This may be even dumber than the “someday both sides will do it” idiocy that Betty Cracker found:
David Axelrod’s moral-equivalence argument that Limbaugh’s smear is worse than Maher’s because the former is both more influential and more identifiable with Republican circles is a sad sort of sophistry. Limbaugh may have a larger audience, but I suspect if you googled “Rush Limbaugh” and compared it to “Bill Maher,” the so-called hits would be about the same, given the latter’s ability, through political profanity and contrived P.T. Barnum–like antics, to find enormous publicity and influence beyond what his mediocre talents as a comedian might otherwise earn.
Why didn’t he just type “bill maher” and “rush limbaugh” into google?
What’s that quote from? Is it from Cohen’s column again?
Googling “Rush Limbaugh” yields 32,200,000 hits.
Googling “Bill Maher” yields 14,500,000 hits.
So they’re pretty much the same, give or take 18 million.
Who is the quote from? Link please.
Another difference is that it’s free to listen to Limbaugh, but you have to pay for cable to hear Maher.
VD Hanson on The Corner
Jim, Foolish Literalist
“so-called hits”? That’s up there with “it’s not a dump truck!” Cohen whose third grade teacher thought he was an Algonquin-worthy wit?
I share the ambivalence of many on the left about Maher. He has issues with gender and race that go beyond a comedian’s desire to be provocative (“politically incorrect”), and he’s often shockingly ill-informed and shallow. And I have no idea what point he and Alexandra Pelosi think they’re making. But I must have missed the part where he was an honorary member of the ’07 Dem congress, or when politicians appear to kiss his ring. Bitter Clintonite Ed Rendell (I coulda been a Ambassadah!) was taking up the give-the-million-back cudgel on Friday. Dems not only bring knives to gun fights, they get scolded by their own co-belligerents for encouraging violence when they do.
Mr Stagger Lee
A democrat politician can rip Bill Maher and not pay for it. Try being a republican and rip Rush.
Weird. I get 74 million hits for “Rush Limbaugh” and 14.5 million for “Bill Maher.”
Well, when it comes to Sad Sophistry you won’t find a more applicable example than this.
If you put quotes around each name, it’s 74M vs. 14M.
I suggest a cage fight between the wingnut and the libertarian
Steve M just posted about this too (and actually provides some information to go with the quote).
I get your results when I use quotes and his when I don’t.
I thought quotes narrowed the search.
Was going to guess Kathleen Parker, but she was taking a different tack today–same general topic with a heaping helping of “boff sides do it.”
Until Rush is off Armed Forces Network and behind a paywall at Sirius/XM, he will have far more reach and pull than Maher. By far.
Oh, and Alexandra Pelosi is a real dick. What she did and said on Maher was reprehensible. Her mother needs to take her out back and slap the limousine liberal out of her.
@Laertes: If I’m signed into Google, I get 11.4 million for Rush Limbaugh, and 15.2 million for Bill Maher. If I’m not signed into Google, I get 225 million for Rush Limbaugh and 15.2 million for Bill Maher.
So the new media rule is that Dem SuperPACs have to return donor money from folks who say or do objectionable things? I’m OK with that as long as the media applies it equitably; it will hurt the GOP a heck of a lot more.
Are any media personalities yet demanding for Foster Friess’ or Sheldon Adelsons’ money to be returned over their statements, or for the Koch’s massive donations to be returned over their Iran dealings?
Ah, the right’s go-to guy for higher order sophistry.
@cathyx: In fact, Maher isn’t on Armed Services Radio.
It’s should be really simple for any Dem who’s asked about it, simply say:
“When you can show me a Democratic politician that has apologized to Maher for criticizing him, show me when Maher was made an honorary member of Congress, when you can find anyone who thinks he is the head of the liberal/progressive movement, we’ll talk about Bill Maher. Until then, he’s a comedian who says offensive things sometimes.”
Obama did actually “raise his voice” for Palin.
In fact, Obama defended Palin’s pregnant daughter, by comparing her to his own mother.
But I guess I can’t expect WaPo columnists that make the big bucks to recall that HUGE political brouhaha.
These people are dishonest, because no one could be this stupid.
DougJ, Head of Infidelity
Sorry, I forgot the original link. It’s added in now.
