HUH? Trump Demands ‘Equal Time’ from HBO for a ‘Woke’ Segment on Bill Maher’s Comedy Show

It doesn’t take much to get Donald Trump to lash out at some perceived injury to his massive yet fragile ego. The slightest criticism will send him into a furious tirade aimed at the perpetrator of what he always regards as an unwarranted offense. And it doesn’t matter if the offender is a political ally or foe. He is, in short, a world-class crybaby.

Click here to Tweet this article

Donald Trump, Wah

Trump exhibited this gaping character flaw again in a Saturday morning flurry of posts on his floundering Twitter ripoff, Truth Social. It’s something of a mystery what precisely triggered Trump’s tantrum. But then again, does there really need to be a reason for unbridled bellicosity when you are, in your own words, the “most fabulous whiner”?

SEE THIS: Victim-in-Chief: Trump is the most Cowardly, Whining, Crybaby to Ever Be President

Trump began by complaining about something he saw on Bill Maher’s “Real Time” program on HBO Friday night. As usual, he doesn’t actually cite specifically what it was that upset him. He merely flings some disembodied bawling over whatever hurt his tender feelings. He raged that…

“Bill Maher should be considered a ‘campaign contribution’ to the Democrat Party, even though he’s boring, and has really BAD ratings. HBO SHOULD BE FORCED TO PUT ON COUNTER PROGRAMING, AND SO SHOULD OTHER FAKE NEWS NETWORKS!”

It’s a good thing that most people don’t expect Trump to make any sense, because that comment doesn’t. If Maher’s show is boring and no one is watching, why would Trump care what he says. And wouldn’t the value of it as a campaign contribution be insignificant? Also, Maher, whose commentaries often lean heavily to the right, is hardly an asset to Democrats

More to the point, Trump’s demand for equal time reveals his ignorance of what that means. The equal time rule applies only to content on broadcast networks involving competing political candidates. HBO is not a broadcast network, and there was no preferential content regarding any competing candidates on the program. But Trump never lets reality intrude on his hissy fits.

The featured segment on Maher’s show was an interview of Elon Musk wherein they both embraced the lunacy of the “Woke Mind Virus” rhetoric espoused by right-wing crackpots. They fear-mongered about it as being an imminent threat to civilization, rather than the vacuous ambiguity that Trump’s MAGA cultists resort to whenever they need an argument against something that they can’t craft from facts, logic or reason.

Musk invented his own definition of it as “the suppression of free speech” and synonymous to “cancel culture.” For the record, it was originally used in Black communities to describe a state of awareness and consciousness of reality. So it’s no wonder that Trump and Republicans find it repugnant.

Trump waited a full eleven minutes before demonstrating what a thoroughly hypocritical clown he is. That’s how long it took him to come up with his following post wherein he babbled that…

“Tammy Bruce was GREAT last night subbing for Sean Hannity. Something special about her – She’s got what it takes!!!”

What? No demand for equal time on Fox News? No complaint about in-kind campaign contributions? Trump’s tunnel blindness to his own hypocrisy is impressive. While he seethes over the nonexistent political partisanship he imagined on Maher’s program, he has no awareness whatsoever of the flagrant bias on Fox News every hour of every day. In fact, he embraces it. Which is just further justification for dismissing his didactic diatribes. And why is he even watching Fox News? Weren’t they supposed to be boycotting it because they fired Tucker Carlson?

RELATED: A Post-Mortem on Tucker Carlson Following His Unusually Abrupt Departure From Fox News

Be sure to visit and follow News Corpse
on Twitter and Facebook and Instagram and Mastodon.

And check out my books on Amazon:

Fox Nation vs. Reality:
The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.

Thanks so much for your support.

Here are 8 Other Lucky People, Besides Omarosa, that Donald Trump has Called a ‘Low Life’

One of the most embarrassing things about having an emotionally stunted, narcissistic bully serving as president is having to endure his infantile outbursts whenever he feels he has been slighted. Donald Trump has absolutely no tolerance criticism, and his reaction will always be the one that most fully displays the pettiness of his alleged character.

