To watch, Or Not to watch, Real Time with Bill Maher this Friday
by Lawrence Pfeil, Jr
In a pluralistic society the free and open exchange of ideas and values is essential. What if those ideas and values are hate filled, racist, and white nationalist?
That is at the center of major controversy erupting this week at HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher” after booking Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos as a panelist, prompting frequent panelist Jeremey Scahill to cancel his appearance the same night. In a statement Scahill said
“He has ample venues to spew his hateful diatribes. There is no value in ‘debating’ him,” Scahill tweeted. Appearing on Maher’s show will give Yiannopoulos a major platform for “his racist, anti-immigrant campaign,” wrote Scahill, co-founding editor of The Intercept news website. Scahill said he respects Maher’s show as an arena for debate and discussion but called Yiannopoulos “many bridges too far.”
In statement released late Wednesday, Bill Maher said
“If Mr. Yiannopoulos is indeed the monster Scahill claims – and he might be — nothing could serve the liberal cause better than having him exposed on Friday night.”
But does it really? Is there anyone who doesn’t know Milo is a racist, Alt-Right, white nationalistic hate monger? Or that he is an infected pus filled abscess inside the rectum of the gay Community?
Though often misattributed to Voltaire, it was Evelyn Beatrice Hall who said, “I do not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it;” and Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis who said, “The cure for bad speech is more speech.” If we believe in the Freedom of Speech, Americans must accept the good, the bad, and the ugly that people have to say.
So the real question becomes, do we have to give them a platform and microphone from which to spout it? Milo was permanently banned from Twitter after his unwarranted and racist attack on SNL star, Leslie Jones.
Bill Maher frequently has right wing guests like Ann Colter and Grover Norquist who are never going to concede a point, but they do make for fiery debate. The difference is they’re not hate mongers and white nationalists.
If Real Time’s panel included a neo-Nazi skinhead or a Grand Dragon of the KKK serving the same “point” as Milo supposedly is, would you watch?
And will you be watching this Friday night? Please let us know your thoughts in the comment section.