

  • Isn't it ironic that the champions of tolerance - the people who earn their keep by painting the right as hateful, mean-spirited people - actually wish death on people who don't agree with them.

    * Randi Rhodes jokes about Mittheads going on a killing spree

    * Bill Maher - Sorry the Assassination Attempt on Dick Cheney Failed

    * Air America Host 'Jokingly' Calls for Bush Hit

    To anyone who reads so-called "progressive opinions" this is not a surprise. Behind every compassionate liberal is an undercurrent of fascism. They are comforted by a biased and complicit press, and know they can't win on the playing field of ideas - so, advocating death is their only viable option.

    For once, Maher's audience didn't clap like the mindless lemmings they are. So maybe they're not as dumb as I think! Oh, who am I kidding - of course they are!

    By Blogger The Benson Report, at 11 February, 2008 19:58  

  • "Anyway, Savage is an a*s... not my friend. I bet half his listers are leftists who tune in to be outraged at what 'the right' thinks."

    I'd say it's his entire steady audience. If he wanted a conservative audience then he wouldn't be working in San Fransisco.

    All of which Malmo Blue is probably smart enough to know, he's just messing with you.

    By Blogger Cincinnatus, at 11 February, 2008 20:14  

  • First, this liberal would be happy to discuss ideas with you right-wingers, but as usual the hard-line conservative ideas are not applicable in today's political climate.
    Second, as for Maher's comments, if you cannot discern satire from an actual death-wish, then you need to loosen your tie a little bit and lighten up. Rush has been advocating death towards the Clintons for years, he has made unsubstantiated claims against many liberals, and non-liberals, most could get him sued for libel, if anyone actually took him seriously.
    Lastly, if you don't like Maher, why do you watch him? I cannot stand that idiot Sean Hannity, I dont listen to him. DUH!!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11 February, 2008 20:32  

  • Is it politically correct to wish for the death of Maher?

    By Blogger sykes.1, at 11 February, 2008 21:40  

  • "Didn't your friend Michael Savage recently say that Barack Obama is going to be assasinated, should he get the nomination? Just saying..."

    If he did say it (and a quick google search turns up nothing) he was probably quoting far-left author Doris Lessing.

    By Blogger pst314, at 11 February, 2008 22:11  

  • Wishing death on someone? Maybe Bill Maher needs a dose of the Christian charity that he so despises.

    By Blogger pst314, at 11 February, 2008 22:12  

  • When Coulter said we should kill Muslims who refused to become Christian, does that count?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11 February, 2008 23:06  

  • My low expectations for Maher means none of this is surprising. I am disappointed with O'Rourke. Pandering to Maher's audience with insults and slurs towards Rush isn't very impressive.

    The benson report's post above got it right. The left is intolerant of its opponents and just can't keep it hidden.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11 February, 2008 23:36  

  • I grew up loving O'Rourke's stuff, and still do, mostly because he's wise enough not to pretend retroactive virginity for conservatism. But, do you really want to play this game?

    Coulter: "We need somebody to put rat poisoning in Justice Stevens's creme brulee. That's just a joke, for you in the media."

    Coulter again: "My only regret with Timothy McVeigh is he did not go to the New York Times building."

    O'Reilly: "I just wish Katrina had only hit the United Nations building, nothing else, just had flooded them out, and I wouldn't have rescued them."

    Last but not least, the aggrieved El Rushbo: "You know who deserves a posthumous Medal of Honor? James Earl Ray [the confessed assassin of Martin Luther King]. We miss you, James. Godspeed."

    Yeah, all sourced and available via google or wikiquote.

    By Blogger Unknown, at 12 February, 2008 02:23  

  • Jonah missed a wonderful opportunity for a riposte. For example:

    Isn't it true that you support abortion?

