Well, sports fans, HBO’s Bill Maher has officially responded to Saturday’s NewsBusters’ article concerning statements he made on his “Real Time” program Friday evening about the failed assassination attempt on Vice President Dick Cheney last week.
To quote Strother Martin from the movie “Cool Hand Luke,” what we have here is a failure to communicate.
This is how Maher began his response:
On Saturday, the website NewsBusters.org posted a story under the headline "Bill Maher Sorry the Assassination Attempt on Dick Cheney Failed."
There's just one problem: As a fair reading of the show's transcript makes clear, I never said those words
Actually, Bill, that may be a problem, but it’s not the real issue. After all, the title of the article wasn’t “Bill Maher Says He’s Sorry the Assassination Attempt on Dick Cheney Failed.” Instead, it stated that you were sorry.
In fact, nowhere in the article was the claim made that you said you were sorry. Instead, it pointed out, with a transcript and a video link, that your statements indicated you regretted the assassination attempt had failed.
Moreover, even your guest Rep. Barney Frank thought this to be the case:
Scarborough: If someone on this panel said that they wished that Dick Cheney had been blown up, and you didn’t say…
Frank: I think he did. (meaning Maher).
Well, this is a rare occasion when I agree with Frank. Regardless, Maher elaborated in his rebuttal (emphasis mine):
Don't get me wrong: I've never joined the Dick Cheney Fan Club. But what I said Friday -- and what I believe -- is that the Vice President has presided over a bungled execution of a war in which thousands of our bravest continue to die. And I believe that were he not in power, our troops would likely come home sooner. But I don't wish him dead.
Yet, when Maher was pressed by Frank, that wasn’t so apparent: “I’m just saying if he did die, other people, more people would live. That’s a fact.”
Once again, I agree with Frank.
Interestingly, Maher concluded his rebuttal: “Ironically, I made my comments during a discussion about Free Speech, which is one of the chief reasons that I love my country.”
That’s one reason I love my country, too, Bill. Yet, no one was suggesting you didn’t have the right to say what you said. Instead, I suggested that it was disgraceful.
And, as you love free speech much as I do, one would assume that I have the right to say this.
At least, one would hope so.