Bill Maher On The Dangers Of The Rally To Restore Sanity

“If you’re going to have a rally where hundreds of thousands of people show up, you might as well go ahead and make it about something.”

Bill Maher lambasts the Jon Stewart/Stephen Colbert “Rally to Restore Sanity” as misguided in its call for “moderation” at a time when clear-headed people should be standing up firmly for what’s right. Right on, I say.

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  • Andrew Davies

    Ahh, some people just don’t get it.

  • http://adavies.org/ Andrew Davies

    Ahh, some people just don’t get it.

    • Honu

      Oh i get it. And I even appreciate the sentiment but all in all, we need more blowback from the left. The right still has no real thoughtful agenda, just lies and manipulations. All this stuff coming from Stewart sounds too conciliatory to me. Where’s the right’s conciliation? And there is too much talk from Stewart about false equivalencies.

      • chinagreenelvis

        Where are the equivalencies? There is a pervasive perception that the rally was saying “both sides are valid, we need to be in between,” but that is simply not the message. The message was that without honest, sincere and reasonable debate, we will not be able to draw the lines on what is right and what is wrong. Far from exemplifying duality, he was very clear in illustrating the point that regular people don’t tend to fall neatly into boxes labeled “left” and “right” and the picture of extremes that is painted by the media is a caricature of where we individually stand.

        To make this about left and right specifically ignores the message entirely. It is a corruption of the values that were being championed.

        • Honu

          To Tuna: Yes, I do believe the left shouldn’t be conciliatory either. Maher got it exactly right. The right and their extremes scream and yell and bully and push the national dialogue further and further right then when there’s talk of ‘meeting in the middle’ the middle is further right than it was before. Progress is happening whether the right likes it or not and there’s a strong stew of underground and grassroots movements that aren’t being represented by the Democrats.

          To Chinagreenelvis: I wasn’t at the rally so I can’t say for sure what it represented but as you said there is a perception of it. And beyong the rally, Stewart has been lately talking more and more about the so called extremes of the left in the same sentence as the extremes of the right and the scale simply isn’t balanced. I’m not arguing for the Democrats and their positions as I’m very disappointed in some of the policies of Obama et al but there aren’t that many media voices that fairly represent those of us on the left of the political spectrum and Stewart has proven to be a thoughtful and accurate social critic over the years. When Stewart had Obama on his show days before the election, he talked to Obama as if he was just a dude. Trying to keep things loose and hip gave a strange impression for having a sitting President as a guest. Then he proceeded to essentially grill him with critical questions. It wasn’t a nasty interview but, with days before the election, Stewart decides to go critical instead of trying to help Obama highlight his accomplishments. Now we have tea partiers in government. I’m not saying not to follow your vision of unbiased work but at the same time, with Fox, talk radio and the mainstream media giving alot of credence to otherwise uncredible politicians and organizations, there needs to be more credible and loud progressive voices on the left. I thought John Stewart was one of them. I still think he is but maybe not quite like he once was. And your comment about regular people not falling into neat left and right boxes, that’s not the point. The national dialogue playing out is about left and right in many ways and even though most people are a mixture of many ideas, it’s a war of ideology on the boob tube and it means something. If progressive voices aren’t heard and seen, there will be a sense that right thinking and ideology is normal and the way to be. That’s where the blowback has to be in my opinion. Of course a serious grassroots movement would be nice.

          • chinagreenelvis

            I think both Stewart and myself find integrity more important than ideology. I think to expect him to be some kind of figurehead for the left is a mistake. Trying to put him in terms of left and right is a mistake. He’s a news satirist and not an ideologue. He himself has pointed out his respect for people he classifies as also not being ideologues.

          • Honu

            I don’t think Stewart has integrity with this position. Like I said, I don’t think the overall sentiment of the rally as I understand it, is a good one. The emotions and tone in politics is real nasty and it would be great to have a more reasoned discourse. That doesn’t address the nature of the media battle being played out in politics however. Jon in the past was very good at putting his finger on this. Maybe he’s just disappointed in Obama and has decided to step away from aligning with the left the way he used to. What Maher says in this clip is insightful.

          • Honu

            whups, meant to say, ‘I think the overall sentiment of the rally is a good one’.

          • chinagreenelvis

            Earlier this week, Stewart had Chris Wallace from Fox News as a guest. Not only did he take quite a number of well targeted punches at that network, he also had something very interesting to say about MSNBC. In regards to its liberal slant, he said that they were “cute” in comparison, and that Fox were like the Jedi Masters of media manipulation.

