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July 31st, 2009
06:07 AM ET

Avlon: Professional polarizers, Maher and Beck

Editor’s note: John P. Avlon is the author of Independent Nation: How Centrists Can Change American Politics and writes a weekly column for The Daily Beast. Previously, he served as Chief Speechwriter for New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and was a columnist and associate editor for The New York Sun.

Bill Maher (L) and Glenn Beck (R).

Bill Maher (L) and Glenn Beck (R).

Professional polarizer – that’s the definition of too many political pundits today.  They try to divide in order to conquer, playing to their base and reinforcing their party’s worst stereotypes in the process.

This week, two of the nation’s best known pundits took steps way over the line, deep into Wingnut territory – Bill Maher on the left and Glenn Beck on the right – calling America “stupid” and President Obama “racist.”  I’m sure they’d hate to be paired with each other but that’s part of the fun of punching both left and right on 'Wingnuts of the Week.'

Bill Maher’s a smart comedian who unapologetically reinforced liberals’ reputation for out of touch elitism when he called America a “stupid country” on the 'Situation Room' this week.  Here’s a transcript of the exchange.

Wolf Blitzer: Do you think she (Sarah Palin) has a future nationally as a presidential candidate?

Bill Maher: I don't know about a presidential candidate but I would never put anything past this stupid country.

Blitzer: So people are already complaining that you're calling the United States a stupid country and I'm giving you a chance to clarify.

Maher: I don't need to clarify. It is.

Blitzer: Well, tell me why you think the United States is a stupid country.

Maher: Because Sarah Palin could be president. I mean, please, do I need to expand on that any more? Uh, yeah, I do. I think this is in general... I mean, it's a big country. That's the great thing about it. There's 300 million people here. So, within this large country, there are tens of millions of very bright, intelligent people, you know, the ones who are watching us, um, not the ones who are writing the emails.  Uh, but, you know, in general, um, gosh, uh, you know, this country just gets dumber and dumber by the day. And uh, I don't think I have time on your show to list all the reasons.

There’s an arrogance in professional polarizers that causes them to honestly believe that people who disagree with them are not just wrong but stupid or even evil.  It’s a slippery slope that leads to the demonization of political difference.  If Sarah Palin doesn’t always appeal to the better angels of our nature, Maher ends up as evidence in her argument about the media elites on the coasts looking down on their fellow Americans who live in what they dismiss as "flyover country” and she calls “real America.”  They both end up increasing the heat of our domestic political debates but add very little light.

Republicans love to tar Democrats with the elitist label but they are susceptible to stereotypes that they stoke the fires of the ugliest and oldest appeals American politics – racism.  Glenn Beck blurs the line between political pundit and partisan entertainer and he tried to flip the race formula this week by calling the President of the United States a racist in the wake of what we’ll one day call Gates-gate.  In the process, he intentionally threw fuel on the flames of America’s oldest and most divisive debate.  Here’s the transcript.

Glenn Beck: This president, I think, has exposed himself as a guy — over and over again — who has a deep-seeded hatred for white people, or the white culture. I don’t know what it is…

Brian Kilmeade: But listen, you can’t say he doesn’t like white people. David Axelrod’s white, Rahm Emanuel’s his chief of staff, this, I think 70 percent of the people we see everyday are white. Robert Gibbs is white.

Beck: I’m not saying that he doesn’t like white people. I’m saying he has a problem. He has a, this guy is, I believe, a racist.

“A deep-seeded hatred for white people”?  This is the same Barack Obama who won the presidency by preaching the need to reach across black and white as well as left and right divides.  The man who is the son of a white mother and black father, brought up by his white grandparents in the Pacific melting pot of Hawaii.  The man who became the first African-American president by transcending the protest presidential candidacy model of Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton before him.  The first Democrat to win the states of Indiana and Virginia since 1964.

You can disagree with Barack Obama’s policies, but to accuse him of being a racist is a slander – an attempt to drum up ratings by dividing the United States.   And in calling the President racist it gives cover to those who oppose the president because of his race by creating the false comfort of moral equivalency.

Beck’s performance drew a quick distancing move from Fox News Senior VP of Programming Bill Shine, who released a statement to TVnewser.com saying the following:  “[Beck] expressed a personal opinion which represented his own views, not those of the Fox News Channel. And as with all commentators in the cable news arena, he is given the freedom to express his opinions."

Hate is a cheap and an easy recruiting tool.  It may be good for ratings but it’s bad for the country.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of John Avlon.


Filed under: Wingnuts of the week
soundoff (70 Responses)
  1. Rob

    As if Bill Maher and Glenn beck are that different. The NEO-CONS have been proven to be outright liars, however the democrats are just as corrupt only preferring to use misdirection rather than outright lies.

    They are re-arrangng deck chairs on the titantic by talking about minuscule issues like abortion and gay marriage obsessed with them 24/7. It is bread circuses.

    Maher may criticize Bush and the iraq war, but of course he will ignore the CIA's support of the mujahadeen that started with carter and brzezinski, and that the taliban continues to receive funding today from the Us Government and defence contractors. Maher won't question the justification for the Iraq war until only after the fact when it becomes unpopular. Maher is a democrat, he will not question the president's stance on healthcare even though it is essentially a hand out to private insurers and is not single-payer.

    Of course neither Beck nor Maher will neither touch the important issues like the military industrial entire budget of the US.

    September 27, 2009 at 2:26 pm |
  2. SG

    This is another case of false "centrism", where one pretends all views have equal weight and factual content, in order to seem balanced and a moderate. Unfortunately, if one side is dealing with facts and the other with lies, and you decide to take the middle ground, you will always have a half-truth at best.

    August 19, 2009 at 1:45 pm |
  3. MW

    Comparing Bill Maher to Glenn Beck shows exactly the sort of lack of ability to discern the truth that Maher was talking about. No wonder his comments got under your skin.

