Bill Maher Tells Liberals To Let It Go And Get Over Rush Limbaugh

maher obama disrespect

In a new interview, Bill Maher tells liberals that he is bothered by their inability to let Rush Limbaugh’s sexist attacks on women go.

When asked about the Limbaugh boycott by The Tennessean, Maher said, “I don’t think Rush Limbaugh should be stifled. I don’t agree with him, but he has every right to his opinion no matter how (expletive) that opinion is. And I think it’s a terrible trend that when anybody in this country says anything that you don’t like, you try to get rid of him. You know what, you don’t like Rush Limbaugh, then don’t listen to him. He’s been on 25 years, you know what this guy’s all about. He gave an apology. That’s it. It should be over. It bothers me the way that liberals cannot let this go.”

I don’t think Bill Maher is seeing the whole issue, and he is demonstrating a very narrow definition of free speech. No one is trying to take away Rush Limbaugh’s First Amendment rights. Limbaugh is free to attack anyone he wants, but advertisers are also free to pull their ads, just as consumers in the free market have a right not to support advertisers who support and fund Rush Limbaugh’s show.

Free speech is more than just allowing anyone to say what they want. Every American also has the right to exercise their own free speech rights and react to statements that they find offensive. In Bill Maher’s view free speech apparently only extends to the hosts, not the audiences. He was correct is saying that people have the right not to watch or listen to anything that offends them, but the great thing about our country is that it doesn’t have to stop there.

People have the right to protest, and what Maher seems to be ignoring is the fact that Rush Limbaugh’s advertisers also had the right to ignore the boycott. If the advertisers wouldn’t have agreed with the boycotters and pulled their ads, the boycott would have never been successful. The fact that the advertisers also chose to exercise their rights as consumers of the product Limbaugh is offering should not be ignored.

The issue isn’t whether liberals should let it go or not. Bill Maher is entitled to his opinion on that topic. The problem that I have with what Maher said is that he appears to believe that liberals are victimizing Rush Limbaugh and violating his right to free speech. I guess I never realized that having a radio or television show was a First Amendment right. No one is saying that Rush Limbaugh can never speak or voice an opinion again, but that he needs to be held professionally accountable for abusing his power and attacking a private citizen. Limbaugh makes his money off of his opinions. They are a commodity in the free market, so the market has the ability to determine the financial penalty when someone like Rush Limbaugh goes over the line.

I like Bill Maher. I have watched him since the earliest days of Politically Incorrect, but his definition of free speech as being a one way communication from the host to audience is simply wrong, and that is the great thing about the First Amendment. I am free to disagree with Maher on this issue, and his general attitude towards women, but that doesn’t mean that I have to dislike him or his show.

The First Amendment isn’t just for stand up comedians and radio talk show hosts. It is a right given us all, including those who are participating in the advertiser boycott of Rush Limbaugh.

34 Replies to “Bill Maher Tells Liberals To Let It Go And Get Over Rush Limbaugh”

  1. mahers a giant and really smart, but hes wrong headed on this. if the playing field for radio was even, and the multinationals like bain capitol owned clear channel was able to buy many stations in the same market, and put on their propaganda like lumbo, then it would be ok. bill is a comedian, you have to go and pay to see him, at the live show or even HBO. lumbo is on the PUBLIC air. sadly, the FCC is bought and paid for by the lobby for big media like clear channel, and therefore gets licenses without much over-site…. until raygun, the fcc didnt allow one owner of more than one radio/tv station in the same market. now you have a small amount of stations going progressive, but clear channel still has lumpo on 600 stations. in some markets hes on three stations at the same time…. its time for this gasbag and bain capitol plutocrats to hear from the left.

  2. In a proxy sort of way, Maher is really just defending himself and his own show. Self-interest. Nothing more.

    …and it’s patently obvious that it’s easier for Maher to defend Rush instead of trying to navigate the thorny, complicated discussion of why his (Maher’s) crude ad hominen attacks on people may or may not differ from Rush’s.

    I actually generally admire Maher, but not in this instance. Transparent self-interest and taking the easy way out—not very admirable.

  3. What is really sad is that Maher’s viewers know that he is satirizing the news, Rush’s don’t! They buy what he says as truth–like leading them to believe that the government was paying for contraception. Free speech has never been a right to use to incite hatred.

  4. No. Just no. Sandra Fluke was exercising her right both to free speech and to petitioning her government for a redress of grievances, and for that she was repeatedly defamed, even in the strictest legal definittion of the word. She was called a prostitute, and she has been threatened with violence and mutilation as a result. That has never been protected speech, and if that is how pundits treat private citizens, we are not going to get over it.

  5. I also have the right as an American Citizen to dislike a person that spreads hate and vicious attacks.
    His nasty attitude is corrupting the Republican party. They all mimic this trashy way of communicating and it just has to stop. Your rights end where my rights begin. I will never support an advertiser that promotes this negative influence on Americans. That is my right. I also have that same right with you. So, watch how you conduct yourself on public TV. Everybody has pushed hate to the level of evoking others to turn against each other. This has to stop and I will do whatever I can as a lady to prevent this in the future. Americans have had it!!

  6. I don’t remember anyone making Maher an honorary member of congress like the Repubs did with Rush…nor does anyone in the Dem party ‘bow down’ to Maher, Stewart, MSNBC or any other media hype, I mean type.
    So Maher seems to be doing this for a selfish reason, trying to get the right off his back for saying the things he does….but he lost the point and thereby the message fell flat on it’s face.

  7. Cathy, most Rush listeners do understand that Rush jokes quite a bit on air.. Maher attacks under the guise of humor. Maher’s comments on women and religion (though he has never been nasty about Islam, wonder why) are extremely disgusting and insulting to numerous people but it doesn’t seem to bother the liberal media at all. The words he uses to discribe females are offensive.(period).
    We the taxpapers will be paying for birth control. Do you honestly believe that people will manufacture medications and condoms for free. Why should I or others need to pay for people to have sex? My insurance doesn’t cover dental or eyeglasses. Those items are a necessity. Do you want to pay for me to have dental work and glasses? Please let me know if you do and I will let you know why to send the cash.

  8. Admire Maher? For what. For saying filthy words? For degrading women? For hate speech against Christians?
    If a republican spoke like that he/she would be hung out to dry. Total double standard in this wonderful world of the USA. I would love to hear Maher, just once insult and degrade Muslims. But the coward in him just can’t to that.

  9. I am not condoning Maher’s name calling either–I don’t believe we improve any situation–discussion, argument, entertainment, etc–the minute one calls another by any demeaning name, we all lose. We have lost the ability to be civil and respect one another.

  10. Can we once and for all clear up that TAX payers are not… I repeat..NOT paying for contraceptives, abortions…… People pay for the health plan..as always. They have a premium. As always. This law simply says contraceptives are a part of a woman’s well health care like pap smears and mammograms. So the woman doesn’t pay a co pay. There is no tax payer involvement. No matter how it is spun. As for how you may feel morally that’s your deal… But leave the taxpayer argument out.

  11. Are you kidding? You are making assumptions about Maher because people on the right call him a liberal and they, as well as yourself apparently, assume that we think alike on everything. That’s twice that you have said Maher hasn’t made disparaging remarks about Muslims. Eeeeenh! Wrong. It makes me wonder if you have really watched his show. In fact the polar opposite is true. Maher is famous for saying that the “Koran is a hate filled holy book” and that Islamic extremists are a “uniquely greater threat” than Christian fundamentalists. In his movie Religulous he painted Islamic extremists as the worst of the lot. He has said many more things about Muslims that have quite frankly raised the ire of a lot of liberals.

    I don’t agree with ad hominem attacks either and I certainly don’t agree with everything that Maher says. Let’s be clear however, that vehemently criticizing a belief, is not “hate speech”. Christian belief is open to the same robust debate that any other idea is. If I state that a belief in Zeus, Odin or Thor is silly, it is exactly the same thing as if I argued that belief in the rapture is silly. Especially if I back it up with a rational argument to the contrary.

  12. Are you kidding? You are making assumptions about Maher because people on the right call him a liberal and they, as well as yourself apparently, assume that we think all alike on everything. That’s twice that you have said Maher hasn’t made disparaging remarks about Muslims. Eeeeenh! Wrong. It makes me wonder if you have really watched his show. In fact the polar opposite is true. Maher is famous for saying that the “Koran is a hate filled holy book” and that Islamic extremists are a “uniquely greater threat” than Christian fundamentalists. In his movie Religulous he painted Islamic extremists as the worst of the lot. He has said many more things about Muslims that have quite frankly raised the ire of a lot of liberals.

    I don’t agree with ad hominem attacks either and I certainly don’t agree with everything that Maher says. Let’s be clear however, that vehemently criticizing a belief, is not “hate speech”. Christian belief is open to the same robust debate that any other idea is. If I state that a belief in Zeus, Odin or Thor is silly, it is exactly the same thing as if I argued that belief in the rapture is silly. Especially if I back it up with a rational argument to the contrary.

  13. Sorry Bill, but unlike Rush, you don’t speak for the left. We speak for ourselves. You let it go. we will do what we will do, accept it or not. I guess what I am trying to say is, It is not up to you.

  14. My impression of Maher is that he’s never experienced real injustice. He’s never been the target of racism (or sexism) or anything like that. People who live nice protected lives tend to think that people can just “get over things”.

    I admit I’ve never watched or listened to him, and I’m going by what is printed here. However, he strikes me like a lot of people I’ve encountered – they’ve never experienced real suffering, so they think people can just get over it (like they say “snap out of it” or “Smile! It’s not that bad!” to people suffering from depression or “It’s not that bad!” to someone suffering from chronic pain).

    If you let bigots or bullies off the hook, they only get worse and more virulent. Rush is one of the worst types – a bigot and bully with money, power, and people listening to him. Letting him off the hook would be a huge mistake.

  15. I hear you, Cathy.

    Maher’s false equivalence is 2-fold: As C.L stated above, it’s CYA, lest the same action be taken against him. (falsely-sadly-in another universe of 65+ white males)

    and perhaps more importantly, negative publicity for his superPAC donation [see: Republican=hypocrite=Citizens United]. The right has done what they do, cower and show their genitals to Limbaugh while pointing a refuse-to-take-personal-responsibility finger elsewhere. But that playbook was retired when the internets made every word live on in Republican infamy – for the whole world to hear. I do not buy Limbaugh’s nopology. If I were Sandra Fluke’s parent I would have my brilliant daughter the law student brainstorming with the very best lawyers in the Clear Channel lawsuit [hint – Armed Forces Radio].

    Republicans = sharia/cristian law [note no h, no Christ in Republican Talibangel“Christian”ism – not real followers of Jesus’ teachings]

  16. You are not, you troll-on-a-roll, being asked to cover anyone’s birth control. Their insurance company is, just as yours should cover your glasses and dentistry. I am sorry if you are toothless and blind, but if you are witless and heartless, it’s your own damned fault.

  17. Westhillsgirl: “I would love to hear Maher, just once insult and degrade Muslims.”

    It’s not a surprise that you would “love” to hear that. Most folks who love to hate….see the world through the primitive moral prism of their limbic systems.

    No, the real surprise would be if you eschewed your limbic impulses for a nanosecond to let your cerebral cortex get a word in edgewise.

  18. Just a reminder, my rights don’t ever end where your rights begin. The great thing about rights, in theory they are the same for EVERY PERSON.
    I don’t know how many times sensible have to repeat this, but add mine to the pile:
    a) Birth Control is used for many reasons, sometimes one of those reasons is conception, because sometimes women want to have control over their body sexually. Sometimes women want to have control over the level of pain they experience daily or weekly or monthly. Sometimes women want to have control over whether a cyst will grow.
    Insurance companies investing in preventive medicines actually lower their future payouts on the cancer, fibroid tumors, pregnancies that they prevented. Insurance companies will fight almost every form of preventive care, at every turn, until we mandate that they must pay for them, even though it is in their best interest to cover them. It makes no sense, but it is true.

    and

    B)No one is asking or expecting taxpayers to cover the costs, they are expecting insurance companies to cover the costs as part of their regular insurance policies. You want vision and dental? It’s time for you to start lobbying your congresspeople.

  19. Yeah, what the hell is up with the “tax payers” comment? She sounds totally clueless. It has the unmistakable ring of a comment that is circulated in the neo-con universe. I would hazard a guess that she only listens to right wing radio, Faux News, and conservative websites, without bothering to fact check anything.

  20. I think the Rush backlash is long overdue. Yes he has the right to say what he wants and people have the right to say what they want about what he said. Now that is free speech!

  21. Limbic sysrem responses. Very common among the Right, who tend to have authoritarian personalities. The Limbic system pretty much gets programmed by the time a kid is two or three and doesn’t change much after that without extensive psychotherapy. this means that the black-and white, my way or the highway, and do as your told and don’t ask questions, mind-sets that are put into place via harsh discipline take over at the first sign of danger. So if you think the Tea party are acting like two year olds, you’re right. They literally are being controlled by a part of their minds that hasn’t changed since that age. Once they get scared of somebody or someone, trying to change their behavior with logic WILL NOT WORK. Makes our job of defending freedom reeally tough

  22. I think you’re right, but I think it goes even farther than that. I suspect Maher is worried that in their zeal to destroy Limbaugh, they’ll unleash something that’ll splash back on everyone else in the entertainment media.

