This week’s "Real Time with Bill Maher" show had me thinking on several levels. Bill found himself defending Laura Ingraham, and I found myself strongly disagreeing with Bill. Laura, if you will remember, made disparaging comments about Parkland survivor David Hogg’s rejection from four colleges. An insensitive thing to do, it was far from the worst thing she has ever said. The first amendment gave her every right to say it though, and David’s sudden unwanted notoriety puts him in the position of target for the extremists in our media.
David then used the media to his own advantage. He tweeted his dislike of Ingram’s actions, and asked his followers (over 700,000 of them) to boycott the sponsors of Ingraham’s show. Bill felt this was wrong. Of course he lost a show in the early part of this century when a similar thing happened to him, so he might be biased, but he felt messing with her livelihood went beyond what he should have done.
I, on the other hand, think it is exactly what he should have done. He didn’t threaten anyone or even attack anyone. He asked Americans to use self-censorship to let the sponsors know that we didn’t agree with Laura Ingraham’s radical viewpoints. This system worked, and eighteen of her sponsors dropped her show. She took a week’s “vacation,” and it will be interesting to see what happens next.
I understand Bill’s discomfort with a tweet being able to bring down a show, but David has the same first amendment rights as Ingraham, and he used the media effectively to counter her attack on him. I wondered how companies like Johnson & Johnson, Nestlė, and Wayfair (to name a few) supported her homophonic, racists beliefs in the past and find it interesting that this is the issue that they are standing up for, but it is nice to see the system working.
The other topic that interested me on this week’s show also dealt with the media. Bill had Geraldo Rivera on as a guest and questioned Geraldo's support of our current President. Geraldo explained that Trump has always been nice to him (not a particularly stellar reason to support someone whose agenda is against all you have ever worked towards), and he believes that the news media is inappropriate in their behavior towards the President.
As I have mentioned before, I believe the media does go too far in their treatment of the man who was elected to hold the office of President of the United States. It is definitely their responsibility to expose all of the inconsistencies in the White House and make us aware of any illegal happenings. If there was collusion with Russia, we need to know. If our taxpayers’ money is being misappropriated, that must be exposed. If visitors to our country are being abused rather than welcomed, the media needs to share this with us.
We do not, however, need to see pictures every time that Trump’s comb-over flies like the flag on a windy day. We do not have to watch Melania rebuff him ( you go girl) constantly, because that has little to do with our “right to know.” I was in the Veterans’ Administration Office the other day and saw a perfectly normal, official picture of Donald Trump hanging on the wall. I did a double take, because I didn’t realize the man could actually look normal. The media consistently uses those pictures that we would have made our parents throw away when we were younger.
Rather than fulfilling their jobs to give us all of the information that we have the right to know, the media is being vindictive to a man who admittedly deserves their wrath. He has called them liars, he has shut them out of meetings, and he has refused to honestly answer their questions, but they should be above retaliation. They should deliver our news without bias and show us all sides of any administration that happens to be in Office. It will always be their job to report the news, not shape the news.
I was impressed at how well Geraldo held his own against Maher though. He admitted that he disagreed with most of the president’s policies. He supports a woman’s right to choose, immigration and equal rights for all and is aware that Trump doesn’t agree with him, but he also believes that Trump has done some good this past year and challenges the media to show both sides. Bill tried his hardest to trip him up a bit, but Geraldo never lost his cool.
The book that I read this past week, The last Trial(McMurtrie and Drake Legal Thrillers Book 3) by Robert Bailey, was a well written legal thriller that described the Deep South so well that I began craving grits and cornbread. Bailey’s characters are so genuinely portrayed that the reader becomes truly invested in the outcome.
As always a complete review follows this blog.