Bill O’Reilly aired part one of his interview with Bill Maher on his Fox News program, and to put it mildly Bill-O took a beating. O’Reilly tried to defend the Tea Party and Maher responded with, “I mean the teabaggers. They’re the ones, who are so upset about the debt. Most of the debt came from Bush. That’s just a fact.”
Here is the video from Fox News:
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O’Reilly started off with the classic Fox News talking point about how much trouble Obama is in due to his approval ratings, which Maher knocked down immediately, “Well, first of all, he’s not having that much trouble historically. He’s about where Clinton and Reagan where a little higher than where they were in their first administration. But, it’s partly the fault of the opposition. There’s a lot of disinformation out there. I’m not saying where it comes from. And, the lion’s share of the fault goes to the Democrats. They do not brag about their accomplishments.”
Bill-O brought up his favorite Obama criticism about Obama’s presentation, inferring that Obama is cold and out of touch, and Maher replied by pointing out that much of the Obama criticism is racially based, “Well, obviously, people think he’s a little bloodless. I happened to like that in a president. I like a president that uses his brain and not his faith or his heart or his gut as the former president did. I kind of like that in our president. But, you know, again, they don’t brag about their accomplishments and when you downplay the economy, all of the dissatisfaction with him is about the economy. Because a lot of it is racially….”
O’Reilly claimed laughably that none of the Obama criticism is racially based, “Of course not. You know, he was elected by 53 percent of the public. And, when he took office, his approval was over 70 percent. Come on. Come on!” Maher then brought up the deficit and why the Tea Party ignored it under Bush, “But, Bill — but Bill, just for example, I mean the teabaggers. They’re the ones, who are so upset about the debt. Most of the debt came from Bush. That’s just a fact. Under Bush, Cheney said it, “Deficits don’t matter.” Nobody was angry about the deficit when it was President Bush.”
The Factor host then when full on clown by defending the Tea Party as ignorant, and called Obama the biggest spending president in history “Because they didn’t know about it. Look, President Obama has spent more money…No, they didn’t. It wasn’t a big issue as it is now. He’s the biggest spending president in the history of the republic, Maher. You got to know that, man!”
Maher correctly pointed out that Bush was the biggest spender, but O’Reilly changed the definition of biggest spending president in history to mean, “No, Obama is the biggest — his budget is bigger than Bush’s budget.” Maher got to the heart of it when he stated that the Tea Party and the Right are not completely racist, but they are selfish, “No, not entirely. People are individuals. But, I think in general, yes, they’re more selfish and they’re more likely to advocate policies that serve their own interest and don’t think anybody else.”
O’Reilly asked Maher how he got so liberal. Maher answered that he is the same but the country changed, “The people who were — Basically, yes. I mean, at some point in the last 20 years, the left moved to the center and the right moved into a mental institution. I mean, there used to be ideological differences that were understandable and there used to be moderate Republicans. That has gone away. I mean, the Republican Party now is just a bunch of religious lunatics, flat earthers and civil war re-enactors, so I don’t think it was me that changed so much.”
Bill-O seized what appeared to be an opening to bring up another favorite boogeyman left wing extremism to which Maher replied that most of the extremism is on the Right, “There really isn’t extremism on both sides. That’s a canard…There’s not that much extremism — There is some but not — nothing to talk about. Not really. There’s no movement like the Tea Party movement.”
Bill O’Reilly has really had a tough week. First, Jon Stewart came on O’Reilly show and completely blew up his talking point that Obama is out of touch, but as tough as Stewart was he was nothing compared to the beating Bill Maher put on Fox News’ top host in part one of their sit down. Maher would, in today’s environment be classified as liberal on many issues, because the Right has completely flipped out, and he is now too moderate for them.
It is rare that a guest comes on Fox News and dominates the way Maher did, but Bill Maher isn’t the usual FNC guest. He knows how the talking points game is played on Fox and he effectively shut it down. Maher didn’t give O’Reilly an opening and by the end of the segment, he had Bill-O on the defensive. Maher’s performance was a textbook example of how guests should handle being on Fox. Who knows what part two holds, but Maher really did an outstanding job. He effectively used facts to combat propaganda, by keep his answers short, simple, and clear. I hope more Fox News guests adopt Maher’s methods.