Since I started at NewsReal in July — first as a blogger before eventually becoming the editor — my beat has been HBO’s leftist gabfest “Real Time with Bill Maher.” The 2009 season of the show concluded on October 16. So NewsReal will not be featuring any more commentaries on “Real Time” until the next season starts in the spring.
Having written about two dozen blog posts inspired by episodes of “Real Time” I’ve come to a more measured judgment of the show than some might expect. The reality about “Real Time” is this: Yes, Maher is thoroughly embedded in the culture of the Left, but the show frequently features intellectually-engaging interviews and debates. Furthermore, Maher is not always out in “progressive” NeverNever Land.
For example, on the season’s final episode Maher revealed himself to be to the Right of Chris Matthews on health care. The two disagreed about who was to blame for the high cost of health care. Maher rejected the frequently-promulgated notion that evil corporations were the sole culprit. Instead he was willing to spread the blame around. He insisted, quite correctly, that doctors ordering unnecessary tests — in order to bill insurance companies for more money — also was a factor. He further claimed that Americans living unhealthy lifestyles — eating garbage and failing to exercise — also exacerbated the problem.
This willingness to to wholly embrace the Left’s class-warfare answers also finds expression in Maher’s choice of guests and panelists. Maher frequently featured conservatives, sometimes even featuring panels which pitted him on his own against two ideological opponents. When was the last time Matthews, Keith “Meltdown” Olbermann, or Rachel “Spoonful of Saccharine” Maddow did that?
In one of my previous blogs I said that as far as Glenn Beck’s program goes I generally find myself at an 80-20 level of agreement. About 80% of the time I’ll be supporting what’s being said. With Maher that number is about reversed. Perhaps 20% of what Maher says I might be sympathetic to in some regard. There are plenty of people on the Left far worse. He’s nowhere near as bad as Michael Moore, for example. And throw in the show’s variety of panelists and interviews and it’s possible to have a watchable program.
So, for those who may have missed some of my previous commentaries on “Real Time” I now collect all of these posts for your reading pleasure:
For my three-part dissection of Maher’s interview with Michael Moore I explain the similarities between the worldview of the communist Left and the director of “Capitalism: A Love Story.”
In this post here I explain the advantage of having my last name. If you have an unusual or an unfortunate last name then for someone to poke fun at it — especially as a first reaction to hearing it — instantly indicates that they’re probably a bad person.
I’m still quite pleased with the point that I made in the following post regarding hip-hop music. It’s one I’ll probably want to develop further some time down the road.
Use this next blog post any time someone accuses you of being “immoral” for being against single-payer healthcare.
This next post was a pretty significant find I made.
I’m still quite proud of the points made in these blogs about Maher’s interview with Sam Harris.
The discovery form this next post was just delightful.
One thing that I noticed throughout this season of “Real Time”: Maher frequently took his cues from Maddow. Subjects and guests on her show would appear on Maher’s show a few days later.
7.20.09 Bill Maher’s redemptive moments
And here we have my very first NewsReal blog post.