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On Bill Maher’s HBO show, besides going after Rush Limbaugh and encouraging guests to take shots at Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin, what many might find surprising is that Maher often is not afraid to make arguments similar to those that might come from the mouths of the conservative power players he targets. In an interview with Egyptian-born journalist Mona Eltahawy, Maher confronted her with some unsettling facts regarding the beliefs of Egyptians.
Eltahawy exclaimed the nationwide protest in Egypt was the happiest moment of her life, arguing “President Mubarak is our Berlin Wall . . . if we can get our Berlin Wall to fall – and we will, I’m confident we will – you imagine the freedom fever that will spread across the region.” What Egyptians with “freedom fever” might do next was Maher’s concern, and the interview got a little testy when Maher brought up some facts. According to a Pew study Maher cited, a majority of Egyptians support stoning as punishment for adultery, the death penalty for Muslims leaving the religion, and were in favor of Sharia Law, and Maher wondered if this might pose a problem in the future.
When Eltahawy clearly did not want to discuss those issues and kept repeating that Egyptians just want freedom, Maher insisted she address the reality of his question, to which the following exchange took place:
Eltahawy: “I didn’t think we were going to get into Fox News kind of sparring matches that quick, but hey you want to go head-to-head, I will.”
Maher: “This is not Fox News, this is reality.”
If a tough question, followed by an expectation that the question be answered is a technique Eltahawy dimisses as something she expects only on Fox News, that actually sounds like a great endorsement from her for the channel. Regardless, viewers can always count on Maher for a unique perspective and as demonstrated here, an admirable boldness to ask questions that might make people uncomfortable.
Watch the clip from HBO below: