John McCain

Fake Outrage Watch

|

The good people at Newsbusters are gunning for Bill Maher after this exchange occured on his HBO show:

Maher: What about the people who got onto the Huffington Post – and these weren't even the bloggers, these were just the comments section – who said they, they expressed regret that the attack on Dick Cheney failed.

Joe Scarborough: Right

Maher: Now…

John Ridley: More than regret.

Maher: Well, what did they say?

Ridley: They said "We wish he would die." I mean, it was [unintelligable] hate language.

Barney Frank: They said the bomb was wasted. (laughter and applause)

Maher: That's a funny joke.

I sort of like the irony of Maher being mau-maued by something Barney Frank said just five years after he was mau-maued for something Dinesh D'Souza said. But this isn't fair. Frank was referring to an earlier (rather lame) subject the panel debated: Whether John McCain should have apologized for saying troops' lives in Iraq had been "wasted." Frank actually took the outrage machine's side, arguing that since military families don't need the stress of politicians saying their kids' lives were "wasted," McCain was right to walk it back. Maher, predictably, argued that since the Iraq war was probably lost, by definition the lives were wasted—and people had the right to say so. So when he joked about the Cheney not-assassination, Frank was making a funny reference to the argument they'd just put to bed; the schoolmarms at the MRC presumably know this, and are trying to puff up some outrage.

UPDATE: A Newsbuster e-mailed to point out that after this Maher said "I have zero doubt that if Dick Cheney was not in power, people wouldn't be dying needlessly tomorrow," and that this was the real meat of the Newsbusters post. Well, not really. Newbusters claims that Maher was "sorry the assassination attempt failed." He wasn't; he was finding the nugget of the controversy and nudging his guests to debate it. Maher's notion is that no debate should be out of bounds in American TV, which is pretty obvious if you've ever seen one of his shows. Why else would he repeatedly invite Ann Coulter on his show, a pundit liberals (and conservatives) have debated "shunning"?

Advertisement

NEXT: Weekend Open Thread

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Maher and Natalie Maines are cut from the same cloth. They have no set beliefs but say whatever they feel will get the biggest rise out of folks. Bill Maher likes to support whichever side will be the most contentious. Watching Dennis Miller is a much more profitable waste of time…as for mccain and frank, they are just political whores and should be ignored

  2. That Newsbusters place is full of nuts.

    Maher may not be “libertarian” as he says, but he is on the right side of a lot of issues that REAL Americans should agree with- particularly free speech. Newsbusters really do want to be China apparently.

    Frank is probably more libertarian than 99% of Repugs these days.

  3. Hell, I want Dick Cheney to die already, just like everyone els fucking admit it. The trick is for him to die of natural causes so there isn’t a reactionary explosion of violence.

    I hope he chokes on Pat Robertson’s protein shake.

  4. Maher is an asshole. I hope HBO finds him unprofitable.

  5. YOW! I read that as:
    “I hope he chokes on Pat Robertson’s protein snake.”

  6. Why is “We wish he would die” hate speech? Is “I wish Osama Bin Laden would die” hate speech, too? Cheney seems to be one of the main architects of America’s policy of lying, torture, going to war with the wrong country, and the resulting deaths of tens to hundreds of thousands of people. Who would likely still be alive had the US not thrown it’s weight around. All at a cost of hundreds of billions of dollars. Seems to me the idea of Cheney being blown up in a hostile region not hate, but justice.

  7. So now theres the image of Robertson preaching the Bible verse about “taking up serpents”…..geeez …..thanks sheky

  8. You can’t kill Cheney. Blowing him up would just set off a chain of events in Washington, culminating in someone saying, “Gentleman, we can rebuild him. We have the technology.”

  9. “Why is “We wish he would die” hate speech? Is “I wish Osama Bin Laden would die” hate speech, too? ”

    Holy Daily Kos, Batman!

  10. “Why else would he repeatedly invite Ann Coulter on his show”

    They’re friends. Seriously.

  11. Ann and Maher helped make each others careers.
    He would have her on the ABC show and she would make it watchable.

  12. If you don’t like it, don’t pay for it. It’s subscription TV. Personally, I like Real Time, think it’s funny, appreciate the provacative debate, and gladly pay my satellite subscription fees to HBO and Showtime each month to enjoy a whole host of content that offends many in the conservative right.