All these attempts from the right, to obfuscate the issue, are inane and offensive. Maher wasn’t arguing for three days that Palin was an actual walking talking twat – pink and moist. He was cursing her. Maher is a potty mouth.
Limbaugh was saying that Fluke was a whore, a girl who wanted money for sex. He made up false statements (“I’m having so much sex I can’t pay for it. Please pay me to have sex”) and attributed them to her. Fluke is not a well known public figure and Limbaugh’s audience had no way of knowing whether she might have actually said what Limbaugh claimed she did say.
There’s no equivalence, whatsoever.
I agree that Maher can be a dick on occasion, but one thing that no one seems to mention in the comparisons to Limbaugh is that Maher actually lost a show as a result of some comments he made. Politically Incorrect was cancelled after advertisers bailed out.
So, everyone is now proving that Google’s ‘number of hits’ algorithm is comically inaccurate. Can I mention, btw, that none of this disproves the basic argument that Limbaugh is ‘way more influential and ‘way more offensive than Maher?
Besides being on HBO, which you have to pay extra to see, Maher’s show is on late in the evening. Rush is free on the open airwaves, during the daytime.
Won’t someone think of the children?
The fact the Rush is MUCH more powerful than Maher is evidenced by how many right-wingers took up Rush’s line of insult/argument after he did it.
Look how many right-wingers insulted Fluke, pried into her personal life, etc., after Rush began it.
Rush is the very definition of a powerful leader.
Maher, on the other hand, is a misogynist racist comedian.
These are all swell arguments. My question is, “who gives a shit”? The other side?
As stated above, the difference is that Rush is on the public airways. You have to pay for Maher and can cancel or complain to HBO. If Rush moved solely to Sirius, we wouldn’t really be having the conversation.
In fact I think it would be a great selling point for Sirius.
Because it would have disproved his point. SATSQ.
@MikeBoyScout: Sad sophistry is what VDH does. He has a degree in “classics” after all.
@muddy: Maher’s show isn’t piped to the armed forces at taxpayer expense, either.
I posted a comment at VDH’s article, I will be interested to read the replies!
I know VDH slightly, and he’s an ill-mannered dick in person as well.
@Soonergrunt: Yeah, I put the AFRTS in my comment over there. When I lived overseas AFRTS was the only English language thing available. It’s like propaganda, you have no choice in what is offered.
But please don’t tar classicists with his dirty brush, I know many and in general they are really embarrassed by him. Some say he was okay before 9-11, and then got nutty once he met Cheney and got on the wingnut welfare. He never had the big bucks before that. Actually before that he said he was a Democrat.
Terror and money, it’s the Republican way.
Comedian whose material you have to pay for to access = Spokesman for a large-scale political movement whose material has been disseminated for decades on public airwaves. Can we continue to use this creative math going forward?
Republicans have been sliming everyday people who join the political fray for YEARS. They do it because, they’ll tell you, liberals like to find sob stories and use them politically, and that’s not fighting fair. The parallel isn’t insults about politicians or celebrities. Those might not be nice, but they’re not the same kind of behavior.
So… When have lïberals slimed an everyday person the way Limbaugh et al ripped into Fluke, or Graeme Frost? Bob Somerby brought up Carrie Prejean. I don’t know about that, but, for the sake of argument, chalk that up to Our Side? Who else?
It’s mysterious, my comment is not showing up over there. I haz a sad!
I wrote this:
“Saying that Limbaugh and Maher are equivalent is silly. Everyone has heard of Rush, I know plenty of folks who have never heard of Maher. Probably because Maher is on HBO late at night HBO is expensive and most don’t have it. Remember when Maher lost his other show on ABC because of “political incorrectness”? That’s rich on a show named P-I. This show was also on late at night.
Rush is on for free over the open airways, in the daytime. He is also carried by AFRTS, so not only the military but anyone around the world near a base can hear him too. This is not at all the case for Maher, if you don’t have HBO you’d have to deliberately search Youtube for him.
Won’t someone think of the children? They are much more likely to accidentally hear Limbaugh than Maher.
Also, why do you just “suspect” that they get equivalent hits on google, can’t you just google it yourself to see if it’s true? It’s not by the way! Not even close. For an historian I think you could use actual sources, that’s just embarrassing to you.”
