Bill Maher, host of HBO’s ‘Real Time with Bill Maher,’ has gone on the defense after being compared to Rush Limbaugh in his name calling of politician turned TV personality Sarah Palin. Maher has referred to Palin in his stand-up acts as a “c---” and Limbaugh referred to Sandra Fluke, a Georgetown University student, as a “prostitute” and “slut” after she appealed to Congress for wider birth control coverage for women.
The New York Daily News reports on Bill Maher’s explanation of the differences between him and Limbaugh after Maher spoke with Jake Tapper of ABC News. The comparison of the two occurrences of name calling has begged the question as to whether or not there is a double standard for liberals teasing conservative women as opposed to conservative men calling out liberal women.
Said Maher to Jake Tapper about Rush Limbaugh’s labelling of Sandra Fluke as a “prostitute”: “[Limbaugh] went after a civilian about very specific behavior, that was a lie, speaking for a party that has systematically gone after women’s rights all year, on the public airwaves.”
Maher added, “I used a rude word about a public figure who gives as good as she gets, who’s called people ‘terrorist’ and ‘unAmerican’... The First Amendment was specifically designed for citizens to insult politicians. Libel laws were written to protect law students speaking out on political issues from getting called whores by Oxycontin addicts.”
Maher went on to say that the contextualization of both his and Limbaugh’s name-callings were very different as well. Where Maher used the term in a stand-up comedy act, Limbaugh chose to do so on national radio.
“The bit I did about Palin using the word c--- was one of the biggest laughs in my act, I did it all over the country, not one person ever registered disapproval, and believe me, audiences are not afraid to let you know. Because it was a routine where that word came in at just the right moment. Context is very important,” he said.
Though Limbaugh has since apologized for calling Sandra Fluke such names, he did lose several advertisers from his radio show.
Sarah Palin, in turn, offered her own comments about the Limbaugh situation last month. Palin said that liberals who called for Limbaugh to apologize is the “definition of hypocrisy,” and that the same doesn’t occur for “leftist radicals who say such horrible things about the handicapped, about women, about the defenseless.”