    Maher states his opinion that the country is stupid - he bases this opinion on certain facts, which he shares with his audience. You don't have to agree with him, but if you take issue with the facts he cites, you have to prove him wrong.

    Glenn Beck on the other hand, lives in a fact-free zone. He repeats already disproved right-wing talking points over and over again, even stuff the GOP's own reps won't publicly stand behind, in order to stir up "populist" hatred. Period. Beck is a fearmonger who uses slander and lies to attract attention and fervency to his cause. Maher is a comedian who may make fun of conservatives, but bases his opinions (Palin is stupid) in facts (Palin lies about matters of record).

    The two could not be more different.

    August 19, 2009 at 1:42 pm |
  4. Joe

    Maher was a bit abrasive in his comments. Not too far off base, but a little too harsh I think. People are so busy in their lives these days that they do not educate themselves enough on most of these issues. Most people will not research any information they hear. The "death panels" issue is a good illustration of this. The Republican machine is well aware that people will not take the time to look up information and research things. That is why they lob ridiculous scary phrases into any serious debate.
    Most Americans news sources consist of the most inflammatory crap that makes it on CNN or Fox or their local news. Indeed, a lot of news coverage these days is about news people and what they say....this story for example. A good part of the blame for the dumbing down of our nation can be the fact that the news media is now trying to entertain and not provide great journalism. I wish we had a news organization here in the US that is close to the level of excellence provided by the BBC and the Economist. There are some newspaper writers out there that provide great investigative journalism but on TV its all about how sensational they can make it to catch your interest for 10 seconds. People need to be encouraged to read various sources with divergent viewpoints from an early age.

    One more thing in Response to NEIL: The first president to blow off the national day of prayer is the first president to recognize the separation of Church and State clause in the CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES. WOW....that Obama, he's a real patriot.

    August 19, 2009 at 1:32 pm |
  5. Enoch

    Anybody who thinks Sarah Palin would make a good president is stupid. Anybody who can't distinguish the fundamental differences between Maher and Beck is stupid. Anybody who thinks CNN is the most trusted name in news is stupid. Anybody who believes Avlon is unbiased is stupid. Add them all up and it makes for a lot of stupid Americans.

    August 19, 2009 at 1:18 pm |
  6. James

    Unlike most Americans, I've actually travelled all over the world. I've been to Panama, Canada, France, Spain, the Netherlands, Estonia, Russia, China and Japan.

    From my experiences, Americans generally are more ignorant and have narrower world views than the rest of the developed world.

    Does realizing the truth make me an arrogant elitist? Do my experiences not count because my realizations offend the majority of Americans who have never even left North America?

    August 19, 2009 at 12:05 pm |
  7. Justin

    The fact that evolution vs creationism in public schools is a serious debate proves that Bill Maher is right.

    August 19, 2009 at 11:59 am |
  8. Pete

    The polarizers exist because people listen to them. The right has a very rabid base who will latch onto any logic that they think will destabilize the left, often without any regard for facts or evientiary support. The left does have a smug, "smarter than thou" attitude which has a tendency to enflame the right.

    So, don't expect any non-partisan comments about who's worse – I personally think Maher is a little toungue-in-cheek whereas Beck is a Neocon "true believer". I think that Maher has consistency in his opinions, as opposed to Beck's "what liberal program are we hunting today" mindset – as evidenced by him railing against US health care because of bad personal experience as of January, but now touting it as "the best health care in the world" because that's the party line. There's a fine line between slightly disingenuous and blatantly partisan in the face of overwhelming facts and Mr. Beck couldn't find his way back there if he tried. But then hey, if you haven't guessed already, I lean left.

    Mr. Avlon, I appreciate your tyring to address this glaring hot-button issue with the fourth estate, but you are in a bad position to address it's scope – Papa Murdoch owns CNN as well as Faux News. Bill Maher and Comedy Central's "Truthiness Hour" are shows, whereas the right has a whole partisan NETWORK, and control of most of the rest of US media. Not that Mr. Murdoch is really that aligned with most of the US right wing, just the oligarchy part – which is why even CNN slams health care reform with every byline, even when the article supports it.

    August 17, 2009 at 1:50 pm |
  9. Carole

    Bill Maher is a comedian as you say. That should be the end of the story. HUGE difference between a comedian and someone posing as a news commentor like that racist Bec.

    Bill Maher/Glenn Bec = Apples vs. Oranges

    August 17, 2009 at 10:42 am |
  10. Richard, Kankakee, IL.

    I don't know much about Bill Maher, but ever since Glenn Beck left Headline News he has been on a constant hate and fear campaign, and has has shown no shame in telling bold face lie, that check he is getting for the corrupted Healthcare Company must make him sleep soundly each night!

    August 17, 2009 at 7:00 am |
  11. Dave

    The people that watch Glenn Beck love those stupid things he says and it infuriates people like me that voted for Obama and support his efforts on health care.

    Bill Maher's comment infuriates the same people that love Glenn Beck and I find what he says funny and with a touch of truth in most of his comments. I know many of those people and they are not morons but I still can't understand how they can be so enthralled with Sarah Palin, vote for George Bush twice (would vote for him again if they could), and believe anything that ever comes out of the mouths of talk radio or Fox Network.

    How could anyone believe that a political party would pass laws that wouldn't please senior citizens when the baby boomer voting block is coming into that category in greater numbers year after year. It would be political suicide. I think the tactic of comparing our health care system with terrible health care systems around the world where they have universal coverage isn't working (facts from around the world are coming to light) so now they are trying to scare people. It's working and people are scared but these same people were scared during the election (Obama's a Muslim, etc.). That small minority didn't keep us from electing him and shouldn't keep us from reforming health care now. I just wish more people like John McCain would speak up like he did during one of his town hall meetings during the election and tell them that it's just not true. Although if he did he would be renounced by Rush the Great Determiner of Truth and determined not be a true Republican (eg. Colin Powell).