@FlipYrWhig: Thought of another everyday person slimed by activist Republicans: Shirley Sherrod.
@Jim, Foolish Literalist: They bring knives to gun fights and guns to family reunions.
You wanna know what the big difference between Maher and Limbagh is? Maher has actually been taken off the air because of something he said.
Stupid liberals, with their empirical refutations of theoretical arguments.
I suspect that if I added 2 and 2 and compared the result to 8, the so-called “numbers” would be about the same.
@RSA: 4, 8? Similar shapes, similar amount of ink on the page (or pixels on screen) and stunningly close to each other in Unicode.
I don’t know what Pelosi did or said on Maher, and I couldn’t bring myself to watch the video. I got the gist from comments. What I do know is that the people in that video are not the problem. They are poor; they are poorly educated, and exploiting poor people for political purposes is disgusting. I’m sick of Republicans scapegoating poor minorities, and I’m not going to endorse Democrats doing the same to poor white people. This country is not in trouble because poor people vote based on fear, bigotry and tribalism. This country is in trouble because people who know better are too fucking comfortable and power hungry to actually do better.
But the real question here is did you actually look any of that up, or did you merely suspect it?
While I hate the false equivalency narrative, honesly, Bill Maher can carry his own water on the issue of calling women he doesn’t like deragotary names. Or sending out his special reporter star child to find toothless white people and african american welfare recipients for your viewing pleasure.
I understand the impulse here. TV liberals are on TV for the most part because they are really weak sauce or because they are comedians and that really has been only way to get a forum on the TV for most of the past decade or so. It’s difficult to find many who take the whole opinion game seriously. But defending Bill Maher isn’t like defending Bill Moyers.
Jim, Foolish Literalist
@dogwood: You have to watch Pelosi herself to get the self-congratulatory dickishness. She’s so proud of herself for being so brave as to use four individuals to confirm that vestigial Archie Bunkers are right about welfare, and brays about the left-wing attack machine, right down to babbling about bloggers in their underwear. and yes, I thought the rednecks-on-parade video was almost as bad.
I’ve never lived in Manhattan, but I do hear tell real estate there is pricey. I’m surprised a struggling documentary maker can afford a doorman building on 14th St
Aside from the always-present whose-ox-is-getting-gored angle, and of course the passing-remark vs. three-day-hatefest thing, there’s another reason why lefties won’t be as outraged about Maher-on-Palin as we are about Limbaugh-on-Fluke: Their power.
Simply put, when lefties see a weaker figure attacking a stronger one (say, a mid-grade comedian vs. a major political leader and former VP candidate) we figure the bigger player can take care of herself, and when we see a big figure attacking someone a lot smaller (for instance, a hugely influential political commentator vs. an ordinary private citizen who testified before congress) we’re inclined to see a bully.
Whereas on the right, the little guy punching up doesn’t “know his place” and the big guy punching down is enforcing the status quo. There was a strong element of lese majeste to the right-wing freakout over Maher’s (loathsome) remarks.
The power angle isn’t the whole story, but it’s a lot of it.
I’m curious…Does anyone really think that if Rush Limbaugh just called this woman the seaward, he would have taken nearly this much heat for it? Not that I’m defending Maher here, because, quite frankly, I hate seeing otherwise talented people sink to such a level. But really.
Limbaugh’s obsession with Fluke’s sex life is much more akin to Sullivan’s obsession with Palin’s reproductive history insomuch as it demonstrated a prolonged personal interest in and attack on something that, quite frankly, is none of their damned business. Creepy creepy men these are.
It fell down the memory hole because Obama’s mother was white. Had she been black, confirmation bias would have saved that comment from its tragic fate of irrelevance.
a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q)
@Laertes: I get 32.2 for rushbo with quotes, 32.4M without. 14.5M for Maher with quotes, 15.2M without. Unless, you just delete the quotes without retyping, in which case it’s 110M for Maher. I do not understand their algorithms.
Merely picked Unicode out of a police lineup, swear to GSD.
I sort of love that it doesn’t matter what the conservative brain trust says, this far after the fact.
Everyone knows who Rush Limbaugh is, and vast swathes of the country have no fucking idea who Bill Maher is, and no one is going to listen to this long, complicated hypocrisy argument when compared with Rush screaming “SLUT!” For 3 days.
