MSNBC host Chris Hayes and HBO comedian Bill Maher questioned whether “outrage brushfires” routinely sweeping the media — as in the case of racist Clippers owner Donald Sterling — are a positive for America, with Maher saying he doesn’t “shy away from the fact that liberals are sometimes obnoxious.”
The two hyper-liberal pundits bucked conventional wisdom Tuesday night by holding a measured conversation about the Sterling saga — albeit, with the requisite hits on Rush Limbaugh and conservative Republicans — wondering whether perhaps the uproar over the racist basketball team owner is indicative of a larger, negative trend in American politics.
“People still have a right to be an ass,” Maher said, “and it is creepy that you get recorded in your own home . . . The creepy part is that, when you get taped in your own house and then that goes out to the world.”
“Again, no one here is defending Don Sterling,” he added, “but that’s what’s creepy to me, is that we can’t even speak in our own house anymore. I don’t even know how that tape gets out there — I dunno why that’s legal — but I’m much more concerned about things like that than I am the NSA, which I’m concerned about too.”
Hayes wondered whether this is one of those situations where “a liberal PC lynch mob” descends on an issue and blows it far it out proportion, playing a recent Maher clip where the comedian excoriates “political-correctness Nazis.”
Maher took pains to explain that his broader point – of course – concerned how Republicans win elections despite not representing anyone Bill Maher deems worthy. But, he explained, he “doesn’t shy away from the fact that liberals are sometimes obnoxious.”
“Yeah, I think that there’s something to this kind of mode of scolding,” Hayes said, “or the fact that we have now — particularly with social media — these kind of outrage brushfires happen more routinely, it seems to me.”
“And there are times when even I, who’s someone who kind of — I don’t know — makes my living chronicling these outrage brushfires,” Hayes continued, “wonders if we do end up — it is striking to me that Donald Sterling’s lawsuit payout on housing discrimination is going to get about 1/1000 of the coverage that we’re going to give to this taped conversation.”
“Absolutely,” Maher agreed. “ESPN seems to have found it’s Malaysian plane,” he cracked, referring to CNN’s obsessive coverage with the missing jetliner at the expense of all other news.
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