    100 years ago Mark Twain (paraphrasing) talked about Republicans being sure of one thing above all; Democrats are wrong (with the converse being true of Democrats). I hope that what we are going through now is more of the same but I am afraid it might not be. I am afraid that the internet and mass communication is simultaneously capable of wonderful and harmful things (and I'm not sure if anything can be done about it). What long term effect will the availability of sex, violence and people spouting out hate have on our country? I hope my worries are just the same ones that people reaching their fifties have had for generations and that we are not really going to hell in a handbasket to borrow a phrase that might have been used by my great grandfather to describe the changes of his and Mark Twain's time.

    Rush and Beck are making a huge living by saying things that their listeners love to hear without worrying about the consequences of their words. They don't ever have to run for office (and couldn't possibly win anything nationally anyway) and if they greatly please even 10% if the population. That is enough for sponsors to continue to support them and sell a lot of books. I am sure that is all that really concerns them.

    I do think people are getting dumber. I am afraid the movie 'Idiocracy' wasn't too far from the truth. (I know hardly anyone has seen it.)

    August 16, 2009 at 7:00 pm |
  12. Elijah

    Maher is "Real" , Beck is a "Liar for Hire".Jon Stewart is the "Man". Americans are "Stupid" based on" Racism" Some would vote for Palin over Obama Thats plain "Stupid"!

    August 16, 2009 at 5:44 am |
  13. Duncan

    The arguments of those who disagree with Maher's assertion that Americans are stupid would carry more weight if they weren't so full of enough spelling and grammatical mistakes to make a middle school English teacher cry.

    August 15, 2009 at 12:14 pm |
  14. dianne

    I think Bill M. comment was right on. Anyone who thinks Sarah Palin could run this country is certifiable. I think that Fox news hasn't helped, the right wingers are comparing Obama to Hilter and if you look at history I feel that Fox news has Hilters handbook and we are seeing a lot more hate groups in this country.

    August 14, 2009 at 6:06 pm |
  15. Michael

    Bernice,

    Get a life, wake up, and get off Glenn' s nether regions. You're embarrassing yourself.

    August 14, 2009 at 2:15 pm |
  16. Smoii

    Well, didn't more of Americans choose to elect Obama as their president? So, along with Bill's comment I would think the majority of Americans is stupid. It seems to be true more now than ever. Pathetic!

    August 14, 2009 at 1:54 pm |
  17. terry

    I would like to know how people like Glenn Beck can slanderize anyone they darn well please! If they were in a court of law it would be called perjury.....................I believe in freedom of speech, however, where is the line drawn?

    August 14, 2009 at 6:49 am |
  18. Cyd

    I, too, was of the opinion that America was rapidly becoming a nation of stupid people; but, after reading through these comments I am heartened by the fact that the majority of opinions show that intelligent, reasonable, thinking people are still alive and well in this great country. Unfortunately, the mob are getting more coverage than the silent majority which is disturbing. I guess "the squeaky wheel" does get the most grease!

    August 10, 2009 at 7:50 am |
  19. Former Repub

    For Bernice,

    Where are you getting your information from? Please post links to your evidence.

    August 9, 2009 at 7:47 pm |
  20. Former Repub

    Much as I hate to admit it, I think Maher is right – as a whole, we are a stupid country. How else to explain what appears to be a real belief that the government will create a 'death panel'? How else to explain the willingness of a measurable percentage of the population to accept almost anything as truth, rather than take the time to learn about something themselves? This applies to the left as well as the right – not to those who disagree with Maher, but to anyone who simply regurgitates the last 30-second spot they heard.

    The response to Maher's comment should be to prove him wrong – informed citizens, armed with facts, not fantasy or unfounded opinion.

    On the other hand, Beck makes absurd statements without backing anything up with evidence. Obama has a "deep seeded hatred" of whites? Like his mother? Then he contradicts himself with "I'm not saying he doesn't like white people...just that he has a problem". Well, what is is Glen??? Beck doesn't even seem to know what he thinks himself, only that it might get him some attention. And of course, it does, even when it's just the viewers wondering how it's possible that anyone could be so..... dare I say it.........STUPID???

    August 9, 2009 at 7:43 pm |
  21. rhett

    Comparing Bill Maher to Glen Beck?!!!!!! What are you trying to present yourself as>? Fair and Balanced...like Fox "news"? Maher is intelligent and puncturing windbags like Beck...and the craziness of the wingnuts... with humor and wit and irony. I do not always agree with him. He does not always show good taste (like he DATED Ann Coulter for heaven's sake! Eewwww) . Maher is clearly not free of male chauvinism ...but even that is presented with humor and he does it to get a reaction. He criticizes politicians and other public figures on the basis of their own statements, promises , policies or behavior.. when he disagrees with them...R or D.
    Beck , a predictable partisan flame-thrower..calls the President, raised by his white grandparents, and the son of a white mother, a Racist who hates white people>? and he spews hate and misinformation (like all 125,000 new jobs went to black people)and plays to ignorance and fear.of the benighted who swallow his garbage (like Bernice does)..and he seemingly will do anything to simply make a buck.. He exemplifies the problem of divisive simplistic hate, race baiting etc. and he creates haters...o Not in the same category. His own life is worth looking at to see how little he has to offer in terms of personal character .....
    And yes, he illustrates the profit there is in appealing to the lowest common denominator which contributes to the "dumbing down" of discourse in the public arena.

    August 9, 2009 at 5:35 pm |
  22. Neil

    Yeah Obama said a lot of things. He said he was Christian too...then became the first president to blow off the national day of prayer...something Bill Clinton never did. If you think Obama is perfect...get off the Kool Aid.