Donald Trump

At his Bedminster, New Jersey golf resort on Saturday, Trump hung out with some of his biker pals instead of doing any of the work that might be expected of a president. Also at the event were some reporters who had the audacity to ask him questions. One of those reporters was Maggie Haberman of the “failing” New York Times (which just reported $24 million in profits). Referencing the new tell-all book by former White House staffer Omarosa Manigault Newman, she asked Trump “Do you feel betrayed by Omarosa?” He responded “Lowlife. She’s a lowlife.”

That’s a typical response from the childish Trump, who has made it a hallmark of his presidency to throw around dumb insults that lack any originality or creativity. In fact, this particular insult he had just used the same morning to attack Christopher Steele of the Steele Dossier fame:

Setting aside the numerous falsehoods and conspiracy theories embedded in that tweet, his pathetic attempt at trash talking was, sadly, the best he was capable of. As evidence of that there are his frequent other uses of the same language. He is simply too stupid to come up with any new thoughts.

For example, in the recent past Trump has called FBI officials James Comey and Andrew McCabe low lifes:

And Sen. Elizabeth Warren:

And Sen. Ted Cruz:

And Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter:

And conservative pundit Erick Erickson:

And New York Magazine editor and Daily Show head writer Dan Amira:

And comedian Bill Maher:

Let’s give him credit for at least one being right about Ted Cruz. But in general Trump is just lashing out like a toddler throwing a tantrum. It’s a display of puerile bluster that brings nothing but shame to the American people. But there’s nothing that he can do about it. After all, he said himself that:

It’s his nature. Let that sink in. And them remember that he’s our president. And when you’re finished retching, be sure to recommit yourself to doing everything that you possibly can to end this humiliating episode in the low life of America.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

Bill Maher Calls Republicans the Alex Jones Party – And Hannity Promptly Proves It

The trends have been taking shape for several years. The Republican Party began devolving into a conspiracy theory factory with crackpots like Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck setting the tone for its political messaging. They inspired GOP loons like Louis Gohmert and Michele Bachmann to contribute to the madness that has become what is now their mainstream ideology.

Sean Hannity Fox News

Stories that used to reside exclusively on the outer fringes of the wingnut blogosphere are now routinely elevated to the bastions of right wing media, including its headquarters, Fox News. Much of the responsibility for this lies with America’s Conspiracy-Theorist-in-Chief, Donald Trump. He has not only disseminated the ludicrous inventions of the right’s most psychotic losers, he runs his own blather lab to manufacture fresh drivel on a daily basis.

On Friday Bill Maher delivered a monologue that nicely presented the decline of the GOP’s collective mental failure (video below). He noted that “conspiracy theorists used to be called ‘crazy,’ now they’re called ‘Senator.'” He continued:

“It used to be the unwritten rule of both parties that you can’t just make sh*t up. The old ‘you’re entitled to your own opinion, but not your own facts’ thing. But that was until Republicans discovered that yes, yes you can just make sh*t up. You can have your own facts. In fact we just pulled a fresh batch out of the oven. And by the ‘oven’ I mean our ass.

“You know, I never liked Rush Limbaugh, but I would take a return to 90’s era dittoheads any day, because it turned out that Rush was really just a gateway drug to which they eventually built up a tolerance and then needed something stronger. That was Glenn Beck. Which led to Alex Jones. And now, Republicans, you’re the Alex Jones Party. There is literally nothing to stupid and conspiratorial that you will not swallow.”

If you think that Maher was just exaggerating for comic effect, you haven’t been watching enough of Sean Hannity. Because, also on Friday, Hannity announced that he had some “Great news for me tonight.” The news came from Hannity’s pal, Jerome Corsi, who also happens to be the Washington D.C. Bureau chief for Alex Jones’ Infowars. That’s right. The circle is complete. Corsi, who was the fruitcake responsible for the Swiftboat lies during John Kerry’s presidential campaign, told Hannity that he is “the next target of the Deep State.” Imagine Hannity’s surprise:

“Wow, isn’t it so great to know that these corrupt officials with their backs against the wall are desperate, desperate people do desperate things. The people that have the most powerful tools of intelligence are now going after me, okay? Really? […] I promise you this one thing: I’m never stopping, ever.”

Well, that’s comforting. The Energizer Bunny of Fox News will keep going and going. No matter what the “Deep State” does to bring him and his BFF Donald Trump down. Never mind that neither Hannity or Corsi identified any alleged deep-staters who were plotting against him, or how the plotters would execute their fiendish plans. Would they send commandos to storm his basement studio on Long Island? Or maybe poison his vape juice? Whatever. It’s enough to merely make the allegation that this mysterious (i.e. fake) Deep State cabal is holed up somewhere cooking up schemes to exterminate the fearsome Sean Hannity.

