Bill Maher Is Very Wrong on Limbaugh

Maher on Real Time last night:

“I don’t like it that people are made to disappear when they say something, or people try to make them disappear when they say something you don’t like. That’s America. Sometimes you’re made to feel uncomfortable, okay?”

He doesn't get it and it pisses me off when otherwise smart people fail to get the goddamn picture. Condensed to the most concise explanation possible: Limbaugh influences the law. And the misogynistic paleoconservative laws that Republicans are passing -- with Limbaugh's endorsement and constant cheerleading -- are hurting women in profound ways.

Additionally, Limbaugh uses the public airwaves and we have a right to hold accountable anyone who borrows our property. Limbaugh's long history has reached a tipping point and it's time for accountability for language that hurts women (and minorities, etc, etc).

You're smarter than this, Bill.

  • margietalks

    There are plenty of folks saying things and not disappearing… like that hate church that marches at soldier’s funerals, and paparazzi taking hedious pictures of the private lives of well known, American citizens, and lots of other radio shows that same lame stuff. I think Americans allow a lot of dumb stuff to exist in our society because we do value freedom of speech. I think that in this age of social media connections, the public has a little more power to speak up when someone goes over the line. We do not owe Rush Limbaugh a living. We have a right to boycott – it’s freedom of speech for us. Bill can whine all he wants to about the public being fair to those who say things that make them uncomfortable. Maybe we’re tired of these clowns just trying to get a rise out of us while they muddy the waters of what is really happening in America.

  • RD

    Limbaugh is revolting. He is a voice for the sordid constituents of our society.
    That he exists is appalling.
    That advertisers finance his ranting is disappointing.
    But silencing him is the sort of thing he would do to his opposition.
    There are other voices to counter what he says. If he cannot speak, neither can they.
    Maher is right.

    • No one is silencing him…he can continue broadcasting. He just has to find sponsors that don’t care about the hatred he spews. Maher is wrong.

  • jmby

    He reminds me of the embarassingly juvenile teenager who takes contrary, unpopular and, frankly, stupid stances just to be “individual” or “free” or “real” or some such idiotic shit. It’s forgiveable in a 17-year-old. Not so much someone in his fifties with what should be a deeper understanding of acts and consequences. His better-than-thou schtick is tiresome.

    • Glad I’m not the only one who feels this way. I like Maher sometimes, but sometimes he really bothers me. I loathed the movie Religulous for exactly that reason (and not just because I’m Catholic)

  • eljefejeff

    This has to be Maher’s attitude, it’s self-serving for him. He takes A LOT of shit from people, and he has to believe that in America, he has complete freedom of speech. He DID say no one should listen to Limpdick because he’s a fucking idiot, but not just because he’s offensive. Personally, I think putting pressure on companies to drop advertisements is great, because it’s another exercise in free speech and assembly, which can be used to combat dangerous speech such as Rush’s, which is protected by the 1st amendment

  • Victor_the_Crab

    I don’t think Bill Maher is smarter than that. That jackhole has been saying on his last two Real Time shows that Mitt Romney could actually beat Barack Obama this November, without looking at the latest polls or even reaizing that Obama has yet to go into campaign mode. He really thinks the average American is mouth drooling, short bus riding, paste eating stupid. Bill Maher is a dumb prickhole.

    • eljefejeff

      Bill Maher is great, I love his show. We can disagree on that. But he’s right….if you think the election is over, we’re in trouble. Don’t be content just because Obama is up in the polls. Gas prices are a huge issue. What happens if Israel attacks Iran? Or if things get worse in Afghanistan, or the economy takes a downturn. Yes if the election were held today, Obama would destroy. But we have 8 months to go.

      • ranger11

        Yes, but Mitt really is a stiff prick and I don’t mean that in a good way. He’s one of the weakest nominees in American history.

  • ElderlyDem

    As others have noted here, Bill Maher is defending Rush’s “rights” as a Broadcaster. The right to remain on the air, with substantial sponsorship dollars. Is Bill concerned about ad drops/cancellation, which happened to Politically Correct with Bill Maher?

    Let’s remember the special end-of-show segment on PC in the late 90s: Strange Bedfellows. Arianna Huffington and Al Franken in pajamas, in an enormous bed, chatting about the Clintons, Newt Gingrich, and all manner of “controversies.”

    Look at these three people as they are today: Al keeps it real in the U.S. Senate. Arianna is the 1% and still straddling the center. Bill defends Rush’s right to spew GOP hate, because Sponsors. Because Advertisers.

    False Equivalence with a bullet, Bill. Top of the Crazy Charts.

    Liberal voices do speak liberal thoughts in the media, but the owners and producers of that media are decidedly conservative and profit-driven. So controversy = ratings = profits, but take our notes and don’t take it too far, Mr. Topical Comedian.

    All these years later, Bill Maher tours the U.S. between tapings, as a stand up act based on the show. He’s Arianna with a penis, corporate sponsors, and better jokes. Good luck with that.

