Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) - October 2, 2019

"A week previously, Maher appeared on MSNBC’s flagship breakfast show, Morning Joe(9/12/19), where he claimed that the Democrats’ left-wing (i.e., Bernie Sanders) was a “cancer” destroying the party, warning that the left is “scarier and crazier than Trump,” and nominating a leftist as its presidential candidate would spell disaster in the next election. (Decrying the supposed unelectability of the left is a favorite pastime of elite pundits—FAIR.org,2/26/19,7/2/19,8/21/19.)"

Bill Maher rose from being an “edgy,” opinionated comedian to becoming one of the most influential and recognizable faces in our media. His political talk show, Real Time With Bill Maher, has been on HBO since 2003, spanning 17 seasons with over 500 episodes to date. Real Time continues to be one of the most popular shows on cable TV, drawing in more than 4 million viewers per episode, according to a new New York Timesinterview (9/30/19), which frames him as a straight-shooting satirist on an “antihypocrisy crusade,” with Maher presenting himself as the voice of liberals across the country fed up with PC culture. Certainly, he has a legion of dedicated, primarily Democrat-voting Baby Boomer and Generation X fans, who take seriously his every pronouncement.

That is why his latest outbursts are noteworthy. On the September 20 edition of Real Time, he condemned the Democrats for reviving their opposition to Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, claiming that continuing to “go after a guy for what he did in high school” “looks bad.” He implied that Democrats lost seats in the Senate for their “preposterous” opposition to what Kavanaugh did when he was just 17 (which, for the record, was multiple alleged attempted rapes or sexual assaults).

Media almost unanimously present Maher as a “liberal” (e.g. Salon, 10/11/14, 9/21/19; USA Today, 7/8/18; New York Post, 6/29/19) or even a “progressive” (The Hill, 2/2/17) comedian. Yet any inspection of his political positions dispels this illusion. To be sure, he generally supported President Barack Obama and opposes Donald Trump (although he has been known to do the opposite of both). But he also has a long history of repeatedly taking reactionary positions on many subjects, especially war. ...
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