Comedian and political commentator Bill Maher kicked out 9/11 protestors from a live taping of his HBO show Real Time with Bill Maher on Oct. 19. One protestor shouted and held up a sign that read “9/11 is a cover up fraud.” Maher yelled back, “Do we have some (expletive) security in this building, or do I have to come down there and kick his ass?” Maher eventually ran into the audience and helped security guards push the man out. When other protestors starting shouting, Maher shot back with, “This isn’t the Iowa caucus. Okay? It’s not a debate. It’s a debate between us. You’re in the audience, okay? Audience comes from the Latin, ‘to listen.’”
What the commentators said
“Hat's off to Bill for a job well done,” said John Gibson in FoxNews.com. It’s usually hard to agree with Maher, “but this time he was right.” The “lunatic notions” proposed by the conspiracy theorists that snuck into Maher’s live show didn’t deserve to be heard. Maher “deserves credit for doing the right thing when faced with idiocy on such an important topic as the attacks against us by bin Laden and his vicious followers.”
Maher’s tirade against the protestors was highly entertaining, said the blog Jossip. “It’s exactly the sort of elitist pseudo-intellectual tripe you’d expect from someone who hosts a lowbrow political debate show and then goes home and sleeps with strippers.” Panelist Joel Stein’s interjection was pretty good, too: ‘They won’t chant “Jerry” for you, though?’
“We have to thank the miracle of live television” for making “this spectacle possible,” said Dave Nalle in BlogCritics.org. But the downside is it makes Maher’s show “a target of opportunity for desperate conspiracy nuts who are so sure no one is listening to them—with good reason.” Is “shouting slogans at random guests on a live cable TV show” really the smartest way “to get taken seriously”?
Why doesn’t Maher just invite these people onto his show? said Bill Douglas in OpEdNews.com. He allows “rightwing Christian pundits on, and he treats them personally with a modicum of respect, even while caustically attacking the millions they represent.” Instead, he acted “like a fascist” and threatened “bodily harm.” This was truly a “sad day for the left in America.”
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Why is American internet so slow?
- Don't worry: World War III will almost certainly never happen
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- What the collapse of the Ming Dynasty can tell us about American decline
- Watch The Daily Show mock Fox News' confused man-crush on Vladimir Putin
- 4 life hacks from ancient philosophers that will make you happier
- 22 TV shows to watch in 2014
- Russia's Ukraine invasion is a moral crisis
- The Daily Show explains Hamid Karzai's 'Afghan Hustle'
- The end of academic freedom?
Subscribe to the Week