    And btw, when it comes to Showtime, a better show than Real Time is Penn & Teller’s Bullshit, and they induced a firestorm of sorts concerning their comments about Mother Teresa back in 2005 i believe. And Showtime completely expunged that episode from the record. is that what you want,even on pay TV, conservatives and liberal whiners getting content pulled.

    And Federal Dog is right, Bill Maher is that “one liberal friend” that Coulter has referred to as having.

  13. Bill Maher is the stupidest man in the history of the world. And it pains me to say this because I used to admire him and he still sometimes manages to crack me up.

    He lost me that one time on his show where Spike Lee was saying that the government blew up the damns in New Orleans on his show and Maher was treating it like respectable opinion. Tucker Carlson challenged them on it and almost got crucified by the moronic audience.

    All his opinions are of the paranoid, stupid, leftist, quasi intellectual variety and he treats them as if they are fact, that anybody who disagrees only does so because they have an imaginary friend in the sky.

  14. Bill Maher is the stupidest man in the history of the world.

    Holy hyperbole, Batman!

  15. Doesn’t “hate speech” refer to statements of hate for entire groups of people (ie, not individuals)? If I say, “I hate my next-door neighbor because his car alarm goes off whenever a squirrel farts within 500 feet of his car, and he’s never home to turn it off,” is that an instance of hate speech?

  16. The real question is, “Does Cheney give a crap?”

    Seriously, I’m sure Dick wants a lot of people to die (his enemies), and I doubt he cares if his enemies want him dead. Hell, he probably considers it a complement coming from them!

  17. holy crapass that site has some amazing comments!

    “bigtimer Says:
    March 3, 2007 – 16:30

    Chas,

    Unfortunatley, we can’t be sure they will just be Liberal Americans that are killed!

    I agree to a tee with your last sentence in the post as shown above, problem is they (the leftists) don’t think so, they think they are somehow special, have special rights…. the terrorists will love them to death!

    The fools!”

    he forgot to add the “muhahahahaha!”

  18. Remember that Maher, during the run-up to the Iraq war in 2002, was strongly pushing for American intervention. If he wants some accountability from those spreading the lies that led to the war, perhaps he should start with himself.

  19. If they’d just left Saddam in power, nobody would be dying needlessly in Iraq.

  20. kl,

    You may be more right than you realize. Who has benefitted from Saddam’s removal?

    The Iraqis are certainly no better off now than if Saddam had remained in power. Living under a murderous dictator sucks, but living in the middle of a civil war sucks even worse. I’m not sure of the number, but I suspect that the number of Iraqis killed in fighting since “Mission Accomplished” dwarfs the number killed by Saddam during his reign.

    The US? Saddam was an excellent counterweight to Iranian ambitions in the region. Now we’re shitting our pants trying to figure out how we can contain Iran once they start throwing their weight around.

    Iran? Now there’s a big winner, for the reasons given above. The only possible downside for them is that they’ve had to invest in a nuclear program for fear that they’re next on W’s list, and thus Iranians’ standard of living has not kept pace with the rising revenue from oil sales. This may come back to haunt them, but in the short-term, the Great Satan has done them a huge favor.

    I’m sure Rick Barton would posit another “winner”, but I’ll leave that argument to him…

  21. “I’m not sure of the number, but I suspect that the number of Iraqis killed in fighting since”

    Over his whole reign? Unlikely not. But I would certainly bet that less people would have died over these specific years.

    Saddam, when not boxed in, liked blood and death as much as anybody. Gassing the kurds, war with Iran, invading Kuwait (that was probably a mistake on his part). Saddam wasn’t just a murderous dictator, but a murderous dictator harboring expansionist ambitions. After Gulf War I, he was pretty much boxed in thereby limiting those ambitions.

    I guess if you felt like the situation with Iraq ca. 2001 could be maintained indefinitely, then you probably could have kept him (and his sons after him) boxed in. That situation (the one in 2001) certainly wasn’t great for Iraqis but then this one sure isn’t Disneyland.

    What the best thing is for the Iraqi people in such a “damend if you do, damned if you don’t” situation is hard to know, but then ultimately that’s why it’s best to stay out of their problems lest you make them your own as we have now.

  22. “Who has benefitted from Saddam’s removal?”

    Not Saddam! Executing duly elected world leaders who are beloved by their own people, I guess that’s what America is all about now.

  23. “Executing duly elected world leaders who are beloved by their own people, I guess that’s what America is all about now.”

    Now THAT’S funny.