            He also said that if MSNBC want to be the antithesis to Fox, they shouldn’t be engaging in partisan hackery and making themselves more liberal, he said what they should be doing is raising their standards of integrity.

            Stewart wants to see the media cleaned up, plain and simple. I think that if the Rally itself had crossed that line and tried to illustrate that one particular network or movement is “more” manipulative than the other it would have muddied the message. You can’t bring people together if you say, something like “Mr. Black and Mr. White, I’d like to see you two stop screaming at each other and I’d rather you sit down and discuss things in a reasonable manner and not distort the truth when you speak. Also, Mr. White, you’ve been distorting the truth more than Mr. Black. Okay, go.”

            The same can be said when you have a fight with your partner or spouse. What happens is that eventually, someone apologizes for having done something wrong, then the other person also apologizes for the things that they did wrong. They don’t worry about who was “more” wrong – if they did, the fight would start all over again.

        • Tchoutoye

          1200+ architects and engineers argue that a 47-storey building collapsing for no apparent reason defies the laws of physics. Stewart, not a professional engineer but a comedian who gives neo-Cons that breached the Geneva convention airtime to promote their rehabilitation, denounces the architects and engineers as insane. Who is being sincere and reasonable?

          • chinagreenelvis

            There is a pretty distinct difference between someone who takes a particular stance on a question of physics and someone who undoubtedly draws the conclusion that the United States government orchestrated the destruction of the World Trade Center.

            Claming the argument is an extreme position is not the same thing as dismissing the evidence presented for it.

            I could say that my friend is a vet and he knows that all dogs are smart. I conclude that because the vet says all dogs are smart, that one day they will rule the planet. If someone suggests that I’m a looney, does that also negate the opinion of my friend?

          • Tuna Ghost

            “1200+ architects and engineers argue that a 47-storey building collapsing for no apparent reason defies the laws of physics”

            Disengenious statement, buddy. Nobody think WTC 7 collapsed for “no apparent reason”. It collapsed from weakness caused by several unfought fires on several floors and debris destroying the central support column. You can find lucid, rational explanations on how this occured (including blueprints of the building showing the severed column) in many, many places. Anyone who still thinks WTC 7 fell “for no apparent reason” is either woefully misinformed or deluding themselves.

            Please, everyone, enough with the 1200 + engineers and architects stuff. Until you can provide documentation for that, and NOT be relying on the studies of a man (Stephen Jones) who was last famous for providing “evidence” that the events depicted in the book of Mormon are true, please just knock it off.

      • Tuna Ghost

        So because they’re not conciliatory, the left shouldn’t be either? Do you really think that’s a recipe for progress? What exactly do you mean by “blowback”?

  • chinagreenelvis

    Yes. Let’s not have a non-political Rally to Restore Sanity for the newsmedia led by people who have scrutinized it for twelve years and who are qualified to make the kinds of jokes that they do, let’s have a Rally to Motivate a Liberal Base instead! Good idea, Bill! Good job hijacking someone else’s message for your own means!

    Only people so far from the center that they can’t see the holes in their own worldviews would refer to this as a liberal rally. Were liberals in attendance? Yes. But the rally itself was not liberal. It wasn’t even political.

    It. Wasn’t. Political.

    Nor should it have been. Jon Stewart is a fake newscaster who pokes fun at the real news. That’s his job, and he does it very, very well. It’s not his job to tell us all to go out and vote Democrat, and I’m so very glad that he is sane enough to know where to draw the line on showing his own ideological leanings. He clearly has them, but he does his absolute best not to let that get in the way of his job. He doesn’t always succeed, especially where the interviews are concerned, but it absolutely isn’t from lack of effort.

  • chinagreenelvis

    Yes. Let’s not have a non-political Rally to Restore Sanity for the newsmedia led by people who have scrutinized it for twelve years and who are qualified to make the kinds of jokes that they do, let’s have a Rally to Motivate a Liberal Base instead! Good idea, Bill! Good job hijacking someone else’s message for your own means!

    Only people so far from the center that they can’t see the holes in their own worldviews would refer to this as a liberal rally. Were liberals in attendance? Yes. But the rally itself was not liberal. It wasn’t even political.

    It. Wasn’t. Political.

