Culture

Bill Maher Faces Off With Geraldo Rivera Over His Time With Fox News: ‘I Looked Up To You’

Bill Maher had a tense showdown with Geraldo Rivera on Friday night, ensuring that it will likely be a while before the Fox News personality returns to Real Time any time soon. The two sparred over Fox News and President Trump to kick off the latest episode of the HBO political talk show, with neither really willing to give an inch on their feelings. Maher did give Rivera some praise to start, noting his views on journalism and his work in 1972 exposing the conditions at the Willowbrook State School in New York. It’s from that Maher ponders what happened:

“I remember you from Willowbrook. I mean, you were one of the original crusading reporters, and you cared very much about your legacy as a journalist. So I do have to ask, why Fox News?”

Rivera hit back and defending himself and Fox News, disregarding the notion that the network is tilted toward’s President Trump and his agenda while also defending his personal beliefs:

“I’m pro-choice, I’m pro-immigration reform, I’m pro-gun control and I’m on Fox News. It’s easy because Sean Hannity is such a big personality to say he represents the sum total of Fox…

“It’s not state-run TV. It’s conservative-leaning. MSNBC is as liberal as you could possibly be aside from this show.”

Both continued to go back and forth over Trump’s decision making and the legitimacy of the Mueller Russia probe, with Rivera standing firmly by the claim that there has been no collusion. But it is when Maher questions Rivera’s personal relationship with Donald Trump that the sharpest dagger of the interview is unleashed:

“He’s running the world now, what does it matter that he was nice to you on Thanksgiving? I’m not trying to be an asshole to you. You’re a smart guy, this befuddles me. I looked up to you.”

It’s the classic “I’m not mad, I’m disappointed technique” that your parents used, but on a larger scale with two media professionals. Rivera responded and defended his legacy:

“If you don’t look up to me because I’m still friends with the President of the United States, then shame on you. Who liberated the developmentally disabled? Who stood shoulder to shoulder with the GIs in all those places? My friendship with Trump doesn’t diminish me.”

The pair also has an interesting deadlock over O.J. Simpson of all people, which needs to be seen to be believed. Rivera did return at the end of the episode for the overtime segment, but Maher also goes on to undermine himself later on the live show by going on the defensive for Rivera’s Fox News colleague Laura Ingraham.

While Maher does feel that Ingraham has become a “deliberately terrible person” since her days appearing on Politically Incorrect, he believes that her showdown with Parkland student David Hogg has been unfair in its treatment towards her. According to Maher, Hogg and his supporters targeting Ingraham’s advertisers is un-American according to The Hill:

“Again, he is in the arena, and then he calls for a boycott of her sponsors…Really? Is that American?”

“He complains about bullying? That’s bullying! I have been the victim of a boycott…I’ve lost a job as a result. It is wrong. You shouldn’t do this by team, you should do it by principle.”

Many in the audience were audible in their disagreement with the host, with panel member Elliot Spitzer responding that Hogg’s boycott is part of free speech itself:

“Saying, ‘I don’t want to work with that person. Saying I will not buy a product from that person. That’s speech.'”

You can watch the full exchange below and decide if you agree with Maher.

(Via Real Time)

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