Bill Maher to Piers Morgan: MSNBC 'Very Rarely Wrong,' CNN Lagging For 'Play(ing) It Down the Middle'

Bill Maher was a guest on Piers Morgan's CNN show on Tuesday night; the interview segment was replayed on Friday (thanks to NB's Noel Sheppard for that catch). Among other things, Maher confirmed that he is a member of the left's unreality-based community when he described MSNBC as "very rarely wrong" and Fox News's Bill O'Reilly as someone who "says something that is insanely off-base and not true" almost every night.

Maher also lamented what he sees as CNN's biggest problem: They're trying to "play it down the middle," and viewers don't want that.

Some of what Maher said can be seen on video at Yahoo TV (last video segment at link). The verbiage in the relevant segment is below (full program transcript is here; HT to an emailer; bolds are mine; some paragraph breaks added by me):

BILL MAHER: I mean Fox News, one of the main problems as we all know with the Republican Party in this era is where they get their information. You know they get it in this bubble and if you look at Republican polling, and I'm not talking about just the Tea Party, I'm talking about the mainstream Republican Party.


Look at some of the astounding percentage of what they believe, like 44 percent think Benghazi is the worst scandal ever? Really? Worst than Watergate, the Trail of Tears and Slavery and Japanese Internment, giving syphilis deliberately to Guatemalan mental patients. Really Benghazi the worst scandal ever?

I think the same number 44 percent think that Obama is conniving for a way to stay in office past 2017. I mean the, this is because they live in the Fox News bubble. Because in that bubble Benghazi for example is just the worst scandal that ever happened.

PIERS MORGAN: (inaudible) now we have Fox News and you got MSNBC, you got CNN you got plenty of choice out there. Does it really matter, does it matter that Fox News does its agenda that Rachel Maddow does hers? I mean you go where you want to come in. My dad came to America the first time last year, listened to Bill O'Reilly every night and absolutely loved every word it said.

And I think why can't we have a Bill O'Reilly in Britain? I said well there are a number of reasons father. I'll explain them to you...

MAHER: Margaret Thatcher is dead that's why.

MORGAN: Right but does it matter?

MAHER: Well it does matter because when we didn't use to have these kind of places where you could retreat to your, you know, ghettoization of thinking, public discourse was the better for it because you had to hear a conflicting idea and now you don't. And that's true on the left too and CNN suffers for that to a degree because it tries to play it down the middle and people generally want to hear what they already believe in.

MORGAN: Right.

MAHER: The difference between Fox and MSNBC is you could fact check what they say on MSNBC and they are very wrong -- very rarely wrong. They are not flying in the face of facts.

Fact check what they say on Fox. You will find almost every night Bill O'Reilly says something that is insanely off base and not true. It doesn't matter. What Republicans do is they meet in their lair, they get to their talking point straight all together. They go out on the talk show. They say the exact same talking points, things like well ObamaCare is causing people to fire workers and hire them back as part timers. Completely not, they don't care.

Facts never get in the way of their talking points. And so for people that only listen to Fox News, they can wake up with Matt Drudge (ph) and have lunch with Rush Limbaugh (ph) and go to bed with Bill O'Reilly and that's all they're going to know is what they hear there and very often this people do not care what the truth is.

PIERS MORGAN: Well thank God you're here to pass the exact remark.

Surveys continually show that Fox's audience is a mix of conservatives, moderates, and liberals. If it wasn't, it wouldn't continually outdraw and sometimes even double the combined audiences at its three other competitors. Here are the results for Thursday, October 31 as just one example:

25-54 demographic (000s):
Total day: FNC: 289 | MSNBC: 101 | CNN: 81 | HLN: 63 — Fox, 54%; Others, 46%
Primetime: FNC: 422 | MSNBC: 171 | CNN: 77 | HLN: 62 — Fox, 58%; Others, 42%

Total Viewers (000s; Fox in millions):
Total day: FNC: 1.647 | MSNBC: 480 | CNN: 304 | HLN: 219 — Fox, 62%; Others, 38%
Primetime: FNC: 2.827 | MSNBC: 787 | CNN: 384 | HLN: 247 — Fox, 67%; Others, 33%

These results make it clear that Fox isn't "just" for conservatives. It often airs multiple points of view, something which clearly cannot be said of many of MSNBC's programs.

Just a couple of other points, as refuting all of Maher's garbage would be a waste of time.

As to "worst scandal," well, nobody died in Watergate, Bill.

As to companies firing workers and hiring them back as part-timers, Investor's Business Daily has 351 examples of employers, many of them public entities, making this and other similar hour-curtailing or fulltimer-cutrtailing decisions this year. Many of these employers have specifically cited Obamacare as their motivation.

And of course, the type of coordination in which Maher imagines the right engages is exactly what the left does continually and routinely (just a few examples here, here, here, here, and here).

Cross-posted at

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