    August 8, 2009 at 4:16 am |
  23. Chicago Bob

    I think there's a big difference then someone saying that Americans are stupid, and Glen Beck calling our president Hitler and a facist. The kind of hatred and fear mongering that people like Rush, Beck, and Hannity is very dangerous. Dare I say it? Tim McVeigh? I think we have more to worry from right wing white supremists then muslims.

    August 7, 2009 at 10:48 pm |
  24. William

    Typical, how exactly typical of America. As people supporting madmen like Bill Maher, you say people that don't agree with him actually are stupid. The writer of this article is clearly more intelligent than the majority of the posters on this column. If you support or agree with either of these people 100%, you are in fact the idiot you claim the other side is. I am in no way, shape, form, or fashion a Palin supporter, in my opinion, she is a power-hungry, corrupt politician who sunk her teeth into the opportunity to abuse the priviliges given her. However, to say that anyone who supports her doesn't do research, and is stupid for following her, is stupid themself. What if they say the same thing about Obama supporters? Because either one if partially true, because America is lazy and doesn't want to do research on their own. Most of Obama's supporters simply hopped on because it was the popular thing to do, just as in some crowds, it was the popular thing to do to join Palin. If America WASN'T lazy and actually did research, Washington would have a completely different face, there would be no 2 party system, and morons like Bill O'Reilly, Bill Maher, Keith Olbermann, etc. wouldn't have t.v. shows.

    August 7, 2009 at 10:54 am |
  25. RusRus

    Hey I can see Port Huron from my house in Canada, so I should be Prime Minister to make sure Sarah Palin is never allowed into Canada. I am the Canadian Glen Beck, saying stupid things for my supper.

    Bill Maher has made me laugh so many times with the stupid things you people do down there, like electing Bush, twice even?

    Take heart Amercian people, we have stupid people here in Canada also, after all we did elect Harper twice too, (even if only as a minority government).

    The truth is, if all nations spent as much money helping people as we do killing people, we would all live in a much nicer world and lets remember it is the only one we have, so we try to preserve it for future generations.

    August 7, 2009 at 8:50 am |
  26. Mark

    The big difference between Maher and Beck are very obvious. Maher comments on facts, and most of the time he is quite right, on the other hand Beck is an imbecile who just flaps his gums for his paycheck on the worst network on television (FOX).

    Anybody who would vote for Palin is stupid, Maher is correct on this matter. It is the same the people who use hysterics as a tactic at the current health care town hall meetings, while Beck is the person who would encourage this type of non-dialogue.

    How could anybody consider Palin a serious candidate for any office, when she never even had a passport until she became a VP candidate? Palin is proof that Americans are quite stupid as a group and very selfish.

    I like Maher because he makes his points and is still funny, while Beck is just a self serving ignorant fool who got lucky and now thinks of himself as important. The hipocracy on the right never ceases to amaze me, as they argue against abortion while supporting murder trough war, they say nothing about the billions wasted on war, but scream bloody murder when the 50 million people who have no health insurance are about to receive coverage. How they can't see the hipocracy in their agenda is beyond me, so welcome to Palin's America.

    August 7, 2009 at 8:30 am |
  27. DB63

    Bill Maher has always been over the top with his commentary and in an inarticulate way expressed a view that if we are giving credibility to Sarah Palin as a reasonable Presidential candidate, we (America) are stupid. Well I don't America is stupid, but I do think we elect by our emotions rather than rational thinking. It was reported during the 2008 election by a female reporter that America's interest in Sarah Palin can be attributed to her looks rather than her competency. And it is quite hard to hear even reasonable news organizations like CNN give credence to the viability of a Palin Presidency in comparison to the current President a Harvard Law Graduate with far more demonstrated leadership competencies. Maher didn't say that, he just said we're stupid which we are not, we just act that way sometimes.

    Case in point, Mr. Beck's comments about a bi-racial man raised by white grandparents who addressed his racial views head-on during the election after the Wright controversy. Calling him someone with deep seated hatred of white people, now thats stupid and anyone trying to justify his comments is simply too wrapped up in the hatred they feel to wards the President.

    We all have biases, but that does not mean that we are all racists, but the undertones to Beck's comments seem to suggest that there are some serious racial issues lingering in this Country. And it is painful to see that behavior cloud our views about who should be running the Country. What do you call it when a person acts against their own self-interest and better judgment to feed a disproved, discredited, ideal based simply on lies?

    Hilter was successful in convincing otherwise reasonable, intelligent Germans that the Jews was their problem, and we see what happened. With all the hate mongering going on, I can't help wandering if we're positioning ourselves for a similar delusion. Both the Right and Left has some serious explaining to do about that and I'm simply tired hearing this nonsense.

    August 6, 2009 at 1:15 pm |
  28. Milo

    I think there both Morons. Neither one has a clue about reality. Those who go to work everyday and are trying to pay bills, raise a family, pay for their childrens education and health insurance and are just surviving are the ones who will loose when all is said and done. Rebublicans and democrats need to sit down in congress and get to work for the american people and stop this BS. Stop listening to these pundits and do your jobs. Start working together and be realistic. We are burying future generations in debt. Maybe we should pay the politicans according to what they accomplish. We would save money there.

    August 6, 2009 at 10:52 am |
  29. Paul

    Is America stupid? Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t - but it is definitely gullible.

    August 6, 2009 at 10:44 am |
  30. Duane

    Maher was expressing a faction of this country who reflect a collective consciousness in this country. The whole country is not "'stupid" but there are those who react based on their prejudices, and fears. Example: the promotion of a person for vice president whose world view is severely limited (Sarah Palin). It is true that this is a free country and people have a right to their opinion but, if you listen to Glenn Beck and end up agreeing with him you need your head examined. Beck's comments were contradictory and laced with race baiting language. That type of language appeals to the basest limbic emotions in humans. The inflammatory tirades of Beck do classify him as a right wing "wingnut". Those who agree with him are the "stupid" of thiscountry that Maher refers to . I agree with Bill, and disagree with Beck. He needs to be off of the air because he contriibutes nothing constuctive to the discussion of how we can become a better country. But thst will not happen because he has a "stupid" following and they represent profits to Fox :noise"

    August 5, 2009 at 7:31 am |
  31. Dork

    Look at me, I'm commenting like I care.
    Everybody read what I say and suddenly realize that what you believe anyway just has to be true.