    Nor should it have been. Jon Stewart is a fake newscaster who pokes fun at the real news. That’s his job, and he does it very, very well. It’s not his job to tell us all to go out and vote Democrat, and I’m so very glad that he is sane enough to know where to draw the line on showing his own ideological leanings. He clearly has them, but he does his absolute best not to let that get in the way of his job. He doesn’t always succeed, especially where the interviews are concerned, but it absolutely isn’t from lack of effort.

    • chinagreenelvis

      Ugh. And to say something like ‘there are no moderates on the other side” and to qualify it merely by using the public’s perception of congressional representatives is exactly the kind of thing that this rally was about being more aware of.

    • chinagreenelvis

      The bottom line is that saying “we should be sane enough to talk about our different points of view” is not the same thing as saying “both our points of view are equally valid.” What it’s saying is that being sane gives us a platform to really figure out where those points of view go wrong, and ultimately, which one is better. Shouting about them hurts more than it helps.

      • Honu

        well, while I agree with what you’re saying, if you’ve been paying attention to the past 10 years of political dialogue, you’ll notice that there’s a complete absence of common sense. There is no sane platform from which there’s an established and understood set of beliefs about the way the world works that will help dictate which point of view has credibility or not. The right has effectively destroyed our previous definitions of how to effectively critique an argument because there’s always accusations or vitriol and obscene amounts of money going to ridiculous organizations that are put together to refute science or humanistic perspectives. This is why we have continuing arguments about global warming despite the fact that the majority of the science community supports it for example. The whole notion of being politically neutral in this time in history I think demonstrates either a naivete or a fear of engagement.

        • chinagreenelvis

          That’s a good place to start, removing corporate and private monetary influence from government. I hope that one day it can be done.

  • chinagreenelvis

    Ugh. And to say something like ‘there are no moderates on the other side” and to qualify it merely by using the public’s perception of congressional representatives is exactly the kind of thing that this rally was about being more aware of.

  • chinagreenelvis

    The bottom line is that saying “we should be sane enough to talk about our different points of view” is not the same thing as saying “both our points of view are equally valid.” What it’s saying is that being sane gives us a platform to really figure out where those points of view go wrong, and ultimately, which one is better. Shouting about them hurts more than it helps.

  • Ajsilver42

    It was about sending a public message of our willingness and need to listen to each other. However, I’d say that the Republicans have spent the last two years humming loudly with their fingers in their ears!

    I really like Maher’s description of how the center is drifting.

  • Ajsilver42

    It was about sending a public message of our willingness and need to listen to each other. However, I’d say that the Republicans have spent the last two years humming loudly with their fingers in their ears!

    I really like Maher’s description of how the center is drifting.

  • Payrollpinky

    I like John Stewart he funny

  • Payrollpinky

    I like John Stewart he funny

  • Word Eater

    Bill Maher is really saying, “Dammit, where’s my rally?”

  • Word Eater

    Bill Maher is really saying, “Dammit, where’s my rally?”

  • Honu

    Oh i get it. And I even appreciate the sentiment but all in all, we need more blowback from the left. The right still has no real thoughtful agenda, just lies and manipulations. All this stuff coming from Stewart sounds too conciliatory to me. Where’s the right’s conciliation? And there is too much talk from Stewart about false equivalencies.

  • chinagreenelvis

    Where are the equivalencies? There is a pervasive perception that the rally was saying “both sides are valid, we need to be in between,” but that is simply not the message. The message was that without honest, sincere and reasonable debate, we will not be able to draw the lines on what is right and what is wrong. Far from exemplifying duality, he was very clear in illustrating the point that regular people don’t tend to fall neatly into boxes labeled “left” and “right” and the picture of extremes that is painted by the media is a caricature of where we individually stand.

    To make this about left and right specifically ignores the message entirely. It is a corruption of the values that were being championed.

  • Tuna Ghost

    So because they’re not conciliatory, the left shouldn’t be either? Do you really think that’s a recipe for progress? What exactly do you mean by “blowback”?

  • Tuna Ghost

    Bill Maher is a horse’s ass, but I understand the sentiment. The problem as I see it, however, is that political people like Maher can only see things in terms of politics. I don’t think Stewart’s rally was primarily political.

  • Tuna Ghost

    Bill Maher is a horse’s ass, but I understand the sentiment. The problem as I see it, however, is that political people like Maher can only see things in terms of politics. I don’t think Stewart’s rally was primarily political.

