Jake Tapper Goes for This Week’s “Dumbest Boob in the Media” Award

Behold, the intersection of my two most recent posts — ‘practical politics’ meets ‘professional trolling’. If you watch the clip above, Jake Tapper talks about Bill Maher’s latest troll. Back at the end of January, the NYTimes ran a breathless article:

… On his weekly HBO talk show, “Real Time With Bill Maher,” on Friday night, Mr. Maher and his staff plan to ask viewers to make a case for their individual representatives in the House to be selected as the worst in the country.

After some culling and analysis, one member of Congress will be selected, and the show will follow up through November with examples of what it considers terrible work by that representative. Mr. Maher will make occasional visits to that member’s district to perform stand-up and generally stir up hostile feelings toward the show’s target…

The project — which the show is calling the “flip the district” campaign — is intended to get real results, said Scott Carter, the show’s executive producer. Among the criteria for selecting a representative, other than some degree of outrageousness in statements or voting record, is that the member be in a truly competitive race. Those running unopposed will not be selected, no matter how egregious the show’s fans may claim them to be…

Before beginning its campaign, Mr. Carter said, the show would make sure that the challenger in the race would not be harmed by Mr. Maher’s presence. “We will suss out whether or not the challenger might think there was reason why our participation in the effort to unseat the incumbent would not be welcomed,” he said…

Of course, getting laughs out of the effort will also be a goal. “We think there will be no shortage of nominations of incumbents who are ludicrous, who are ridiculous for one reason or another,” Mr. Carter said, “and we think there is no lack of entertainment value among sitting members of Congress.”…

It’s the slack-jawed, damp-eyed credulity of Jake Tapper that makes the whole riff sing. Somewhere in the Great Beyond, Josh Billings is screaming in frustration, and Mort Sahl senses a great disturbance in the Force…

55 replies
  1. 1
    Donut says:

    Am I the only one who can’t figure out what any of this has to do with Jake Tapper? I’m not a fan of either him nor Maher, but based on the links and the quoted section of the post…I’m not getting it.

  2. 2
    Warren Terra says:

    I’m with #1, but assume it’s something to do with the video, which I haven’t watched.

    Oh, and generally speaking I have extremely little interest in Maher. His nihilist a-pox-on-both-their-houses and his chumming around with the people he does tells me everything I need to know about him. He’s a talented comedian, and sometimes he’s enjoyable shooting in the right direction, but at the end of the day he’s a waste of effort and talent. This dumb stunt – how it’s about one individual rather than broader themes, and how it interacts with the opposing candidate and all – is par for the ill-thought-out course.

  3. 3
    NotMax says:

    Mort Sahl is still in the Lesser Beyond, a/k/a living.

    Only had a chance to chat with him once, back about 1969. And sadly remember almost nothing about it.

  4. 4
    MikeJ says:

    @Donut: I think it’s just “ooga booga.”

  5. 5
    NotMax says:

    Bill Maher has fully embraced being a huckster.

    In too many respects, he has chosen to become the left’s Sarah Palin.

  6. 6
    ira-NY says:

    I hope Bill Maher is ready to spend time in northwest Iowa.
    Steve King is a mortal lock
    for worst Congressman.

  7. 7
    MikeJ says:

    @NotMax: Since when does Maher have anything to do with the left? I always thought he was a glibertarian.

  8. 8
    hildebrand says:

    @MikeJ: And has now decided that MSNBC is just awful for going after that nice Christie feller on such a regular basis, so therefore will never watch them again. That will show them.

  9. 9
    jl says:

    @ira-NY: Then there is Peter King, which might give some competition. I heard Peter King yammering on about how still could be a major terrorist strike in Sochi for Winter Olympics.

    King was still worried see, because, you know, Russia is ruled by arrogant and corrupt people with and brutal attitude, who are not nearly as smart as they think they are. These Rooskies are the kind of people who could be given a hint, maybe even TOLD, right in their faces, that there was a very good chance of terrorist attack and kind of rough details about it too. An these dang Rooskies are the type of mooks who wooodn do nuthin much to stop it, see?

    Yea, Peter King, you jackass, you can’t imagine that happening in this great country, can you?

    Edit: And my money is on Gohmert for the Maher bit. And I’m not sure I get the point of the post either. But then like others, I am not a big fan of either, so don’t pay much attention to what is going on with them.

  10. 10
    fleeting expletive says:

    Just heard a line from Al Pacino in an unheralded movie I’m watching “People I know”–he says “and then they close the bridges and the tunnels”. Whoa. I should maybe pay attention.

    Prescient, or customary?