Apparently the Deep State has nothing better to do than threaten delusional, paranoid TV pundits. You might think that would distract them from their primary mission to destroy Trump and replace him with their Hillary Clinton lizard clone. But you underestimate the deepness of this secret society of Trump haters. They are everywhere, embedded in the very fabric of American life. They could be your boss, or your dry cleaner, or your daughter’s math teacher. And if you think that’s scary, whatever you do, don’t look in the mirror.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

Married to the Mob: Bill Maher Tells America What they Really Got with Donald Trump

The presidency of Donald Trump has been likened to some of the most horrible episodes of America’s past. Most frequently it is compared to Nixon’s Watergate scandal that saw the White House intimately involved in burglary, bribery, and election tampering. The lies told by members of the Nixon administration are what got most of the criminal convictions and, eventually, the resignation of the President. Sound familiar?

Bill Maher, Donald Trump

However, Bill Maher has hit on a much more accurate analogy for the Trump crime family. With particular emphasis on the “Family” part. In a segment on his “Real Time” program on HBO Friday night he painted a picture of Trump and Company as typical of the common thugs associated with the Mafia. It was an insightful – and hilarious – six and half minutes of bruising truth. He came out swinging with this depiction of the genesis of Trump (video below):

“New York City has to stop exporting its garbage to the rest of America […] The city’s most toxic trash has been carted off to Washington, D.C.” (with picture of Donald Trump, Michael Cohen, and Rudy Giuliani).

Maher goes on to describe these wondering New Yorkers as “What the heartland used to call ‘assholes.'” He wonders why the people from “real America” likes these guys now. Then he asks:

“How did the salt of the Earth people get hooked up with the salt in the wound people? […] You’re the ‘my word is my bond’ people. These guys lie just to stay in practice. You’re all about an honest day’s work. Trump watches TV until noon. You’re frugal. They spend like identity thieves who got a hold of your pin number. You’re stoic. Trump’s a whiny little bitch.”

Maher breaks it to the Trump cult that “Now you’re married to the mob. Cause that’s what this administration is: a protection racket.” Maher’s colorful comparison of the Trump Family to the Godfather was stinging in its precision. The corollaries are way to accurate to be ignored:

“Everything Trump does is modeled on the mob. When he was accused of sexual harassment, he brought in Bill Clinton’s accusers to sit in the gallery at the debate. Just like Michael Corleone brought Fat Pentangeli’s brother into court. Who does Trump surround himself with? Disposable lawyers and idiot members of his own family. Who’s his worst enemy? The FBI. Where does his money come from? He’s in construction. […] “What part of this isn’t mob-like? They’re using a front business – in this case the White House – to enrich the family.”

There’s someone else who has made the same link between Trump and the mob. Special counsel Robert Mueller has structured his investigative team much like the ones that went after prominent Mafia bosses. They are probing his relationships with unsavory characters (including Russians). They are digging into his bank records and phone calls. They have been successful in getting insiders to turn states evidence and may even have worn a wire into meetings with the Donald. Mueller’s inquiry follows the same strategies that he has actually used on crime bosses in the past.

Consequently, Trump should be worried. And judging by his frightened reaction to every new revelation, he is. All those tweets screaming little more than “Witch Hunt” and “Fake News” are the best evidence that he is fracturing from the inside out. And while it is a serious unfolding of a dreadful period in America’s history, at least we have a brilliant bit of comic relief by people like Bill Maher to help us get through it.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

Bill Maher Exposes Trump As A Giant Con: ‘It’s Beyond Politics, It’s About Sanity

Speculation about the mental health of Donald Trump is becoming a trending topic. Of course, many people have noticed his malignant narcissism and stifling paranoia for years. His fierce obsession with ego-driven trivialities seems to supersede the obligations of the job.

Bill Maher

The situation is so serious that bills are being drafted by both parties to provide for routine presidential psychiatric exams. It’s not a bad idea for any president, considering the pressures of the presidency. But with the election of Donald Trump it’s been elevated to a critical necessity.

