Barbara Walters Defends Maher Calling Trig Palin Retarded: 'Don't Think He Intended to be Mean-Spirited’
As NewsBusters reported last week, former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin called out vulgarian comedian Bill Maher for referring to her Down Syndrome son Trig as "retarded."
On ABC's The View Monday, co-host Barbara Walters astonishingly defended Maher saying, "I don't think he intended it to be mean-spirited" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
WHOOPI GOLDBERG: At a recent standup show in Las Vegas, comedian Bill Maher apparently called Sarah Palin’s five-year-old developmentally-challenged son Trig retarded. And Sarah blasted him on Twitter as a bully. Is that, is it, is he a bully? Is he a bad, what is he?
BARBARA WALTERS: Can I address that?
WALTERS: Okay. [Takes deep breath.] I had an older sister named Jackie. I named my baby after her. You can see her, there am I with all the feathers, there’s my father. There's my sister. She passed away. All our life my sister was called retarded. That was the term. It was a derogatory term. But that was the term. Then it was changed to mentally-challenged. I'm happy about that. I think it was very hard for my sister and very hard for me even to this day to say, as I often had to, I have a retarded sister. My sister is retarded, and mentally challenged. There are physically challenged, whatever. I'm very grateful that it has changed. But there are people who don't know that, and they use the word retarded.
ELISABETH HASSELBECK: Do you think Bill Maher is one of those?
WALTERS: I don’t know, I don’t. I think that, you know, unless you're a little more familiar, you don't even know the term mentally challenged.
HASSELBECK: So you don't think Bill Maher meant harm in calling Trig retarded?
SHERRI SHEPHERD: I also want to know what was he joking about that he had to even bring Trig up.
WALTERS: I don’t know. There are comedians, we have other things here. We have comedians who say, “Oh well, you know, I’m being funny." Do I think it was unfortunate that he did it? Yes, I do. Do I, do I think he realized what it was? No, I don't. I mean, I don't think he intended it to be mean-spirited. He likes to take on Sarah Palin, a lot of people do. She can fight back. And she did. And I'm glad she did.
GOLDBERG: You know, I think that we, society took the word "retarded" and made it into something derogatory. I think we made it a bad word by utilizing, well because we turned it into, you know, something that you call somebody to make them feel bad, to feel different. And I think we, you know, and as we have changed it into developmentally-challenged, you know, we, society has that…
HASSELBECK: We’re in 2013, right?
WALTERS: Retarded means, retard means slow. What it meant was the person was slow.
HASSELBECK: I think there’s not a person on this earth right now who has a sense of mercy and love and understanding who wouldn't go to a group of people or in front of an audience, perhaps, and not know that that would maybe make someone feel bad. So I think it's odd that we would give any person, namely the person we mentioned before, the benefit of the doubt. I feel that that's really generous.
WALTERS: I wish that everybody were as enlightened as you. Believe me they are not.
GOLDBERG: I wasn't giving anybody the benefit of the doubt. I was saying to Barbara, because she said it was derogatory, and she didn't realize it. But that she realized it early on. And I'm saying when I was a kid, it wasn't derogatory. We turned it into something that is so sort of crappy, that you know, we have to keep an eye on this because t's our responsibility to watch out for that you know.
WALTERS: When I was a kid, and this is what I'm talking about, when my sister was a kid for many, many years, it was a derogatory and painful remark. Okay?
As NewsBusters has been reporting the contortions liberal media members that eviscerated George W. Bush for warrantless wiretaps have been exhibiting in support of Barack Obama's far more intrusive domestive surveillance, here too was such hypocrisy on display.
This seems particularly absurd of Walters to defend Maher given her sister's impairment.
Surely Walters knows that Maher has been attacking the Palin family for years.
So why would anyone in their right mind - especially someone that had a mentally-challenged sister - believe Maher didn't intend to be mean-spirited?
Honestly, this was not one of Walters' finer moments. She could have made a nice statement - especially someone with her family background - by coming down on this innocent child being the butt of anyone's jokes.
But no. She had to defend this disgusting man who's gotten rich viciously attacking folks whose political views he disagrees with.
And what about all that talk about the kids of politicians being off limits?
Sadly, what we've learned is that such children are only protected if their parents are Democrats.
Be my guest. I'm sure it's just a joke that wasn't intended to be mean-spirited.