  11. 11
    Helen says:

    @jl: Do you mean Peter King; (Falls Road) or Peter King (Divis Towers) HAH Trick question.

  12. 12
    fleeting expletive says:

    Gohmert may not be challengeable in his district, though.

  13. 13
    jl says:

    @Helen: Recognized one of those. so yeah, I mean Peter King (Outrageous Hypocrite and Opportunist from Self-Righteous Jackass).

  14. 14
    GxB says:

    I used to follow Maher closely when he spoke truth to stupid in the GWB era as there were so few willing to do so. Those days are long over and as of late I noticed his interviewing style (i.e. with Bill Nye this past week) is atrocious. He speaks over the top of them, rudely finishes their sentences and often railroads the conversation into “hurr, hurr dummies amirite” land with no comedic effect. He could really use a steaming cup of STFU more often than not. Ultimately I see how he’s overall hurting the cause in many eyes, but if he can get some light cast on these idiots, I guess we have to take what we can get.

    But seriously Bill, STFU more, you’d improve greatly just by that simple act alone.

  15. 15
    Helen says:

    @jl: Falls Road – in the north of Belfast city. Divis Towers, at the top of the Falls Road; the building where all the Catholics who were burned out of their homes during the “troubles” ie my grandparents were moved. A ghetto.

    And don’t misunderstand me. King thinks that the IRA were good terrorists. Cuz they were “his” terrorists. They were my family’s terrorists too. Yeah not so much.

  16. 16
    Helen says:

    King cannot have good terrorists cuz you believe in their cause. Apparently he thinks so.

  17. 17
    jl says:

    @fleeting expletive: Gads, wikipedia says Gohmert ran with no major party opponent last two elections. That is very sad. Then go to Gohmert’s district next election, point out how awful he is, and rub into the voters’ noses that the district is so sad and inept that he has no serious opposition. Sounds like something Maher might do, if he had guts, and enough money for body guards.

    But, would probably take an Andy Kaufman or the Borat guy to do Gohmert and his district.

  18. 18
    jl says:

    @Helen: Peter King’s hypocrisy burns me too. Several of my relatives were shot during the troubles, and that part of the family had to move out of N Ireland. They were distant family, but when I was a little kid I met them on some trips over here, so it was a shocker for me. My kin there were prot moderates active in peace movement, and chance the IRA or prot extremists shot them are about 50 / 50. (Edit: no one ever arrested for the shootings, AFAIK)

    So, I got personal reasons too, to despise Peter King.

    Edit: not so much for the shootings since WTH did he have anything to do with them? But rather, that I can appreciate the human consequences of his callous hypocrisy and self-righteousness.

  19. 19
    Mandalay says:


    He could really use a steaming cup of STFU more often than not.

    I had been thinking that about Maher, and also Chris Hayes, for a while. Of course many others do this as well, tweetie and Charlie Rose being the absolute worst. All these hosts have an ego the size of Montana, so nothing will change. But it is especially frustrating with Maher and Hayes because their guests frequently actually have something worthwhile to say.

    This guy remains the gold standard on how to conduct an interview.

  20. 20
    Narcissus says:

    @MikeJ: Even when I agree with Maher I’m wary of him, for this reason — Libertarianism is a critique of power that ignores wealth. Maher is smart enough to see that.

  21. 21
    James E. Powell says:

    This is just great, because turning our democratic republic into a reality TV show has certainly paid off well for the average American.

  22. 22
    Helen says:

    @jl: Oh so interesting. My family is Catholic. In fact I had an Uncle who ran guns for the IRA. He was arrested found innocent cus of a technicality but he was soooo guilty. My mom left Belfast in 1958 because she fell in love with a British MP. His family threatened to disown him if he didn’t drop my mom. He dropped her. Good thing for me because she moved here and met my Dad. But Grandma lived in Divis Towers until she died.

    I have many cousins still there. And the reason this bullshit has come to an end is because it was their parents and grand parents fight. My generation was tired of this shit.

    Peter King was theoretically on “MY” side .No. Killing innocents is wrong all the time. Even if they are orange.

  23. 23
    jl says:

    @Helen: Your story is interesting too. The N Irish side of my family in U.S. was not religious enough to care one way or another, and is half catholic and half prot. Maybe that is why they decided to leave back in the day.

    Some grand pa or other decided family religion would be to hang around liberal Presbyterian and Episcopalian churches as some kind of compromise.

  24. 24
    Mandalay says:

    Peter King was theoretically on “MY” side .No. Killing innocents is wrong all the time. Even if they are orange.