Thursday night CNN aired a program with Van Jones interviewing Bill Maher (video below). The subject of Trump’s mental stability came up when an audience member asked this question:

“The President’s been in office barely three weeks. Why can’t you guys in the media and Hollywood give him some slack?”

First of all, on the day that President Obama was sworn into office in 2009, the Republican leader in the Senate declared that his top priority was to make him “a one-term president.” Shortly thereafter, Rush Limbaugh announced that he wanted Obama to fail. The hypocrisy of Trump supporters now begging for mercy while Trump is pissing on the Constitution, and stuffing his cabinet with racists and billionaires, is ludicrous.

But let’s get back to Maher’s response. He was justifiable surprised by the questioner’s naivete. He mocked the notion that Trump deserved any slack precisely because of “the things he’s said and done.” Then he explained in detail why Trump’s pretense of being for the “little man” is just “a giant con.”

“What does he do? He gets into office, the coal companies can dump sludge in the river. Because, you know, that’s what the ‘little man’ is aching for. Undoing Dodd-Frank. Because so many of the town halls in Appalachia, people were standing up and saying, ‘Mr. Trump, please get rid of the Volcker Rule. Because if I can’t make certain speculative investments, it’s killing us here!'”

And that’s just for starters. Our billionaire president doesn’t appear to have the slightest comprehension of life for average Americans. His promise to repeal ObamaCare will cause twenty million people to lose their health insurance. The Trump tax plan is weighted heavily in favor of his wealthy pals. Plus, estimates say that it will balloon the deficit by up to ten trillion dollars. He has already reversed a regulation that protected citizens from corrupt financial advisers. His education secretary is opposed to public schools. And he appointed an Environmental Protection Agency director who aspires to eliminate the department.

For these, and many other reasons, Maher made the astute observation that:

“It’s beyond politics, it’s about sanity. It’s about somebody who makes stuff up, who doesn’t read. His information is either anecdotal, or pulled out of his … behind.” […] “Of course we’re worried when the President sees multitudes that don’t exist. As in the illegal voting – three million. That should bother you.”

Indeed, it should bother every American. The President proudly lacks the knowledge required to perform his job. And what he lacks in experience, he makes worse by his determination to invent “alternative facts” that affirm his ignorance. His lying, temperamental outbursts, and vanity make him an existential threat to the welfare of the nation. A recent poll shows that, only three weeks into his term, the nation is split on whether to impeach him. The same poll notes that:

“The Presidency has been so diminished over the last 3 weeks that voters even say Saturday Night Live has more credibility than Trump, 48/43.”

So let’s set aside these preposterous pleadings for Trump to be given a chance. He’s had his chance and blown it on an epic scale. From here on out he must be judged on his actual performance. No wonder he and his staff are so worried.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

Watch Bill Maher Passionately Beg The Media To – ‘Do Your F**KING Job!’

In the waning days of this surreal election year, tempers are fraying beyond cognitive sustainability. For those with functioning brain stems, just the thought of Donald Trump as president is unfathomable. There is simply no sane explanation for this narcissistic wannabe dictator even being competitive in the race for leader of the free world. At least not without contorting the imagination into a bizarro glob of Silly Putty.

Bill Maher

No one knows this better than comedian and social observer Bill Maher. But the the strain is even beginning to show on him. In Friday’s episode of his HBO program Real Time, he is obviously at his breaking point with regard to the election and the media’s coverage of it. After noting some examples of the absurd obsession the press has for irrelevancies and false equivalence, Maher explodes. He stares directly into the camera and shouts “Media – Do your fucking job!”

That’s a sentiment that many have been expressing for more than a year. The American people watched with confusion as cable news surrendered their air to Trump’s rambling, racist diatribes. Hour after hour, Trump ranted incoherently with no balance from opposing candidates or the press. And as the campaign wore on, allegedly professional journalists treated Trump’s ignorance and hate-speech as if it were acceptable political discourse.

Maher addressed these failings with the sharpness of a properly jaded humorist. For example:

“The FBI says Americans should look out for terror attacks on Monday. They said they would do it, but they’re so busy with Hillary’s emails from 2009.”


“A terrorist attack – that would be such a nightmare scenario. To watch terrorists ruin our election after all the work Russia has put into doing that.”

