Media top headlines October 6
In media news today, ESPN’s Sage Steele gets pulled off air after knocking the company’s vaccine mandate, a new study suggests that Critical Race Theory is infiltrating America’s 25 most elite private K-12 schools, and Hillary Clinton announces a new fiction book
HBO “Real Time” host Bill Maher discussed the surprisingly increased broadness of his stand-up audience on Tuesday, saying there was a hunger among traditional liberals to hear the “woke,” “crazy section” on the left get taken to task.
No one would mistake the staunchly liberal Maher for a right-winger, but the comic has stood out in the late-night world with his pointed criticisms of aspects of “wokeness,” which he expanded on during an interview with “The Joe Scarborough Podcast.”
“For the first time in my life, I am playing to a mixed audience,” he said of his stand-up tour, which he does in addition to his HBO program. “I was in Nashville about a month ago, and the audience was about 60-40 liberal to conservative. That never used to happen, never. And I think it’s because 10 years ago, in my opinion anyway, the left did not have a crazy section. There was no such thing as woke, and now they do have a crazy section, which I call out as a liberal. I think I’m kind of one of the only people doing that, so there’s a hunger to hear that.”
Maher noted to Scarborough, the host of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” that even during a recent San Francisco visit, his bit about the “craziness on the left” drew laughter.
“I think traditional liberals have had it with the far left of their own party, and they enjoy this too,” he said. “To be able to play to a crowd like I did in Nashville that’s almost split even, that just never happened before. The audience was almost all completely liberal, but things have changed.”
Recalling the 1990s when as a conservative Republican congressman he appeared on Maher’s show “Politically Incorrect,” Scarborough called the politically diverse audiences for Maher a sign of hope. Maher said he enjoyed seeing the crowd laughing together.
“God, we need so much more of that. We have to have this country come together again,” he said. “Unless you solve the hate problem, you will never solve any of our political problems … When somebody just hates the other person, you don’t even listen to what they say, and you won’t even entertain what their point is, as long as we are in this place where I just hate this other side, nothing is going to change.”
He noted at some shows, as he criticized Republicans in office who have stoked former President Donald Trump’s claims of election fraud, some of his liberal audience members have hurled threats of violence at them.
“‘Kill them’ is not the answer I’m looking for, and it’s not the answer that should be coming out of a liberal’s mouth,” he said. “That’s where we are, and certainly of course, ‘kill them’ is an idea that’s very prominent on the right for a lot of the people they don’t like. We have to step back from that.”
As an example of the kind of woke thinking that he thinks is harmful, Maher reiterated his opposition to having a separate Black national anthem in addition to the Star-Spangled Banner. He also noted such practices as segregated dorms and graduations in the name of progressivism, such as at Columbia University this year.
“This is what I mean … You become so woke, you come back out the racist side, which is especially inappropriate in a nation that professes diversity as our strength,” he said. “This is just going backwards.”
Scarborough said many White progressives who deny illiberalism on college campuses and in the media exist.
Asked by Scarborough to comment on the current state of the Democrats, Maher called on them to bring the left flank of the party to heel, pointing to the standoff between the moderate and progressive wings of the party over President Joe Biden’s $3.5-trillion Build Back Better plan. Some House members are holding up a bipartisan infrastructure bill unless the larger, social policy package is simultaneously passed.
“I would have liked a little more competence,” Maher said. “The whole point of getting rid of Trump for a lot of people … He was just loathsome as both a leader and a human. It was just a s–tshow all the time … Their message, a lot of it, was I’m not Trump. But the pullout of Afghanistan looked exactly how Trump would have done it. It was a mess.
“I don’t know why [Biden] couldn’t have stuck the landing on that better … They’re in trouble right now. They need to get their act together. They need to tame their far left caucus, which I think has far too much leverage right now.”
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