    August 4, 2009 at 4:49 pm |
  32. janet

    Maybe not "stupid" – but certainly we are a country that is easily duped and have difficulty seeing the big picture. I know some very intelligent people who were willing to put Sarah Palin one heartbeat from the Presidency because they're not in favor of a woman's right to choose. It's a little crazy that the complex issues facing the nation and the world can be dismissed and reduced down to denying women rights.
    So, maybe not "stupid", maybe "reckless".

    August 4, 2009 at 12:32 pm |
  33. Bertina

    The difference between Maher and Beck is one is a satirist and the other is evil.

    August 3, 2009 at 2:24 pm |
  34. Melissa

    In this case, I'm starting to agree with Maher and thats scary. Too many people in this country are letting themselves be scared by the ignorant Republicans.

    August 3, 2009 at 2:23 pm |
  35. Proud Pagan in VA

    @ Robert:
    Thanks for making Bill's point. Not only did this country "elect" Bush, we RE-"elected" him! To top it off, Palin has a devout following, along-side of Rush, Glen, and their ilk. To you, the sun shines out of their hind ends, even though you have no clue what their stances and policies actually do to the country. It's sad, it's sickening, and it's pathetic. If you want to live in your little Orwellian fantasy, far be it from me to stop you... but keep it to yourself.

    August 3, 2009 at 11:29 am |
  36. JEZEBEL58

    I don't understand all this nonsense,you are all in the land of the free.Take a look at Iran and N.Korea where things and rights are taken away,Glen wasn't too sure of what he was saying so he's excused.Some say we are define by the company we keep,not true-I am sure some of the writers here do have friends that do things that they don't and they are still friends with them.Kathy,if you are of caucasion descent maybe you should color your skin black for one day and go to restaurants,stores and job hunting with the best resume and see what it's like,I am sure you have had problems with racism but just try it as a black woman.I have said this before some of us are better off than others but not better because the better-offs have to work twice as hard to maintain that status.If jobs are being created by your president, Idon't think the job requirements says"blacks only"I agree with Mike-Sey,Masspector,Margaret and Michael,and people life is short ,enjoy your lives and stop stressing yourselves not liking other races but your own "you"are partially responsible for the blacks being in your free country.Go for walks early in the morningat 5:30 and get a whiff of the fresh air and then come back in and have that nice cup of coffee,your day would be one you would want to have many of.

    August 3, 2009 at 10:17 am |
  37. Jonathan Starr

    Comparing Bill Maher to Glenn Beck is unfair.

    Bill Maher provides solid reasoning behind his arguments. Glenn Beck is several crayons short of a working set. And he truly is a right wing nut job.

    If you look carefully into Maher's career, you'll notice that he can very critical of democrats, however, and is much more balanced than Beck.

    August 3, 2009 at 6:53 am |
  38. mARY

    What happened to the 1st amendment? These guys can say whatever they want – who cares! The fact is they are both right – America is a stupid country. It's pull towards socialism and left-wing ignorants shows how stupid it has become. and Obams is a racist. His outlook is only to help blacks and other minorities and he plans to do this by stealing from white people. I see he tax all of Hollywood liberals – He has the support and they certainly have enough money to fund all is social programs

    August 3, 2009 at 6:42 am |
  39. phyllisbrown

    I am sick -n-tied of right-wing putt'ng our President down, thank God he's try'ng 2 do the best he can.And some people say our President is a racist u all need 2 get help, one more thing we all need 2 pray every day and take a look in mirror at ourself.

    August 2, 2009 at 6:26 pm |
  40. John

    I'm sorry, but this was the worst combination you could possibly choose. You show Bill Maher saying the country is stupid, but then your next clip is of Glen Beck calling the president racist. And this isn't a stupid country? Frankly, by denying that America is a stupid country in the face of things like the "birther" movement, Sarah Palin being nominated for Vice-President and, our unbelievably weak democratic party you either: make Maher's point for him, or lend credibility to stupid people.

    August 2, 2009 at 6:03 pm |
  41. Paul Roberts

    I have paid in to medicare all my life , thinking when i get to be 65 i well have health care insurance paid up.so i can go ahead and retire well i got to 65 but i can get on medicare but my medical insurance is going to cost 5000 dollars per year, this it a large percent of with i well draw on social security. what did i pay in to medicare all thoughs years for?

    August 2, 2009 at 10:00 am |
  42. Bernice

    No, just your IQ, Mike-sey. Just yours! Americans may not end up being as stupid. however. I have a whole lot of faith in them together, AS WE THE PEOPLE! Research both sides! Then your IQ may go up a point or two. I have a funny feeling sir that yours may not really go up more than that! Look at all sides. Even Glen Beck will tell you that! Educate yourself! (at least a little bit). Research what he is tellin you people! It really will end up being the TRUTH. That seems to be the part that they don't want you to see. The truth! I have a very high IQ, btw. My brain thrives for more information, and takes advantage of seeing it from BOTH sides. I just did not like what I have found!! Lies and untruths that are about to smear abolish our constitution as we see it. was the harmful facts that I had to see, Maybe you should also. Open up your brains thoughts, and at least try. It may help to save your country in the end.

    August 2, 2009 at 6:47 am |
  43. Chrissy

    I think calling Obama a "racist" is an under-statement. I think he is anti-American all the way around, and his clonies are as well. Either that or they are just plain stupid and so are the majority of Americans that voted him in office. Course who really wanted McBush in there either. Whatever is happening in America will just have to play itself out and I have watched Glenn Beck and I am not sure what he expects the people to do! A revolt? Go pull Obama out of bed in his pajamas and toss him across the border.lol? This is all madness on both sides.