    But in the end, conservatives and especially Libertarians should be backing this effort on the grounds that it is the perfect example of the free market they’re always extolling and how it “corrects itself” motivated by we the people voting with our wallets.

    But in all honesty, I might even share Bill’s opinion if Rush had truly, SINCERELY apologized instead of doing the typical right wing non-apologetic variation on an “apology”.

    Then again, it’s pretty clear to me that all this outrage isn’t really over this one single incident, it just happens to be the one single incident that turned out to have enough juice to actually damage him. So they’re just milking it for all it’s worth…

  23. The extra-stupidity of Westhillsgirl is that insurance WILL cover maternity-related costs AND have to cover the child until it’s in it’s 20’s. SO you tell me, which is cheaper and will keep costs down for everyone more effectively, covering birth control pills or covering the birth and childhood of possibly unwanted humans?

    It’s the absurd right wing mental disorder fixation on sex that blinds them to the pragmatic potential for ACTUAL REAL benefits here. We’re talking about people so stupid that they’re actually comfortable saying that “people are free to be celibate” or “abstinance works” as though those snarky bumpersticker slogans were a solution to anything. They talk and talk about how “liberals” want to destroy America, while doing everything they can to turn us into AFRICA.

    Yes Westhillsgirl, if your vision of paradise is a land where there’s no government tellin’ you what to do or how to school your kids or trying to control guns and you have an utterly free market where you can do absolutely ANYTHING you want to make money without all those pesky laws and “job killing” regulations, unions, socialized medicine or the minimum wage infringing your freedoms, then please, I BEG you, MOVE TO SOMALIA.

    I personally think it’s a hell hole, but it sounds just like what you “conservatives” want for America.

  24. I am indulging myself tonight in “I told you so”. A year and a half ago, I attended a local meeting addressing solutions the public could use to overturn and negate Citizen’s United. I stood up and said BOYCOTT, it went over like a turd in a punchbowl. I tried to explain how the almighty dollar is the powerful weapon, and we could hit large donors in the wallet by refusing to purchase their products.
    We 99%’s don’t have a lot, but we are the true patriots exercising our rights and privilege as citizens of the USA. Mr. Maher forgot or overlooked that as of January 2010 free speech became money, you can spend it or you can withhold it. Free speech works both ways, he will not stifle us by making us appear petty.

  25. Maher is a misogynist in his own right, he is hidden behind the membership costs for HBO-he needs to shut up and give up. Limbaugh has to go, he has gone to far on the open air of local and national radio … he is woven into our favorite sports team coverage and our local mom-and-pops are advertising on his show. Well we need to get our sports teams off his affiliates and tell the mom and pop that if they want to advertise on his show, we won’t buy from them. Don’t underestimate this movement, join us. http://boycottrushlimbaughssponsors.com/ share our sites w/your friends. and we don’t feed trolls.

  26. I am not trying to defend Bill here,but he did lose his show on tv,Politically incorrect” for comments he said after 9/11.Maybe that’s why he feels so strongly about this.
    But I do think he is wrong about this.The women and the market have spoken.Rush needs to go.

  27. “Insurance companies investing in preventive medicines actually lower their future payouts on the cancer, fibroid tumors, pregnancies that they prevented.”

    Many diseases can be prevented with a little capital outlay up front, such as things like colon cancer and so on – and save lives and huge amounts of money in doing so. We’re on a program for the poor/unemployed and underemployed in our county (yeah, the “Good Christians” hate it) and they caught a precancerous polyp in me two weeks ago – I’m thankful that we qualified, as members of my family have had colon cancer. It’s gotten to where it’s SOP to screen for polyps, and I’m glad for it. (And as you’ve noted, the conservatives are penny-stingy and dollar foolish, and yes, they’re trying to limit such procedures while claiming that if people would “take care of themselves” they wouldn’t need things like that.)

    You’ve pointed out the rank hypocrisy and greed of the conservatives quite well, and Maher should be ashamed for supporting them in any fashion.

  28. Ignore words that trash Democrats to all our GIS?
    Ignore one who was found to emit 10,000 LIES in 4000 hours.
    Few years ago Mush said “That media watch group FAIR edited 4,000 hours of my transcripts and found 45 little errors.

    I got the report. over 10,000 lIES.

  29. Really? Let Rush Limbaugh go? Then we’d have to let Bill Maher go, and who wants to do that. Both of these overrated, smug, self-satisfied blowhards should be nailed to the wall everytime they say something incredibly stupid. Every day in the case of Limbaugh, occasionally but spectacularly in the case of Maher. Neither is worth the band width.

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