    • chinagreenelvis

      Exactly!

  • Honu

    To Tuna: Yes, I do believe the left shouldn’t be conciliatory either. Maher got it exactly right. The right and their extremes scream and yell and bully and push the national dialogue further and further right then when there’s talk of ‘meeting in the middle’ the middle is further right than it was before. Progress is happening whether the right likes it or not and there’s a strong stew of underground and grassroots movements that aren’t being represented by the Democrats.

    To Chinagreenelvis: I wasn’t at the rally so I can’t say for sure what it represented but as you said there is a perception of it. And beyong the rally, Stewart has been lately talking more and more about the so called extremes of the left in the same sentence as the extremes of the right and the scale simply isn’t balanced. I’m not arguing for the Democrats and their positions as I’m very disappointed in some of the policies of Obama et al but there aren’t that many media voices that fairly represent those of us on the left of the political spectrum and Stewart has proven to be a thoughtful and accurate social critic over the years. When Stewart had Obama on his show days before the election, he talked to Obama as if he was just a dude. Trying to keep things loose and hip gave a strange impression for having a sitting President as a guest. Then he proceeded to essentially grill him with critical questions. It wasn’t a nasty interview but, with days before the election, Stewart decides to go critical instead of trying to help Obama highlight his accomplishments. Now we have tea partiers in government. I’m not saying not to follow your vision of unbiased work but at the same time, with Fox, talk radio and the mainstream media giving alot of credence to otherwise uncredible politicians and organizations, there needs to be more credible and loud progressive voices on the left. I thought John Stewart was one of them. I still think he is but maybe not quite like he once was. And your comment about regular people not falling into neat left and right boxes, that’s not the point. The national dialogue playing out is about left and right in many ways and even though most people are a mixture of many ideas, it’s a war of ideology on the boob tube and it means something. If progressive voices aren’t heard and seen, there will be a sense that right thinking and ideology is normal and the way to be. That’s where the blowback has to be in my opinion. Of course a serious grassroots movement would be nice.

  • chinagreenelvis

    I think both Stewart and myself find integrity more important than ideology. I think to expect him to be some kind of figurehead for the left is a mistake. Trying to put him in terms of left and right is a mistake. He’s a news satirist and not an ideologue. He himself has pointed out his respect for people he classifies as also not being ideologues.

  • Anonymous

    1200+ architects and engineers argue that a 47-storey building collapsing for no apparent reason defies the laws of physics. Stewart, not a professional engineer but a comedian who gives neo-Cons that breached the Geneva convention airtime to promote their rehabilitation, denounces the architects and engineers as insane. Who is being sincere and reasonable?

  • Anonymous

    Stewart is funnier than Maher, but we shouldn’t get carried away by entertainment value. What Maher has to say is ultimately more relevant.

  • Tchoutoye

    Stewart is funnier than Maher, but we shouldn’t get carried away by entertainment value. What Maher has to say is ultimately more relevant.

    • chinagreenelvis

      No, you merely agree with it more.

  • Honu

    I don’t think Stewart has integrity with this position. Like I said, I don’t think the overall sentiment of the rally as I understand it, is a good one. The emotions and tone in politics is real nasty and it would be great to have a more reasoned discourse. That doesn’t address the nature of the media battle being played out in politics however. Jon in the past was very good at putting his finger on this. Maybe he’s just disappointed in Obama and has decided to step away from aligning with the left the way he used to. What Maher says in this clip is insightful.

  • Honu

    whups, meant to say, ‘I think the overall sentiment of the rally is a good one’.

  • Honu

    well, while I agree with what you’re saying, if you’ve been paying attention to the past 10 years of political dialogue, you’ll notice that there’s a complete absence of common sense. There is no sane platform from which there’s an established and understood set of beliefs about the way the world works that will help dictate which point of view has credibility or not. The right has effectively destroyed our previous definitions of how to effectively critique an argument because there’s always accusations or vitriol and obscene amounts of money going to ridiculous organizations that are put together to refute science or humanistic perspectives. This is why we have continuing arguments about global warming despite the fact that the majority of the science community supports it for example. The whole notion of being politically neutral in this time in history I think demonstrates either a naivete or a fear of engagement.