  24. Since Cheney represents my country (no matter how inadequately), an attempt on his life is, in an indirect sense, an attack on me as an American. For this and other reasons, I *don’t* applaud the attack on him and I don’t like it that some Americans aplaud it

  25. It is true that it would save an awful lot of lives if Dick Cheney were killed.

    It is also true that (insert graphic description of treating my hemmhoroids here).

    Some things, even if true, should not be said in public, because they are in bad taste.

  26. JESUS IS COMING!

    (look busy)

  27. “It is true that it would save an awful lot of lives if Dick Cheney were killed.”

    not necessarily. it could have opened up enough calls for vengeance to make things worse in the short term.

  28. “Executing duly elected world leaders who are beloved by their own people, I guess that’s what America is all about now.”

    Since the Iraqis executed Saddam this statement has do validity.

    Neither does Mahers statement, “I have zero doubt that if Dick Cheney was not in power, people wouldn’t be dying needlessly tomorrow.” If Saddam were still in power his regimes would be killing people to maintain power. Does Maher find those deaths meaningful and necessary?

  29. “Who has benefited from Saddam’s removal?”

    Iran.

    Iraq is one of the few majority Shia Arab states. Iran’s influence in the Arab world has always been limited by the fact that no matter how much money they spend they are still Persian and not Arab and therefore should be regarded with suspicion and hostility. The installation of any sort a democratic system of government in Iraq essentially guarantees an Arab Shia state. An Arab Shia state helps increase Iranian influence in the middle east by giving an Arab rather than a Persian voice to the Shia.

    It was the height of ignorance by the current leaders of America including the Vice-President not to realize that any outcome of the invasion of Iraq would lead to a stronger Iran.

  30. It takes courage to pile onto Dick Cheney.
    And Jon Stewart’s Cheney/Penguin impersonation: comedy gold.
    I laugh and laugh.

  31. It is true that it would save an awful lot of lives if Dick Cheney were killed.

    Come again? Killing a VP with two years left in (well, next door to) the White House saves lives, how, exactly?

    As far as I know, Cheney never killed nobody, or even ordered anyone killed. Geez, even when Cheney shoots someone, they’re out giving press conferences a week later.

  32. “Killing a VP with two years left in (well, next door to) the White House saves lives, how, exactly?”

    It would make it much less likely that we’d start another idiotic war on false pretenses.

    “As far as I know, Cheney never killed nobody, or even ordered anyone killed.” Some of us hold public officials responsible for the outcomes of their actions in office.

  33. joe, you seem to be a little confused between the office of the Presidency and the Vice Presidency. It is the President who is the Commander in Chief, not the VP.

    It seems to me that the murder of the VP on Arab soil would increase, not decrease, the probability of escalated hostilities in the Mideast.

    But I suppose that would be Cheney’s fault, too, for getting in the bomb’s way.

  34. It was the height of ignorance by the current leaders of America including the Vice-President not to realize that any outcome of the invasion of Iraq would lead to a stronger Iran.

    But I thought Saddam’s Iraq was completely and permanently in the box, no threat to anyone, a land of happy kite-flying children and 99% approval ratings? How could such an Iraq have been any brake on Iran’s (completely legitimate, I’m sure) aspirations?

  35. “How could such an Iraq have been any brake on Iran’s (completely legitimate, I’m sure) aspirations?”

    Saddam’s Iraq was a secular Sunni reqime that kept its Shia Arab majority effectivly powerless. Removing Saddam and his cabal left a power vacuum to be filled by the Shia majority. A Shia Arab state has influence in the Arab world that a Shia Persian state does not have.

    The potential outcomes of a US invasion of Iraq were as follows:

    US defeat – A US defeat would have left Saddam in power and the US entirely to weak to do anything about Iran’s growing influence in the middle east or its actual nuclear program (as opposed to Saddam’s fictional one)

    Total US victory – In a total victory the US would have overseen a successful and peaceful transition to a stable democratic from of government. Of course since the Shia are a majority in Iraq the result would have beenm the creation of a state with a religious inclination to at least be friends with Iran. Saddam was many things, but friends with Iran was not one of them.

    Finally the last possibility is the mess we have now. In this turn of events Iran gets the best of both worlds. The US military has been essentially neutralized by the Iraq conflict and the unfinished Afgan situation. In addition, Iran is going to end up with a majority Shia ally in at least one of the two oil rich regions of Iraq.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.