    August 1, 2009 at 11:25 pm |
  44. ronvan

    TV personalities! That is all they are. The fact that so many people listen and actually BELEIVE the trash they are saying is what is worrying. They serve NO purpose except to incite racism, perversion of facts, promote their ideas, based on ratings and those who are paying them! Free speech in this country could be part of its downfall.

    August 1, 2009 at 4:45 pm |
  45. Chris Summey

    Clearly all that raw cookie dough has clogged Glenn Beck's arteries that us to supply fresh blood to his brian...

    August 1, 2009 at 12:54 pm |
  46. mike-sey

    Sorry Bernice, America's IQ just dropped another 100 points after your post.

    August 1, 2009 at 7:21 am |
  47. pj06

    I kinda agreed with Bill Maher's comment about us being a "stupid country" . Especially when it comes to politics and making decisions about how to run this country and who should ren this country..
    I did not pay that much attention to politics until last year because I was energized by the thought of "Change " for this country. Changes that we all need, no matter if you're on the Left or the Right, Black or White. Good solid basic needs. (I don't need to go there, we all have them, whether you are Democrate or Republican)
    Now that Obama has won the election we are really getting to see what politics in this country is all about.... Everyday.
    Don't be fooled and think its about you, its not. Its about creating confusion if your party did'nt win, Everyday in the news to continue this battle of the will and powers that be.
    So, America will for the remainer of Obamas term have to be witness to this rhetoric. I hope and pray the majority of us get smart and learn something from this time in politics in America.
    Just know, the ones yelling the loudest, and coming out with the most shocking non-fact based information are not the smartest ones... They are just trying to pay their rent!

    July 31, 2009 at 2:15 pm |
  48. Bernice

    He did not give the impression that he is a racist? HA! All 125,000 jobs created as of yesterday were given to the minorities! What is that? Racism!!! Pure and simple. It goes against EVERYTHING that America stands for!

    Watch Glen Beck! At least he is telling you the harsh truth, no cherry coated news stories there! I, along with millions, agree with him! Watch him for a while. Research what he is telling you!! You will find that GLEN BECK is telling the truth to the American People! Isn't that what you want? THRUTH! ????? He is a man who dearly loves his country and has to live in a life of fear, just to tell you, THE AMERICANS, some thuth! GO GLEN BECK! WE LOVE YOU! Keep up the gr8 work of reporting the thruth to the people. We deserve to actually know some truth! He is trying to wake up the American People so they can fight for thier country! FIGHT FOR YOUR COUNTRY! You are losing it as each day passes and he IS telling the thruth. If he is a wingnut, then so are a whole bunch of Americans! They are sick of the lies being fed to us by other "cherry coated" stations!! I will always look for the truth. He seems to be looking right at it! Wingnuts....those Americans who think that all of these things are being done to us for our benefit! lol ....Now, there is a wingnut!

    July 31, 2009 at 1:50 pm |
  49. Will

    I'm not defending Glenn Beck, but I did want to point out an irony in the story today.

    Glenn Beck accused Barak Obama of being a racist. The CNN talking heads defended Obama saying that he could not be a racist because he has a white mother and used examples of Ram Emanuel and other white members of Obama's inner circle. So the defense was based on who he associates with.

    The "honarary" wingnut of the week award went to cop who sent the email comparing Prof. Gates' actions with a monkey. The cop attempted to defend himself with a defense based upon who he associated with (plenty of black friends / colleagues), but this defense was dismissed out of hand by the CNN talking heads as being less important than what he said in the email.

    So why were Obamas comments – calling the Cambridge police actions "Stupid" – not brought into question when evaluating whether or not he was racist? It has become clear that the situation between the Cambridge Police and Prof. Gates was proviked at least partially by Prof. Gates' actions (I will not call them Stupid). Pres. Obama's defense of Gates was perhaps based on his close freindship, but did race enter into his pre-judging of the situration?

    Shouldn't the same standard be used to judge both sides of this debate? If it is who you associate with that determines if you are racist or not, then judge both sides by that same standard. If it is the words that they used and the prejudice behind them that is the measure of whether or not someone is a racist, then, again, let's judge both sides by the same standard.

    Just Sayin'....

    July 31, 2009 at 12:27 pm |
  50. Bernice

    Wingnut?? lol GO GLEN BECK! Keep telling the people the thruth! Glen Beck IS telling us the thruth! I have checked out every word! Other stations are NOT telling you anything but the cherry coated side of things... Never the thruth! Watch Glen Beck a few times. You will see that for yourself! Hes the best!! Two thumbs up for BECK!!!!! When a presiden gives all 125,000 jobs newly created to the black people and disinclude the whites, what does that make him? RACIST! I agree with Glen Beck! So do millions of people! We are being lied to and he is the one BOLD ENOUGH to report it to you even tho it has put his and his family's life in danger! That is not a wingnut!! That is a man who truely loves his country! Anyone who says otherwise, does not! If they take the freedoms that Glen is trying to protect, you then deserve what racist actions are in for your future, but why should we all have to suffer because this is the WORST administration ever!! And, I WAS a democrat ...no longer shall I EVER BE! I say these thing not because I am unAmerican! ITS BECAUSE I AM! and, want to continue being. We may not if this administration has its way! If you think that you are not a stupid country, then watch both sides! Then, it will not take you very long to see that you are being misled and lied to daily!

    July 31, 2009 at 10:36 am |
  51. Michael

    This is all just silly, claims of racism just give fodder to the morons that still think being born white somehow makes them superior. I'm a 31 year old white man & when I encounter a racist they think just cause I'm white I'm on their side. I've chosen to treat them with the same disdain that they aim at minorities. We are all human, not just American, white black or brown, we are a Global community, we're all in this togeter. Rasism is over! Lets move foreward & ostrisize people not on board.