    Amen. I just learned this interesting tidbit about King, who has never disavowed his support for the IRA’s campaign of violence:

    In 1985, the Irish government boycotted the St. Patrick’s Day parade in New York City, the biggest celebration in the Irish American calendar. The cause of its umbrage was Peter T. King, that year’s grand marshal and someone the Irish government said was an “avowed” supporter of a terrorist organization, the Irish Republican Army.

    King publicly claims that Obama had invited him to become US Ambassador to Ireland, which blows my mind. WTF was our president thinking?

  25. 25
    gian says:

    as far as I can tell, it’s the notion of letting the right define who the left is.
    bill went so far as to say that a suicide terrorist is probably not a coward shortly after the events in September 2001

    and all hell broke loose, so Bill is a lefty. we all know he a pot-smoking republican who doesn’t hate gays. but they call him a lefty and so a lefty he is… you have to have some racist publications to be a libertarian and be thought of as OK, see Ron Paul.

    thing is they try like motherfuckers to say some semi-obscure celebrity who says some stupid thing speaks for the left, and then some republican asshole, who is elected to congress says the most offensive stuff ever and … silence

  26. 26
    NotMax says:


    I think you’ll concede he doesn’t fit easily into what is commonly lumped together as the right.

    That leaves the lumpenleftariat.

  27. 27
    MikeJ says:

    @NotMax: Not quite as batshit crazy as the other dope smoking republicans (Rand Paul et al) doesn’t put you within 1000 miles of sane.

  28. 28
    Helen says:

    @jl: One of the beautiful things about Ireland (which I love; have you been there?) is that because my mom was born in Belfast I am also, by birth right, Irish. And because she was a NI citizen, the opportunity to be a United kingdom citizen or a Republic of Ireland citizen is mine. I chose Republic of Ireland. So when the shit hits the fan here; I’m gone. (also – whatever happens here, in 8 years when I retire) I am officially and legally a democratic socialist citizen of the republic of Ireland. Yay me.

  29. 29
    NotMax says:


    I’ll certainly concede he is a cafeteria libertarian.

    But if we’re switching to a discussion of sanity or lack thereof, that’s a whole ‘nother ball o’ wax.

  30. 30
    Helen says:

    @Mandalay: Do you have a link for that? King was asked to be ambassador? And he turned it down? Why? Not sure I believe that. Also; which Ireland? Seriously. I DO NOT believe that.

  31. 31
    NotMax says:


    And if by any chance you were labeling me a libertarian…

    To quote Tweety Bird: “He don’t know me vewwy well, do he?”

  32. 32
    MikeJ says:

    @NotMax: I hadn’t noticed you saying anything glibish.

  33. 33
    Jane2 says:

    @Warren Terra: Maher’s sure not talented when you overpay to see his out-of-date stand up schtick. Not sure what this post has to do with Jake Tapper, either.

  34. 34
    NotMax says:


    Understood, and thanks for the clarification.

    That “doesn’t put you” in the comment #27 can be read different ways, and was just checking.

  35. 35
    Helen says:

    @Mandalay: Yeah either you or King are lying. Can’t decide which. NO WAY would Obama pick Peter FUCKING KING as Ambassador to Ireland. He would pick me first. And that is not a joke. I am an Irish citizen with a Masters degree in government policy. I am more qualified than Peter King.

  36. 36
    Mandalay says:


    Do you have a link for that? King was asked to be ambassador?

    The sources were pretty vague, but I could not find a link to any denial from the Obama Administration, which surely would have happened if the claim was complete BS.

    Also; which Ireland?

    The same Ireland that wouldn’t participate in the St Patrick’s Day parade in NY because it was led by Peter King!

    Peter King has a gazillion powerful enemies in both Britain and Ireland, and with good reason. If the Obama Administration truly offered the post to King it has to be the most idiotic decision they ever made.

  37. 37
    Mnemosyne says:


    The original story came from the NY Daily News, which makes it about as reliable as your standard Fox “News” story.

    Also, note that the dateline is 2009 and that unnamed sources told the NYDN that the offer was supposedly made by Rahm Emanuel when he still worked in the White House. Lots of red flags about the credibility of the story.

  38. 38
    Mandalay says:


    Yeah either you or King are lying.

    Well I just took the time to reply to you, but now wish I hadn’t bothered. Instead, consider this my reply => go fuck yourself, you vile asswipe.

    And next time, before you accuse me of lying, try spending 10 seconds to type Peter King ambassador Ireland into google, you lazy dumb nasty fucker.

  39. 39
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Helen: yeah, but you don’t posses a congressional seat that might flip Dem if you were gone and the president hasn’t thought to send you far away.

