'We don't have a progressive party in this country," Maher says


Comedian and HBO talk show host Bill Maher had some harsh words for the news media on CNN's Larry King Tuesday night.

The host of Real Time with Bill Maher said the US media turned coverage of the Jan. 12 Haiti earthquake into "disaster porn," and accused the major broadcasters of ignoring other large catastrophes in its focus on Haiti.

"When the nightly news ... covers one story for three or four nights in a row, no, they're not doing their job. At a certain point, people are not learning about Haiti any more than they can. I mean, you know, at a certain point, you're just wallowing in it. It's just disaster porn, honestly," Maher said.

Host Larry King responded by pointing out that actor-activist Sean Penn, among others, has said coverage of Haiti should never stop.

"Well, he's wrong," Maher replied. "It's not the most immense. Nicholas Kristof did a great article a few weeks ago about what's going on in the Congo. There's a war that's been raging in the Congo for a lot of years. It's killed like four to five million people -- million."

Maher said he was accused of "hating black people" for his comments about media coverage of Haiti.

"Well, if I hate black people because I'm complaining about the media covering Haiti too much, how do you feel about black people because you don't even know about what's going on in the Congo, where five million people have died?" he asked.

"You know, the media just doesn't do a good job. And Americans don't do a good job of getting on the case of things that are not immediate or completely easy to understand right away or have no celebrities involved."

Earlier Tuesday night, in an appearance on CNN's Anderson Cooper 360, Maher argued part of the problem with American politics is that "they're not polarized enough."

"We don't have a progressive party in this country," Maher said. "This is the problem, is that you have corporatist Democrats, like Evan Bayh, who act just like the people on the other side of the aisle."

Maher discussed Sen. Evan Bayh's recent announcement that he is retiring from Congress, and the Indiana senator's comment that Congress isn't working.

"He wasn't working," Maher told Anderson Cooper. "He's the problem with Congress."

Maher said that, contrary to conventional wisdom, Bayh "isn't a centrist. People -- you guys in the media have to stop calling people like that a centrist. He's a corporatist, okay? And that's the main problem with Congress. You know, his wife is on the board of WellPoint, one of the big health insurance companies. ... So when he says Congress isn't working, that's why Congress isn't working, because he's the guy on the Democratic side who always sides with the Republicans to stop all legislation. That's why the Senate is where legislation goes to die."

This video is from CNN's Larry King Live, broadcast Feb. 16, 2010.


Download video via RawReplay.com

This video is from CNN's Anderson Cooper 360, broadcast Feb. 16, 2010.


Download video via RawReplay.com