They’re wasting their time with this.
Geez, “I suspect if you googled”? That’s on the level of Walter Benn Michaels’s “I bet if I asked the black woman who cleans my office . . . ”
Axelrod’s defense is a stupid one anyway. Both Maher and Limbaugh are well-known; it’s really not that important that one is more well-known than the other. What is important is that Maher didn’t attack a private citizen, that Maher’s comments were in the context of a bona fide comedic stand-up routine, and that Maher’s comments were presented as Maher’s opinion. Maher didn’t say “Sarah Palin said x,y,z” that Sarah Palin demonstably did not say, and conclude with “therefore, Palin’s a twat.”
Limbaugh did all those things. He attacked a private citizen for exercising her constitutionally-protected right to voice her opinion to her government, and he lied about what she said for the sole purpose of constructing an excuse to call her a slut. Furthermore, Maher called Palin a twat once; Limbaugh spent 9 hours calling Fluke a slut and butressing the excuse for doing so by lying about what she said.
I’m still hoping she sues him over it, and then I hope she sues every righttard who parroted the slut talk.
Maher is a coward with no integrity. Setting the Limbaugh issue aside, on his last two shows he ran videos made by Alexandra Pelosi, and both were crap. The first one presented a wildly unrepresentative portrait of Mississippians – rednecks, no teeth, living in squalor – as a way of making that southern state and Republicans look foolish. The second video was of New York “Welfare Queens” (Peolosi’s terminology – inherited from Ronald Reagan), and it was also unrepresentative. It was mostly black guys outside a welfare office saying that they want their food stamps or government check. Those people were off-putting, to be sure, but that’s not how you argue for or against a policy. You can damn any policy by finding a few people who are abusing the system. I don’t see how it was substantially different from the James O’Keefe videos.
After the Pelosi New York Video was aired, Maher was strutting about how great and objective he is by showing offensive portraits of rednecks and blacks on relief. Was it journalism? Pelosi herself said she was showing “stereotypes”, making it come off as nothing more than an opportunity for comfortable people (Mahr and his HBO audience) to look way down their noses at those less fortunate. That’s ugly. Then he made sure to tell his audience that he and Alexandra were “not racists”. Thanks, Bill. I guess self-proclaimed non-racism means it’s got to be true.
As to Pelosi’s technique. Maybe next time she should go to the county mental health center and interview crazypeople to see if they can make a compelling case for them getting treatment and support. They can’t do it? Oh, too bad. But they are losers, don’t you know.
As to the cowardice. Those two videos that Maher had on his show – videos where people of limited ability fail to make their case and therefore invalidate whatever program or positions they are associated with – that’s what Maher did in his movie Religulous.
I’m an atheist, but when I see Maher “debating” the existence of god with a passel of simple-minded people, that’s not demonstrating integrity. It’s an opportunity to ridicule those he doesn’t agree with. Maher gets cheap wins but avoids the hard work of challenging top-flight theologians.
Then there’s his whole vaccination-skepticism which makes you wonder how his mind works.
Maher is smug, snide, and not very smart. He’s the kind of “progressive” we don’t want on our side.
Oh, and he’s not particularly funny.
I don’t like name calling at all – particularly misogynous, racist or homophobic name calling – but the difference here is that Maher targeted TV and media personalities who themselves make a career out of belittling others. Limbaugh targeted someone who did no such thing.
Again, neither are good example of how to handle disagreement, but the if the targets of Maher’s criticism make money out of sowing discord and using incendiary rhetoric, they shouldn’t be surprised if there is some blowback.
Villago Delenda Est
Victor Davis Hanson: cretinous dogshit.
Great comment. I’m sick of the kind of shit in those Pelosi videos. And while “odious” just isn’t a strong enough word to describe Rush Limbaugh, it works just fine for Maher.
But I do find it amusing that no one has mentioned that a good share of Maher’s guest are wingnuts. They don’t seem to be too offended by him when it comes to getting some face time on urban elite tv, do they?
Maher is not a representative of the left, progressives, or democrats. Full. Stop.
@dogwood: I was offended by the Mississippi video, and said to to friends at the time. Little did I know (or expect) that Pelosi would “make the case” that her work is awful with a follow-up video one week later.
