ABC “fact-checked” the Obama press conference, today -
President Obama ducked a question on whether liberal commentators are just as insulting as Rush Limbaugh has been toward Sandra Fluke.
Obama was asked at his press conference today about sponsors pulling out of Limbaugh’s show and liberals in the media who provoke people (Obama super PAC donor Bill Maher comes to mind) with similar statements. Limbaugh called Fluke, a Georgetown law student who testified to Congress about contraception, a “slut” and a “prostitute” on his show and has repeatedly insulted her.
Obama said he wouldn’t comment on the sponsors jumping ship, and that “I don’t know what’s in Rush Limbaugh’s heart, so I’m not going to comment on the sincerity of his apology.” He also ignored the part of the question on liberal commentators.
What he did do was talk about his call to Fluke.
“The reason I called Miss Fluke is because I thought about Malia and Sasha, and one of the things I want them to do and one of the things I want them to do as they get older is engage in issues,” he said. “I don’t want them attacked or called horrible names because they’re being good citizens, and I wanted Sandra to know that — that I thought her parents should be proud of her, and that we want to send a message to all our young people that being part of a democracy involves argument, disagreements and debate, and we want you to be engaged and there’s a way to do it that doesn’t involve you being demeaned and insulted, particularly when you’re a private citizen.”
It’s nice that someone asked what he thought about liberal commentators saying similarly insulting things, but why no specific question about million dollar Obama donor, Bill Maher, who is notorious for his repulsive and brutally sexist smears of conservative women? As the ABC Fact-checker noted, “Obama super PAC donor, Bill Maher comes to mind”. Every reporter in that room probably had the Maher hypocrisy in his mind, but neglected to bother the President about it. Media malpractice, given the fact that Maher’s donation is recent big news, and Maher has a long history of extreme incivility on the air.
According to Newsbusters,
■ On March 18, 2011, Maher, on his HBO show Real Time, employed a crude term for a female body part when talking about Sarah Palin: “Sarah Palin finally heard what happened in Japan, and she’s demanding that we invade Tsunami. I mean, she says, ‘These Tsunamians will not get away with this.’ Oh speaking of dumb twats….”■ A week later, on his March 25 show, Maher insulted Palin and Michele Bachman as “bimbos.” Talking about the GOP field, Maher argued: “If Bachmann and Palin get in, that’s two bimbos, and then there’s Mitt Romney, a millionaire, and Newt Gingrich, a professor. We just need a skipper and a buddy – we’ve got Gilligan’s Island.”■ Two days after that, on March 28, Maher employed the C-word in talking about Palin during a show in Dallas. According to a favorable review in the Dallas Voice: “It’s that fearlessness — he acknowledged that some people would probably be uncomfortable with some of his remarks about religion, not to mention calling Sarah Palin a ‘cunt’ (‘there’s just no other word for her’) — that makes Maher the most dangerous person in comedy.”But none of this prompted any of the scolding that has greeted Limbaugh’s transgression. In fact, in the days and months that followed, CNN and MSNBC cheerfully included Maher a dozen times as a guest in their line-up. Only Chuck Todd, filling for Chris Matthews on Hardball, brought up Maher’s vicious comments just one day after the day after his Dallas event: “Any regrets on what you said?”Maher, predictably, said he wasn’t sorry: “I’m not trying to hurt somebody’s feelings. But if you want me to say ‘I’m sorry, what I said was wrong,’ no, sorry, I can’t go there.”
Don’t worry, according to the President, it’s OK to speak that way as long as it’s not about a private citizen, like the oh-so-private, reluctant, reproductive rights heroine, Sandra Fluke.