    July 31, 2009 at 8:56 am |
  52. sasha

    78 out of 100 highest educated counties went for Obama

    88 out of 100 most poorly educated counties went for McCain

    "We got too many Jim DeMints and Tom Coburns," Sen. George Voinovich (R-Ohio) told the Columbus Dispatch. "It's the southerners."
    Voinovich, a native Clevelander who retires after the 2010 election, continued after the southern elements of the GOP.

    "They get on TV and go 'errrr, errrrr,'" he said. "People hear them and say, 'These people, they're southerners. The party's being taken over by southerners. What they hell they got to do with Ohio?'"

    I would like anyone i- anyone in the media ask ALL REPUBLICANS to list all the successes of 8 years of BUSH.

    Will any of you do this?

    July 31, 2009 at 8:38 am |
  53. Margaret

    Unfortunately, it is a sad day for America, when we still have extremist, on either side that spew such hateful comments towards Americans and our leadership. I put NO credence in anything that comes out of the mouth of Glenn Beck. I view Mr. Beck the same way I view Rush L.and Ann Colter: "A lot of hot air, with no substance". In the case of Bill Maher, I do watch his HBO show regularly, and although, may not agree with all of his views, he at least conducts a show from both points of view. In defense of Mr. Maher, I two thought that we had some stupid and uninformed Americans that voted for Bush for yet a second term, after his horrific first term!! I now view the so called "stupid" in 2 categories: people who didn't know all the facts or who were just to afraid of change.And the other half as wealthy GOP's, who don't want change. Simply because the GOP philosophy, keeps them wealthy, healthy and a curve above the majority of Americans.

    July 31, 2009 at 8:21 am |
  54. Kathy

    Glenn Beck is one of the FEW people who actually believe Obama went to Rev. Wright's church for 20 years and DID listen and agree! He also believes that your friends define you...and sorry you don't like to hear it, but Obama's friends are angry at whites and want socialism to be the order of the day. My gosh, all you have to do is a little homework into who some of the czars are, into ACORN, and SEIU who meet w/ the President regularly.
    I say...GO GLENN...

    July 31, 2009 at 7:44 am |
  55. Larry

    The fact that Fox News even employs Glenn Beck shows how shallow and superflous their reporting of the news is.

    Beck has an answer for every problem in 5 easy steps. Just read his stupid books.

    President Obama has never, by any stretch of the imagination, given the impression that he is a racist. He's always shown he's a president for all people in this country.

    Beck needs to get a clue about what he's talking about. He's with Fox; fortunately we don't have to see his face and voice plastered all over every other channel.

    July 31, 2009 at 7:23 am |
  56. mike-sey

    This segment proved Bill Mahr's "Dumber by the Day" observation almost immediately with its follow ups. First "Glen Beck" and the Boston cop trying to explain his "jungle monkey" comment, then a segue to Michael Jackson and his cook, followed by the Defence Spending/ Earmarks Bill to provide the military with weaponry it didn't ask for.

    "Wingnut", I think not. Two thumbs up to Bill Mahr for stating and standing up for the obvious.

    July 31, 2009 at 7:10 am |
  57. Masspector

    What Maher says is 100% true. I have been saying for years. Americans are so stuck on wanting something for nothing. You entrust your child's future education to a person making $40K a year, yet we as a society have decided by the way we spend our money that it is ok to pay ball players millions of dollars a year. Sounds pretty stupid to me so far. And that is just the beginning.

    In my local area there are 3 new fire stations that were just built that will sit empty because the "smart" voters voted for a sales tax for the construction cost only, but forgot about how to pay to staff the facilities.

    Corporate executives making millions in bonuses while their companies fail. I am not against rewarding accomplishment, but come on. That is like passing the student that gets all F's.

    Americans have lost touch with the political process and what really matters. They are so worried about themselves individually, they have forgotten that we are all in this together. They do not know the meaning of sacrifice like our founding fathers did starving and dieing to create a free country. A rising tide lifts all boats.

    July 31, 2009 at 7:05 am |
  58. PJ06

    Not only should Glenn Beck be the WindNut of the Week, they should give the biggest one for the year to the Fox Network. I don't know where they find some of these people who they put on the show. It is an insult to common literacy and decency to call it news. Glenn Beck is trying to pay his bills and stay in the limelight and if it takes saying devisive, unfounded, ridiculous, dumb and stupid things, so be it....... Fox will give him a seat.
    To say the President is a racist and his Mother is White, how Stupid is that. I give Glenn Beck the Wingnut of the Month!!

    July 31, 2009 at 7:02 am |
  59. Regine Arlington, Virginia

    Good morning all,
    Why not use the Campbell Brown footage from last nite of Bill Bennett calling President Obama stupid, several times.
    The right wing would be livid if anyone on the left had called President Bush stupid on a News program. Remember the Republicans statements that any one who said something to disrespect the President was un-American. I guess that only applies to Presidents being the right color and belonging to the right party.
    Come on CNN roll the footage, discuss Bill Bennett comments.

    July 31, 2009 at 6:59 am |
  60. Robert

    I must also point out the foolishness of the line about Obama winning on the cross racial and left and right ideologies.

    Look at the people he has involved himself with. The people whom he has hired and so on. You as leftist Democrat lap dogs have of course heard and know of these fact but you will not report the truth. You are not allowed to and your own elitist attitude gets in the way.

    First of all if the author of this piece is so blind and naive to think that politicians don't lie to reach their ends. Should not be allowed to cross the street on his own.

    As to him(Obama) being multi-racial. Have you listened to him over the last 25 years? He has always considered and stated himself as an "African-American". Stop protecting the president and let him stand on his own.
    Just report and otherwise...shut the heck up.