Ta-Nehisi Coates at the Atlantic writes:
And here he is on the Mississippi video:
To add further:
Sullivan liked the welfare-office video. He posted the video with the following comment:
It would be to a Tory.
In the comment thread for Ta-Nehisi Coates, there was this:
Let’s look at the two videos with the most ruthless political calculus. Is the first one which mocks redneck Mississippians, going to get anyone to say, “Boy, I’d better vote for a Democrat”. I don’t see it. It was just a bunch of people in nowhereville who had not impact on anybody.
But the second video, which went after welfare recipients, and by extension, food stamp and welfare programs, could move the needle away from Democrats.
@dogwood: About wingnuts on his show. He lets them say stuff that is obviously false but he never nails them for it. All he does is a kind of “C’mon, you’ve got to be kidding” response.
Stephen Moore, formerly of the Club for Growth, has made lots of nonsensical supply-side claims on the show. Many of these could have been debunked with a modicum of economic knowledge. But Maher never pins them down. Maybe it’s so they’ll come back. In any event, nobody watching it has their mind changed – liberal or conservative. The show is shallow and does not meaningfully inform the audience. Okay, I get that. But Maher presents Real Time as a clearinghouse of sorts for cutting away the political bullshit. It does no such thing.
1. The Pelosi stuff was ridiculous and a waste of time.
2. Maher has hangups about sex and race (unlike the rest of us).
3. More often than not, Maher is really funny.
4. Maher “nails” his guests all the time.
I don’t think Rush and Maher are comparable at all in terms of influence, but I’d like to correct a bad analogy. Rush has twice been taken off the air because of things he said. The first was his short-lived television show and the second was his job as an on-air ESPN contributor.
Baron Jrod of Keeblershire
That’s just flat out untrue. You’re lying, and anyone can watch the show and see that you’re lying. Bill calls out bullshit in no uncertain terms regularly.
Maher gets a lot of flack from the left, and a lot of it is deserved. But to claim that he doesn’t call out his right-wing guests when they lie is ridiculously untrue.
Marcellus Shale, Public Dick
cangratulations to bill maher.
getting your name used as the inevitable counterpoint to limbaugh in time for the invariable backlash? fucking winning!
I’m intrigued that TNC brought “Michael Moore journalism” into this. The thing that has bugged me about Moore’s work has been its emotionally manipulative quality–I’ve never really found him condescending toward his subjects. Unless those subjects have been in a place of power over those with whom we’ve been sympathizing. Seems very different to me. But then, I’m not familiar with every aspect of Moore’s oeuvre. Maybe I’ve missed his oozing condescension toward people.
@slag: I was surprised at the Moore reference by TNC. Moore usually pokes fun at those higher up, not people down on the line.
it’s painful listening to dems differentiating maher from limbaugh, because their reasoning is so dumb. what maher has said is dumb and lazy, but there are (at least) 4 big obvious differences between him and limbaugh that rarely get mentioned:
1. kicking up instead of down. every society in human history has had a venerable tradition of viciously skewering the powerful in whatever way that sticks. often it’s the only way to level the playing field with people with money, power and influence. that’s what maher did, whereas human garbage like limbaugh and the republicans love kicking down at minorities, women, relatively unknown people, etc. there’s a world of difference.
2. lying versus not lying. maher just threw abuse around. to get to the point where he could call fluke a prostitute, limbaugh had to lie about what she said (it was about her sex life), and about its implications (the rest of us would have to pay).
3. extent. again, maher throws around the occasional vicious insult. limbaugh went on and on and on for three days. at some point quantity veers over into a change in quality, and limbaugh crossed that line with room to spare.
4. i forget what the 4th difference is.
maybe this pretty basic logic wouldn’t sell, but it couldn’t be any worse than the ‘reasoning’ we’re seeing on tv.
Don’t click that link without scrolling down into the comments and reading the long excerpt from Victor Davis Hansen’s novel. He is – believe it or not – a far worse writer even than Ayn Rand. Might be the worst prose I’ve ever read that was in some published form (aside from directions that come with products manufactured in Asian wage-slave environs.) Hilarious. Especially on the part of a clown who takes himself as seriously as VDH.