  • skylights

    I feel the same way about his sympathy for the anti-innoculation people. If you’re going to be pro-science, you have to be pro-science all the way, not anti-science when it fits your biases. Same goes for libertarians who claim to adhere to science but reject it when it goes against their anti-government fundamentalist worldview.

  • Interesting that all these ‘free speech’ warriors on the right so upset at the flack Rushbo is receiving are all cheering the cancellation of Louis CK from the Correspondent’s dinner due to his jokes about Sarah Palin. The hypocrisy is deafening.

  • missliberties

    Maher sounds good sometimes, but he really isn’t very deep. Being cynical doesn’t substitute for intelligence but can be sometimes considered humorous.

    Maher is wrong here. Rush has an enormous platform and is the defacto leader of the GOP. Maher is just a tiny drip by comparison to Rush’s reach.

  • holyreality

    As a Bill Maher fan, I agreed when he said he was different because he has no sponsors.

    This 180 turn and condemning boycotts is defending Rush’s sponsor money.

    What are you doing Bill?

  • Chachizel

    I too am a Maher fan, but I too disagree with him on this 1000%. He’s wrong, plain and simple, but I did love his video on Mississippi, and his closing statement on Santorums anti-intellectualism. There’s very few people that I agree with ALL the time, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Bob and Ashby come close, but I even disagree with then from time to time. Isn’t America great….sometimes

  • mrbrink

    Totally agree, Bob.

    And Bill Maher is diminishing the spirit of the boycott and the power of consumer protest, as well. Maybe the last line of defense in a culture that sees money as free speech. Rush Limbaugh is a propaganda tool for right wing corporate America. An asshole’s asshole. Bill Maher is essentially defending corporate speech and calling it “free.”

    Limbaugh can always stand on the street corner and spout his views all he wants. If people don’t like what they’re hearing, they pull their support. That’s democracy. If people like what they’re hearing, they’re more than welcome to prop up that hate-spewing gluttonous blob. Good luck, advertisers. That’s how the free market is supposed to operate. But Limbaugh operates outside of these principles he claims to represent, like all GOP frauds on both ends of the corporate welfare pimps & prostitutes dynamic, taxpayer dollars go to subsidize Rush Limbaugh. And if there’s nobody left to advertise on his program, he’s operating on something other than democracy, or free market principles. He is living a lie.

    Bill Maher is conflating free speech rights– with free speech privileges.

    Rush Limbaugh’s right to earn a living with his speech does not protect him from my right to boycott his advertisers for his speech. They can either have Rush Limbaugh or they can have my dollars. They can’t have both. The market is speaking. People are speaking. Money is speaking.

    Bill Maher is dancing with one ugly fucking corpse.

  • Huge Maher fan, too.

    Remember watching last night and also being very irritated at Bill’s “take/defense” et al re: Limpballs.

    Dam, Bill. Your wires are crossed on this.

  • muselet

    hypnoladyl beat me to this, but I’ll say it anyway.

    You’re smarter than this, Bill.

    I’m not sure he is.

    Either Bill Maher is—as Patience said of Mal*—”just not that bright” and doesn’t see what’s wrong with his defense of Rush Limbaugh, or he honestly thinks of himself as a provocateur rather than as an entertainer or political commentator or whatever it is his audience thinks he is (in which case, he’s not very good at his job, and he’s just not that bright).

    This isn’t the first time Maher has said dumb things on the air and it won’t be the last.


    * Yes, I’m a nerd. What’s it to ya?

  • Rush Limbaugh has the right to say whatever he wants. Correspondingly, every one of us has the right to let any given company know that there is a big gap between That Which Appears In Their Mission Statement and That Which They Are Endorsing With Their Advertising Dollars. Should said given company then decide, “Hey, these consumers are correct: we actually *don’t* endorse a hateful multi-millionaire with a microphone slandering a private citizen in the most heinous of sexual terms for three days in a row” and pull its advertising?

    That’s not censorship: it’s PR housekeeping, and all strong companies with strong brands must do it or perish.

    Live by the dollar, die by the dollar. Maher knows this. His knee-jerk contrarian/libertarian gremlins are getting the better of him.

  • Again, Maher is wrong on Limbaugh since he spent three days slandering and sexually harassing a private citizen. If you told a coworker to post videos of herself having sex, you wouldn’t have that job tomorrow.

    But I’m with Maher on his larger point. I don’t like when people throw temper tantrums and try to get Grand Theft Auto removed from stores, Silent Night Deadly Night removed from theaters, or Cop Killer removed from radio. You do not have a right to never be made uncomfortable, nor do you have a right to not be offended.

    Again, just so we’re clear since every time I post something like this, I’m accused of defending Limbaugh: I TOTALLY disagree with Maher about Limbaugh. And I do think sponsor boycotts are a worthwhile way to fight a $400 million empire that was built thanks to the reckless deregulation of the broadcast industry.