  40. 40
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Suffern ACE:

    Given who the offer reputedly came from, I’m guessing it was more of a half-joking, Hey, Pete, if you play your cards right and vote our way on this PPACA thing, maybe I can get Barack to make you ambassador to Ireland!

  41. 41
    Helen says:

    @Mnemosyne: Yeah. the NY Daily News. I grew up reading the NY Daily News and Newsday. When the NY Daily News had an Op Ed which supported Bush’s spying I cancelled my subscription. And that poor boy who took my call. I called them Fascists and he said “yes maam” He has no idea.

    Also, Rahm? My Dad is still King’s constituent. Let’s see what he says.

  42. 42
    Helen says:

    @Suffern ACE: OMG never thought of that. But O made a Kennedy – Ethel – the ambassador. Gonna ask my Dad to ask Peter.

  43. 43
    Helen says:


  44. 44
    Helen says:

    @Helen: My only defense ( not good enough) is that we Irish have been lied to and fucked over FOREVER but that is no reason for me to assume that of you. Once again – I apologize.

  45. 45
    Anne Laurie says:

    @Donut: I assumed that you might at least click on the video to see what it was about — it’s a clip from Jake Tapper’s show. Edited, because of course not.

  46. 46
    jayackroyd says:

    Maher says one thing that is widely believed, but, according to criminal justice professor and ex baltimore cop Peter Moskos, isn’t true.

    People, Moskos says, are almost never arrested for simple possession. They may plead down to that, and serve their time for possession, but they are generally arrested for more serious crimes.

    That said, of course, illegalizing drugs is remarkably bad public policy.

  47. 47
    geg6 says:

    Jeebus, but no one here has any sense of humor. Maher is both hilarious on this and dead serious. The guy has his problems (former anti-vax shit), but he’s one of the good guys for the most part. He puts his money where his mouth is and he gets GOPers to appear on his show where they get torn to pieces or show what lying hypocrites they are because they back down when he challenges them (see: Issa, Darrell). I sent him the name of my congresscritter, Keith Rothfus, because I think this could work in my district. Personally, I’m willing to take any help I can get to rid myself of that fucking Teabagger.

  48. 48
    TR says:

    Maher has his faults, but he’s still an overall positive for progressives.

    But he’s not 100% pure, so let’s disown him. Brilliant.

  49. 49
    The Mouse says:


    Yeah, sometimes this comments section stuns me in its parallels to Erick Erickson. “Bill Maher said he relates to libertarians on some issues? GET HIM OUT OF MUH PARTY!”

  50. 50
    Keith G says:

    @TR: @TR: You are correct.

    Maher is a net positive for progressive causes and Democratic messaging. And he can be wrong on issues – and not only wrong, but preachy wrong. That’;s when I use a mute button.

    Because he calls out Obama for actions not to his liking, he must be diminished, or so some around here seem to act. Purity, it’s not just for the GOP any more.

  51. 51
    geg6 says:

    @Keith G:

    Meh. I’m a pretty big Obot (at least, I’m sure, by your accounting), but I don’t mind Maher calling out Obama when he’s wrong. I don’t always agree with Maher’s opinion about when he’s wrong, but I still value what Maher does. I watch his show because I think it’s often pretty funny and often on point. Not always, but often enough.

  52. 52
    Brian R. says:


    Yeah, I don’t mind when he calls Obama out. I often agree with him, in fact.

    Maher is the biggest voice in the media puncturing the bullshit of Republican shitheads like Darrel Issa. He’s earned the right to go off-script without getting shunned.

    Liberals and the fucking circular firing squad, over and over and over again.

  53. 53
    flukebucket says:

    If you watch the video Maher says more against the current Libertarian Party than he does for it. He admits that the current Democratic Party is more like the Republican Party of 30 years ago. He says that part of the problem is that there is not a true leftist party in this country. I pretty much agreed with everything he had to say. The biggest problem we have in this country right now is that the Republican Party is insane.

  54. 54
    cokane says:

    Not sure why the negativity on this post. I mean the negativity for Tapper reporting it first off. Then the anti-Maher vitriol. Basically BJ commenters just want to tear down anyone who is successful. Maher isn’t always right (who is?) but he’s been on the right side of most issues, is funny, and makes a pretty damn entertaining TV show. Guess that isn’t good enough for some.

  55. 55
    EthylEster says:

    @GxB wrote:

    But seriously Bill, STFU more, you’d improve greatly just by that simple act alone.

    This remark could be useful to many front pagers as well.
    But bloggers gotta blog….

Comments are closed.