Maher noted that “We have reached peak insanity.” What’s really troubling is that that may be an understatement. He also noticed the disturbing relationship between Trump and Russia that the media mostly ignores:

“Republicans are trying to elect a sexually assaulting psychopath who, if not a Russian agent, is unwittingly working as one. And people in America are saying “Well, it’s better than Hillary.” No it’s F**KING not!”

Watch the video below and rest in the knowledge that you are not alone. If you believe a candidate for president who aligns himself with hostile foreign nations is treasonous, you are not alone. If you are feeling overwhelmed by the unconscionable negligence of the media, you are not alone. After November 8, there will be time to recharge and then to focus on these problems. Hopefully we can have some impact before the next election. In the meantime…let’s laugh at our pain.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

Watch Bill Maher Let Loose On ‘Blatant, Bald-Assed Liar’ Bill O’Reilly

The heat is being turned up on pathological liar Bill O’Reilly and his enablers at Fox News. The numerous accounts of his deliberately falsifying his resume with self-aggrandizing tales of journalistic heroism continue to be the source of deserved criticism and ridicule. The latest dishonorable mention for O’Reilly comes from comedian Bill Maher, who was characteristically candid on his HBO program last night (video below).

Bill O'Reilly - Bill Maher

Please click here to SHARE this On Facebook

Maher was puzzled about the lack of attention that O’Reilly has received from much of the press for his obvious embellishments and outright lies about his experiences as a reporter. So Maher let O’Reilly’s own words bury him by merely reading the things that O’Reilly said that have been proven to be false.

“These are out-and-out lies. Now, I understand why Fox News backs him because they’re not really a news service. They’re like, ‘You expect the truth? That’s not what we do here.’ But why isn’t the mainstream media going after him with the same ferocity – the supposedly ‘liberal media’ – as they did to Brian Williams?”

Good question. At this point the evidence of O’Reilly’s dishonesty is overwhelming. His resorting to overt threats aimed at reporters covering the story is typical of his bullying tactics. His cowardly refusal to address the substance of the allegations proves that he has no defense other than to shout and stamp his feet and brag about his ratings.

Indeed, O’Reilly’s ratings are quite good for a cable news program. But that’s nothing to brag about when your product is unmitigated bullcrap. By failing to hold O’Reilly accountable, Fox News is embracing and condoning his moral and professional transgressions and conceding that their network proudly employs liars and engages in unabashed deception. It is an insult to their viewers who they presume will accept any heaping portion of steaming shitola that’s put in front of them. Well, on that note Fox may be right. After all, their viewers have been eating up O’Reilly and Sean Hannity and Sarah Palin and Donald Trump for years.

The mindset of Fox was perfectly framed by Maher’s conservative panelist, Genevieve Wood of the ultra-rightist Heritage Foundation. She excused Fox’s failure to sanction O’Reilly because, unlike Williams who acknowledged and apologized for his embellishments, O’Reilly stubbornly denies that he misrepresented anything in his past, the facts notwithstanding. In a state of severe delusional panic, Wood said…

“Fox is going to defend him as long as he’s saying ‘I did what I said I did,’ and nobody else is really able to challenge it.”

Huh? Everybody else is able to challenge it. And it isn’t just people who have different recollections of the distant past. There are contemporaneous videos and tape recordings of O’Reilly himself that contradict his present day mythologies about his grand adventures. But Wood’s justification neatly fits the Fox view of news. They regard it as a mutable commodity that can be molded to whatever serves their agenda. And Fox will indeed continue to defend O’Reilly because he is doing what they pay him to do – which is to lie.

Consequently, it is time that the rest of the media acknowledge that Fox is not in any way, shape, or form a news enterprise. They are purveyors of propaganda and disseminaters of deception. They have no journalistic principles or respect for their audience. They are comfortable with liars like O’Reilly because lying doesn’t violate their standards, it upholds them. And for those who say that O’Reilly’s malfeasance is different than Williams’ because O’Reilly is an opinion commentator and not a journalist, they need to remember that he was, in fact, a journalist when he did the things about which he is lying today. Also, when discussing factual events there is no exemption from truth-telling for opinion commentators.

Finally, for those who say that catching Fox News lying isn’t newsworthy because everyone knows they do it, that is a cop-out. It remains the obligation of legitimate news operations to report the sort of serious departures from the truth that O’Reilly has demonstrated. And any news organization that condones such dishonesty must not be treated as a credible news source. The media cannot continue to pretend that Fox has anything to do with news.