  • Marc

    I like Maher and his kind of humor… especially when it comes to religion… but how can he still ignore 9/11… I mean ok, the climate change thing is something that can be debated…but 9/11??? How is that not clear to anyone with the IQ of Maher (which is obviously not that low)…

  • Marc

    I like Maher and his kind of humor… especially when it comes to religion… but how can he still ignore 9/11… I mean ok, the climate change thing is something that can be debated…but 9/11??? How is that not clear to anyone with the IQ of Maher (which is obviously not that low)…

  • chinagreenelvis

    Earlier this week, Stewart had Chris Wallace from Fox News as a guest. Not only did he take quite a number of well targeted punches at that network, he also had something very interesting to say about MSNBC. In regards to its liberal slant, he said that they were “cute” in comparison, and that Fox were like the Jedi Masters of media manipulation.

    He also said that if MSNBC want to be the antithesis to Fox, they shouldn’t be engaging in partisan hackery and making themselves more liberal, he said what they should be doing is raising their standards of integrity.

    Stewart wants to see the media cleaned up, plain and simple. I think that if the Rally itself had crossed that line and tried to illustrate that one particular network or movement is “more” manipulative than the other it would have muddied the message. You can’t bring people together if you say, something like “Mr. Black and Mr. White, I’d like to see you two stop screaming at each other and I’d rather you sit down and discuss things in a reasonable manner and not distort the truth when you speak. Also, Mr. White, you’ve been distorting the truth more than Mr. Black. Okay, go.”

    The same can be said when you have a fight with your partner or spouse. What happens is that eventually, someone apologizes for having done something wrong, then the other person also apologizes for the things that they did wrong. They don’t worry about who was “more” wrong – if they did, the fight would start all over again.

  • chinagreenelvis

    There is a pretty distinct difference between someone who takes a particular stance on a question of physics and someone who undoubtedly draws the conclusion that the United States government orchestrated the destruction of the World Trade Center.

    Claming the argument is an extreme position is not the same thing as dismissing the evidence presented for it.

    I could say that my friend is a vet and he knows that all dogs are smart. I conclude that because the vet says all dogs are smart, that one day they will rule the planet. If someone suggests that I’m a looney, does that also negate the opinion of my friend?

  • chinagreenelvis

    No, you merely agree with it more.

  • chinagreenelvis

    Exactly!

  • chinagreenelvis

    That’s a good place to start, removing corporate and private monetary influence from government. I hope that one day it can be done.

  • Tuna Ghost

    “1200+ architects and engineers argue that a 47-storey building collapsing for no apparent reason defies the laws of physics”

    Disengenious statement, buddy. Nobody think WTC 7 collapsed for “no apparent reason”. It collapsed from weakness caused by several unfought fires on several floors and debris destroying the central support column. You can find lucid, rational explanations on how this occured (including blueprints of the building showing the severed column) in many, many places. Anyone who still thinks WTC 7 fell “for no apparent reason” is either woefully misinformed or deluding themselves.

    Please, everyone, enough with the 1200 + engineers and architects stuff. Until you can provide documentation for that, and NOT be relying on the studies of a man (Stephen Jones) who was last famous for providing “evidence” that the events depicted in the book of Mormon are true, please just knock it off.

  • Miguel

    The Right didn’t start the comparison of Obama to Hitler. That started with Lyndon LaRouche organizers who supported Rep. Conyers’ bill for single-payer, and attacked Obama’s health care “reform” because it sought to create a independent board to ration care. Why would the Obama Admin. want to ration care? Because it spent billions to bail out investment banks and therefore seeks to impose major spending cuts. It’s the same reason bankers and industrialists financed Hitler’s rise to power–they needed a political leader who would be willing to push fascist austerity on Germany in the wake of the financial crisis of the ’20s. Obama’s no dictator, but his economic policies (which he is probably not the author of) are indeed fascist. Hardly an unfounded comparison.

  • Miguel

    The Right didn’t start the comparison of Obama to Hitler. That started with Lyndon LaRouche organizers who supported Rep. Conyers’ bill for single-payer, and attacked Obama’s health care “reform” because it sought to create a independent board to ration care. Why would the Obama Admin. want to ration care? Because it spent billions to bail out investment banks and therefore seeks to impose major spending cuts. It’s the same reason bankers and industrialists financed Hitler’s rise to power–they needed a political leader who would be willing to push fascist austerity on Germany in the wake of the financial crisis of the ’20s. Obama’s no dictator, but his economic policies (which he is probably not the author of) are indeed fascist. Hardly an unfounded comparison.

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