    Well, it's a shame YOU were not aborted. The world would be a far better place!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12 February, 2008 03:17  

  • If Maher is a 3rd rate comic, how come he sells out every show when he tours? The fact is he's one of the most successful stand-up comics of all time, but the right has never let the facts get in the way of a good tantrum.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12 February, 2008 13:38  

  • Fouro's claimed quote of Limbaugh: "You know who deserves a posthumous Medal of Honor? James Earl Ray..." which he claims "all sourced and available via google..." is not. Seems to be a fabricated quote.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12 February, 2008 14:17  

  • The only time Maher's foul mouth ever did any good was when he had those 9/11 truthers (liars) thrown out on their butts.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12 February, 2008 22:44  

  • There's no way Rush said that. No way. Not only is that not the kind of thing he would say, he would have been crucified by the MSM.

    Maybe, maybe he would say he would quote someone else who said it. But that would make your comment kind of misleading, wouldn't it?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 13 February, 2008 03:13  

  • Rush quote here, Google Books, 101 People Who are Really Screwing up America, p. 232:

    I don't own the book and therefore don't have the cite/date/venue from its footnotes but presume it's publisher, Nation Books, especially because of their leaning, wouldn't want to be caught literally fabricating quotes. (Selective editing and elipses tricks? Sure, just like Coulter and everybody else.)

    Come on, it's Rush, the guy who tells callers to "get the bone out your nose," and says women, already married ones even, really want teh uninvited man-love: "Some of these babes, I’m telling you, like the sexual harassment crowd. They’re out there protesting what they actually wish would happen to them sometimes." [4/26/04]

    As I said, this is a low percentage game for conservatives, better just to walk away.

    By Blogger Unknown, at 13 February, 2008 14:21  

  • Well, the right wing has never been known to have much a sense of humor anyway.

    Look who's their icon funnyman now. A post 9/11, peeing in his pants with fear Dennis Miller. I'm sure it plays well at right wing think tank fundraisers but to a general audience? i miss the Dennis Miller who was fearless. Maybe when he regrows a pair he'll be funny again. But, in the mean time, his shaking/peeing rhetoric is perfect for the humorless right.

    By Blogger Dave Carroll, at 13 February, 2008 14:51  

  • The Right Wing can dish it out but can't take it.

    Rush Limbaugh has done far worse to America than Bill Maher could ever accomplish in this life, so stop.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 13 February, 2008 17:49  

  • Hey, what about his big Catholic/Pope screw up this week??? The guy was raised a Catholic. HBO should dump him the way Imus was dumped. Or are the feelings of Catholics not as important as African-American basketball women??? Come on. Political satire is great, Colbert and Steward do it so well. This guy is a 2-bit idiot and should be shut up now.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 18 April, 2008 07:38  

  • is in full swing! This may actually get somewhere for a change. I think America is finally saying they've had enough of Bill Mahr's hate speech and bigotry. We'll see if HBO listens this time. Hundreds are canceling HBO in days so far.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 21 April, 2008 01:52  

  • In the past, Rush has said that drug addicts should be locked away. Yet when he is found to be an addict, he walked away. He went in to seclusion long enough for the story to lose it's steam and then resurfaced as a more humbled, not-as-loud mouth. What hypocrites you guys are that back him!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 18 April, 2009 06:31  

  • lol. i dont think its unreasonable to wish a death like that. when im sure rush has said that about many people including obama. bill maher might be a crazy liberal, but this country was built by crazy liberals. dont you know your history? i love bill maher for many reasons but mostly now its cause social conservatives (the crazy liberals from the lefts point of view) hate him. so to all of u bill haters out there, just remember hes on cable for a reason cause regular tv is for morons, thats why its free and full of dumbasses like oreilly and beck who make shit up

    By Blogger Unknown, at 07 June, 2009 12:22  

  • Yes I agree that wishing one person's death is horrible......even if that person's banter is dedicated to killing an entire political party...and to tell the world "I hope this president fails" is indirectly treasonous. If you want it to fail you will do anything to aid that failure. So in other words, Rust Limpballs will do anything in his power to deter the highest elected official in the country. Treason anyone?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 27 August, 2009 17:02  

  • you cons crack me up, get back to me when rush stops making fun of people with parkinsons and calling 12 year old girls dogs. Or calling the president the "magic negro" drop dead cons

    By Blogger BennyAnders, at 25 October, 2009 19:50  

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