    • Razor, you’re absolutely right, but you’ve just explained that you’re in OPPOSITION of Maher’s larger point. He called it “sponsor intimidation.” This wasn’t a call for sponsors to pull their ads because they found the ads offensive. It was a response to their customer base bringing to their attention that they’re advertising on a hate radio program.

      So in that sense, Maher is wrong on both counts.

      And yes, I agree with you about products that “offend” others. If you don’t like it, don’t buy it. If you don’t like a TV show, don’t watch it, etc.

  • Nefercat

    I believe Bill is very wrong on this. Where on earth have people gotten the idea that everyone has the right to say whatever they want without having to suffer any adverse consequences whatsoever?

    Slander is wrong. Libel is wrong. Shouting fire in a crowded theater is wrong. Limbaugh used the public airwaves to launch a three-day attack on someone. He did not just condemn her views, which he had a right to do. He lied about what she said, what she believed, and about how she lived her life. Millions of people out there firmly believe the lies he spewed.

    As long as the government doesn’t show up to arrest him, or take down his website or forbid him from broadcasting, he has all the first amendment rights he’s entitled to.

    We the people have just as much right to try to influence his advertisers regarding the possible economic consequences to them of advertising on his show as he has to try to influence people to support his point of view.

  • Draxiar – I couldn’t have said it any better myself in as many words. “Freedom of speech” goes both ways. Nobody’s sending Rush to jail because of what he said…but if he happens to lose money in the process, well, tough shit. Because the freedom doesn’t say “freedom of speech with no consequences whatsoever”. You’re free to say whatever the hell you want to, but that doesn’t mean you get to keep your job.

    • This is how the free market works, right? The people decide what they like and what they don’t like. And if they complain to businesses about advertising on Limbaugh’s show and in return, the businesses respond with withdrawal of their advertising dollars for fear of a loss of customers (and revenue), then in this situation, the free market has worked perfectly. Ron Paul should be proud.

      • Maher said he thinks that this is an abuse of the market…which I think is BS. If customers refuse to buy from those advertisers and they decide to pull their ads that is EXACTLY how it is supposed to work.

        • Abuse of the market? Come on. They can advertise on whatever shows they want to. If the show they advertise on leads to bad PR because of an incident, they are in every right to withdraw. That’s not an abuse of power…it’s just business.

          Believe me, I’ve been watching a lot of Mad Men lately 😉

  • hypnoladyl

    I disagree he is not smarter than this. He may have intelligence but without empathy or compassion all the mental abilities in the world won’t help him understand how wrong he is. I am sick of his glib sarcasam and his lack of humanity. Women are feeling degraded, humilated not uncomfortable.

  • Maher’s only saying this because he often says stupid shit and he does not want to be in the same situation like he was after he said it was cowardly for Clinton to go after OBL with cruise missiles. Of course after that we so that had the mission Clinton authorized been successful we may not have had a war longer than a decade.

  • Maher is absolutely wrong on this. The problem is that he can’t personally separate himself from the situation and look at it objectively because the same thing happened to Maher with his Politically Incorrect show on ABC. And yet, when he was interviewed on the Marc Maron podcast, he said he totally understood why it happened and had no resentment, so I don’t know where the disconnect lies.

    I happen to think this is much worse than the Maher incident because Maher expressed an opinion that people didn’t like, while Limbaugh spent three full days attacking/slandering Fluke and completely lied about her testimony.

    • In addition, Maher is a comedian and Limbaugh is not. We give quite a lot of leeway to comedians. Limbaugh is a radio talk show host that informs millions of people every day and is powerful enough to have national politicians kowtow to him. And as Bob points out, his perspective gets repeated ad nauseum and does result in very real policies and legislative initiatives. Does anything Maher proposes or says get pushed by politicians? Do pelicans kowtow to him. No and no.

  • Vic78

    Bill Maher’s a hack and his personal integrity leaves much to be desired. That would justify him defending Rush.

  • JimTreacher

    “It’s different because I hate him!”

  • caribbeanobserver

    There are two contrary folks that I often wonder about,one is Bill Maher and the other Andrew Sullivan. Sometimes their comments leave much to be desired in terms of sensibilities(hey,I guess that could apply to a helluva lot of folks in ‘their Ammurikka,right?).
    So what is being put forth is that folks have no accountability..because of a)first amendment and the fact of people being made to feel uncomfortable ! I guess that sort of suggests that ‘of colour folks’ will just have to feel uncomfortable every day for the rest of time, huh?

  • Draxiar

    I’m a big Maher fan. I disagree with him on this too.

    Rush is free to say anything he wants on the air…yes, that’s America. With that freedom comes accountability (something the right accuses the left of not having I might add). If Rush’s sponsers (well, now former sponsers) want to freely condemn him for what he says by pulling their advetising and consequently catapult him into the netherdust then they are also free to do so. If Rush’s career is subsequently destroyed by that, so fucking be it. He can pull himself up by his bootstraps and find another career like so many other Americans are trying to do right now.