News Corpse Presents: The ALL NEW 2nd volume of
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

Damn – It’s Getting Hard To Keep Up With The Crazy On Fox Nation

In attempting to monitor the outrageous bias and relentless dissemination of propaganda that appears on the Fox News web site, Fox Nation, sometimes the burden is overwhelming. The editors at Fox Nation are just too fast and too furiously committed to their mission of deceiving their glassy-eyed readers, that keeping up becomes an Olympian task.

Just yesterday the stream of craziness was so intense that I am forced to compile them all here in abridged form.

Let’s begin with the most repulsive and unsubstantiated item. The Fox Nationalists post things like this fairly often just to keep the impression of a lawless administration active in the minds of their readers.

Fox Nation Totalitarianism

Next up, an absurd an irrelevant item about a man that President Obama met only twice in his life, as a child. But if Fox can make a connection about him to the President, even if the allegation is tenuous, they will jump at the opportunity.

Fox Nation - Obama's Soviet Father

There actually is no enemies list as referenced in this headline. The article is about an FEC complaint filed by the Obama campaign to force Karl Rove’s blatantly political PAC to be treated under the law as any other PAC. Which means that they would have to disclose their donors. Arguing against this is to advocate to maintain a system that permits secretive billionaires to buy elections.

Fox Nation Enemies List

After disingenuously complaining about intimidation tactics in the item above, the Fox Nationalists persist in their intimidation campaign against Media Matters. With no new news whatsoever, Fox & Friends devotes yet another segment to slandering the group and its founder David Brock.

Fox Nation - Media Matters

This one is pretty funny. The Fox Nationalists post an item taking Bill Maher to task for making a comedic animal reference with regard to the Republican Party. And in doing so they call him a pig (as they have done many times before). Also note the comment that is typical of the Fox Nation community whenever the opportunity arises to hurl a racist insult at the President.

Fox Nation - GOP Apes

And we’ll close with my personal favorite. The Fox Nationalists posted this item asserting that Obama is not the only president to have been interrupted by reporters in the middle of an address. However, the video they offer as proof shows Reagan being interrupted only after he finished his prepared remarks and was turning the podium over to someone else.

Fox Nation Reagan Interruptus

Bear with me, folks. I’m trying to keep up. but it isn’t easy. The Fox Nation editors are masters of deception and they have abundant resources. They are also a closely guarded secret. Unlike every other news enterprise, Fox will not reveal who is responsible for the content on Fox Nation. They have no masthead and have ignored inquiries as to the identity of their staff. I suspect it’s a class of remedial 13 year olds at an evangelical reeducation camp in the basement of News Corp headquarters.

Bill Maher Misfires On Free Speech

In an op-ed for the New York Times, Bill Maher addressed the ongoing controversy over civility (or the lack thereof) by public figures in broadcasting, entertainment, and politics. As might be expected, the comedian had a few prime punchlines dispersed throughout the piece that essentially argued in favor of offensive speech. For instance:

“The right side of America is mad at President Obama because he hugged the late Derrick Bell, a law professor who believed we live in a racist country, 22 years ago; the left side of America is mad at Rush Limbaugh for seemingly proving him right.”

The article began by correctly pointing out that a joke by Robert De Niro about whether the country was ready for a white first lady was wholly non-offensive and any umbrage taken was purposefully faked by people who “pretend to be outraged about nothing.” But, unfortunately, Maher went further to propose what he thinks would be an appropriate response to actual hate speech:

“If you see or hear something you don’t like in the media, just go on with your life. Turn the page or flip the dial or pick up your roll of quarters and leave the booth.”

Maher’s position seems to be that free speech is exercised only by the first person to speak. If that person says something that offends someone else, the obligation of the offendee is to clam up and walk away. I couldn’t disagree more.

Free speech is a right granted to everyone, and the exercise of it is not limited to whoever gets to the microphone first. Responding to the comments of others with whom you disagree is still protected speech and is a part of the great tradition of open discourse in America. If Rush Limbaugh calls a law student a slut, it is entirely appropriate for people offended by that to respond, criticize, and even engage in protests and boycotts. The same is true for those offended by Maher. That is not censorship – it is the complete realization of the meaning of the First Amendment.