    July 31, 2009 at 6:57 am |
  61. Sheree Adams

    Sadly, Bill Maher is right. Over this past election of President Obama and since his time in office, I have seen people who I consider fairly intelligent say the dumbest things. They dispensed with reason and have succumbed to all the rhetoric on Fox News which leads me to believe that racism has trumped intellect. How dumb is that?

    July 31, 2009 at 6:56 am |
  62. David from WI

    Beck calling the pres a racist well yeah a bit too far. Thing it the pres isn't exactly helping his own image. Rev Wright (how ever his name is spelled) The presidents last few comments and whole Gates Cop issue, even friends with radical Ayers doesn't help him and his willingness to not stick up for his family doesn't help him does it?

    Beck went to far but his on confusion isn't just his. I don't think the pres is a racist but I am more confused every time these things happen.

    Why would Bill Mahr say what he says (arrogant leftest jerk OK)
    Beck,, Doesn't know what is going on and has theories that might me WAYYY off but when the president own actions leads to more questions it doesn't help.

    I am a man on medicare that is 42 because I am disabled. The right might ignore people like me. But he left like Mahr would look down at me and Use me and their own far left past scare me. Their arrogance is pathetic.

    I would rather be ingord than used any day.

    Those two black professors you had on around 5:30 Central I think I could relate to SOOOOO much more and listen to and LEARN FROM than a man such as Prof Gates (sorry or Mr Roland Martin) Those men 'I' could have a gin and tonic with (sorry to my German/Austrian ancestors beer isn't my first choice)

    May be I am wrong it wouldn't be the first time but arrogance and privilege and class anger me more than wealth power or race (that might seem dumb but I do try to grow if not be a bit of a jerk sometimes myself)

    July 31, 2009 at 6:51 am |
  63. Tim

    Bill Maher is still a comedian not empolyed by CNN. Glen Beck, on the other hand, is an employee of Fox and should be fired, not justified to air his personal opions on "cable" networks and then have the executives say that his opinions don't reflect the station. Well duh - they hired him, right? Today it seems that one's political allegiance can be determined by what news they watch, and this started with Fox, a polarizing network. So, in that sense, I agree with Bill Maher.

    July 31, 2009 at 6:50 am |
  64. Robert

    Well I was trying to understand what you folks were saying. Which is difficult with your unending fellatio of Obama and the rest of his cronies. I did however get a little of your comments. When you spent a few MOMENTS on that idiot Maher calling the USA a stupid country. You did however spend several minutes debasing Beck.

    Typical of you anti-American leftist slugs. I mean you work for a company founded by an anti-American who gave the UN a billion,and was married to the traitor Fonda.

    So you of course love the Neo-Socialist sedition shouters in the White House.

    Understand that you are certainly NOT possessed of journalistic integrity. If however you wished to do so,realize that the administration you are bending over for will eventually bury you with the rest of our freedoms and the US Constitution and the Bill of Rights will be our shrouds.

    Wake up and act like un-biased reporters are supposed to. I know too much to ask.

    July 31, 2009 at 6:49 am |
  65. keith

    While I don't completely agree with Bill Maher on the "America is stupid comment" I do understand his position. All one has to do is listen to Fox news. His comments on Sarah Palin were dead on!
    She's the American equivalent of Irans Adjaminidad, never been anywhere, a myopic view of the world, and unaware of history.
    Glenn Beck is just ignorant!

    July 31, 2009 at 6:44 am |
  66. Bill

    Although Bill Maher was rude in his comment and often is; he is really correct. We do not value education or learning. We have one of the lowest percentages of educated people in the western world. We tend to choose people like Glen Beck and Rush over educated thoughtful people like Colin Powell. We listen to people Sarah Palin who appeal to people who choose not to think, not to read a newspaper, not to analyze, but to react viscerally on every issue. Look at the signs at her rallies and the people who call out. She brings out the worst levels in people and yet we give her press and treat her as if she is special. On CNN you bring educated people to forefront on issues; but that is not the norm. Our lack of intellectual analysis as created the polarized approach we take because we tend to listen to 6t0 second sound bites from undereducated people and form opinions. It may end up being our downfall. Bill Maher was wrong in his approach but he was right in his substance. Glen Beck is a wingnut and his popularity like that of Rush is frightening.

    July 31, 2009 at 6:44 am |
  67. Richard Croker

    Some people will say anything, regardless of how harmful or inaccurate it might be, to gain a quarter of a ratings point and a guest shot on The Situation Room.

    July 31, 2009 at 6:42 am |
  68. Bob

    Hello,
    I don't like Bill Maher or Glen Beck and change the channel as soon as I see either of them on television, but I have to say that Bill has a point about America being stupid. Stupid may be the wrong word, but he proved his point by example of Sarah Palin.

    July 31, 2009 at 6:38 am |
  69. David from WI

    I think Beck isn't as bad by a long shot and this is why. Beck admits he MIGHT be full of crap and you have to think for yourself and no be led. He comes across as nuts but he doesn't say is might not be (if you know what I mean)

    Maher is so GD arrogant and holier than thou. He seems to be so smug and superior. He as disdain for those he this are 'below' him yet not even attempt to try to under stand them.

    Not a great comparison.

    Beck seems like he can LEARN and admit wrong Maher it is beneath him as are many Americans it would seem if you would listen to him.

    I could be wrong. I am just an idiot just ask Maher 🙂 (I am also not a pro writer or journalist either)

    July 31, 2009 at 6:28 am |
  70. Gayle Fleming

    I don't believe America is stupid country and I do think it was wrong of Bill Maher to say that. I do however cringe when I hear people say and believe that the proposed health care plan would send government employees to the homes of senior citizens and force them to choose how to die or when to die OR that the president hasn't proven he was born in the US. I mean it does make one wonder if the dumbing down of our educational system and our news has made our citizenry less discerning in their thinking.

    July 31, 2009 at 6:20 am |