Idiocy Alert: Maher Wrongly Tells Former Congresswoman 'You Were Head of the Intelligence Committee'

We at NewsBusters love to point out when Bill Maher makes a fool of himself on national television by stating an absolute falsehood while cameras are rolling.

The "Real Time" host made a doozy on HBO Friday evening telling the esteemed former Congresswoman Jane Harman (D-Calif.), "You were the head of the Intelligence Committee" (video follows with transcript and commentary):

JANE HARMAN, FORMER CONGRESSWOMAN (D-CALIFORNIA): But the Wilson Center offered me the job in February and it was a job I couldn't turn down. I mean, imagine this: scholarship programs that are bipartisan and relevant, solving problems. Does that sound like the United States Congress?

BILL MAHER, HOST: Well, no, but you knew what, you knew what the Congress was. I mean, it kind of sounds like Donald Trump saying I'd like to save the world running for president but I’ve got to be back on "The Apprentice. "

HARMAN: Well, I, okay, I think it's a sensational opportunity. Lee Hamilton, who many people know is the co-chair of the 9/11 Commission - he served in Congress for 30 years before that - had the job I now have for 12 years, and I'm succeeding Lee, and I’m the first president and CEO who happens to be a woman, head of this huge organization in Washington and I'm very proud of it.


MAHER: You don't happen to be a woman. You're a hell of a woman. But, but wait, it can't be as exciting as your job in Congress. You were the head of the Intelligence Committee. You were privy…

HARMAN: No, no, no. I never became the head of the Intelligence Committee.

MAHER: What were you?

HARMAN: Remember that? I was the ranking Democrat for years. And then I was, could have become the head of it.

MAHER: You still got to see things that almost nobody else, even in Congress, got to see.

HARMAN: That's true.

Readers are likely aware that Harman had been the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee for years, and was considered a shoo-in to take over as chair when her party took back Congress in the 2006 midterm elections.

However, she had a terrible relationship with incoming Speaker Nancy Pelosi also of California, and ended up being snubbed.

As the New York Times reported in December 2006:

Incoming House speaker Nancy Pelosi today named Representative Silvestre Reyes of Texas to become next chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, ending weeks of closed-door lobbying and public posturing among top candidates for the post.

By choosing Mr. Reyes, a Vietnam veteran and former Border Patrol agent who has served on the committee since 2001, Ms. Pelosi passed over the panel’s top Democrat, Rep. Jane Harman of California, with whom Ms. Pelosi has long feuded. [...]

Ms. Pelosi had privately criticized Ms. Harman for not more aggressively challenging the White House on issues such as the faulty intelligence leading to the war in Iraq and the National Security Agency’s domestic surveillance program.

As a result of the snubbing, Harman actually left Intelligence when the Democrats took over the House in January opting instead to serve on Energy and Commerce as well as Homeland Security.

With this in mind, Maher didn't just get it wrong Friday evening. He poured salt in the wound of the former Congresswoman on national television.

Ironically, this pompous, holier-than-thou know-it-all just a few minutes prior made a joke about people constantly asking him if Sarah Palin is going to run for president saying, "What am I, the Idiot Whisperer?"

No, Bill - just an idiot that like so many before you has been propped up as a political commentator by folks that probably also don't know that Harman was never given the position she so richly deserved.

Keep up the bad work, oh great one.

HBO Real Time Jane Harman
Noel Sheppard's picture

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