In short, you have the right to speak freely. But you do not have the right to be free from criticism for anything stupid that comes out when doing so.

Maher closes his article by saying that he doesn’t “want to live in a country where no one ever says anything that offends anyone.” Neither do I. But I also don’t want to live in a country where no ever talks back when people incite racial division, or lie about important public policies, or insult civic-minded women and other citizens who only seek to participate in the affairs of their communities.

As usual, the pimply-faced editors at the Fox Nation continue to demonstrate their most juvenile tendencies by, once again, referring to Maher with an insulting epithet: Pig Maher Calls for Truce. First of all, Maher did not call for a truce. In fact, he called for continuing to use controversial language but advising people not to get upset about it. Secondly, isn’t it cute the way the Fox Nationalists use a story about toning down uncivil rhetoric by using uncivil rhetoric in their headline? And these people want to be regarded as legitimate “news.”

Fox Nation - Bill Maher

The Free Market Speaks: 98 Advertisers Ditch Rush Limbaugh – And More

The fallout from Rush Limbaugh’s attacks on Sandra Fluke is growing exponentially. Reports to date have shown that advertisers are responding to the public revulsion of a political heavyweight battering a private citizen who was exercising her right to free speech. The latest accounting of bailing advertisers was reported by Radio-Info via an internal memo they acquired from Limbaugh’s syndicator:

“Premiere Networks is circulating a list of 98 advertisers who want to avoid ‘environments likely to stir negative sentiments.’ The list includes carmakers (Ford, GM, Toyota), insurance companies (Allstate, Geico, Prudential, State Farm) and restaurants (McDonald’s, Subway).”

However, the memo made news of a different sort when it addressed specifics regarding which programs represent the negative environments to which it alluded. The memo continues:

“To all Traffic Managers: The information below applies to your Premiere Radio Networks commercial inventory. More than 350 different advertisers sponsor the programs and services provided to your station on a barter basis. Like advertisers that purchase commercials on your radio station from your sales staff, our sponsors communicate specific rotations, daypart preferences and advertising environments they prefer… They’ve specifically asked that you schedule their commercials in dayparts or programs free of content that you know are deemed to be offensive or controversial (for example, Mark Levin, Rush Limbaugh, Tom Leykis, Michael Savage, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity).”

What this means is that the advertiser exodus will not be limited to just Limbaugh. Equally offensive radio bloviators like Beck and Hannity and Savage are going to see their ad placements, and revenue, decline.

In anticipation of the professional apologists and distracters, I would like to note that nobody’s First Amendment rights are being violated here. The government is not mandating any restriction of speech. Advertisers are freely deciding what is in the best interests of their businesses.

Conservatives are supposed to support free markets. Well, here’s their chance. If Limbaugh et al want their advertisers back, all they have to do is refrain from their overt incivility and slander. They don’t have to change their political beliefs or prejudices. And if that’s too much to ask, they can take their programs to venues that will support them without a dependence on commercial markets that must answer to their customers.

And for those who think that there is a moral equivalence between Limbaugh and Bill Maher, I would like to note that Maher is a comedian. He has a history of harsh satire directed at people across the political spectrum, including President Obama. That said, I personally don’t approve of racism or misogyny, even as a joke. But I do recognize the difference between a comedian and a political operative. Limbaugh has been an avowed advocate for Republicans and conservatism for decades. Maher has been an equal opportunity basher and satirist. While I would like to see the political discourse in this country become more civil and substantive, I would not impose those same standards for civility on people like Maher or George Carlin or Dennis Miller. Or for that matter John Rich or the Dixie Chicks. The arts have a unique role in expressing a broad range of opinion from a personal, creative perspective. Artists are expected to inspire, challenge, and even shock from time to time. Politicians and pundits are expected to inform, persuade and, hopefully unite.

It is also important to recognize that Maher’s offenses were always directed at public figures who had the resources and media access to defend themselves (i.e. Sarah Palin), while Limbaugh takes aim at people without such advantages. Where could Sandra Fluke ever reach 20 million people a day the way Limbaugh does? On MSNBC?

The beating that Limbaugh is taking at the hands of his advertisers is entirely deserved. And if conservatives want to cancel their subscriptions to HBO to protest Maher, then by all means go for it. If the final result is a more elevated discussion of the issues that impact us all as citizens, then it will have been worth it.