HBO host Bill Maher called out the media for its “apoplectic” response to the election of what papers called Italy’s “far-right” Prime Minister, Giorgia Meloni, and the comparisons the liberal press made to fascist dictator Benito Mussolini.
Outspoken actor, comedian, and wildly successful podcaster Russell Brand joined Maher on “Club Random” and noted how the term “far-right” has been thrown around in recent years.
Brand mentioned a British newspaper that reported that House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) turned over the unseen January 6 footage to “the far-right.”
“The far-right?” Brand exclaimed.
“I think of far-right, that means, that’s a haircut. That’s boots,” he stated referring to the phrase’s “fascist” implications.
“You can’t just be far-right because you’re a traditional conservative person,” Brand said.
Maher pointed to Meloni’s election.
“The papers were apoplectic,” he said. “I’ve read some of her statements. It doesn’t sound like fascism to me. It sounds like people we’ve heard in this country on the right – ‘we need to not forget our roots’ and traditional stuff like family, and you know, I understand why there’s a backlash to some of the sh*t that’s going on.”
Crowds go wild for ‘far-right’, ‘Italy first’ mother ‘destined’ to become country’s first female prime minister https://t.co/iGjqZYIiRJ pic.twitter.com/LZRwL0ID6T
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) September 24, 2022
Meloni, Maher said, stressed that she was a mother and was proud of being a mother.
“That’s not fighting words,” he said.
“I wanted to make that point because they kept saying, ‘Her party has fascist roots,'” Maher explained. “So did the Democrats. They were the party of slavery and Jim Crow. Then they outgrew it.”
“All our parties have roots,” he continued. “We all grow from corrupt places, and now I see she’s invited to the White House.”
The liberal host said he isn’t defending Meloni.
“I don’t know who this broad is,” he said. “All I’m saying is the immediate hair-trigger ‘Oh my God, the world has ended, Italy has elected a fascist’ — it’s just the kind of thing that makes me go, ‘I don’t trust you in the media, I just don’t trust you.'”
“It’s like advocacy journalism, where it’s like, ‘we’re not even trying,'” Maher stated. “‘We’re not even proposing that we’re neutral on this.'”
“Bill, I feel that the terrifying truth might be that the liberal establishment has been co-opted by the very interests that in the Bush-Cheney era we understood to be Republican,” Brand replied. “It has been co-opted by military-industrial complex interests, it’s been co-opted by pharmaceutical interests, it’s been co-opted by financial interests, and they are simply unable to have the conversation about why there is not a political party that represents the interests of ordinary Americans.”
Maher later lamented the state of “free speech” under the modern left.
“When I was younger, there was no doubt in my mind who the champions of free speech were, and also the threat, and the threat was all on the right and the champions were on the left,” Maher recalled. “That’s not how I feel now. So when people say now ‘Why are you harder on the left?’ Well, that’s one of the big reasons.”
“Maybe the woke people should apologize to me and all of the people like me for all the things they robbed us from ever hearing,” Maher suggested. “Jokes that were never told because someone was just too scared to say something.”
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