New Rule: Democracy Dies in Dumbness | Real Time with Bill Maher | Transcript

Nothing captures what’s wrong with today’s “journalism” like the sad saga of what happened last week at The Washington Post.
New Rule: Democracy Dies in Dumbness | Real Time with Bill Maher

Original air date : June 17, 2022

And finally, new rule. If someone knows of a story that more effectively captures what’s wrong with today’s “journalism” than the sad saga of what happened last week at the Washington Post, they need to keep it to themselves, because it would be too depressing. If you missed it, the Washington Post recently got embroiled in a self-inflicted shitstorm when one of their best reporters David Weigel, retweeted — not tweeted, retweeted — this joke: “every girl is bi. You just have to figure out if it’s polar or sexual.”

Proving it is a joke, thank you.

[Laughter]

The comedian who actually wrote the tweet called it “a banal throwaway joke” — which is exactly what it is. Throwaway, as in, if you don’t like it, throw it away. For eons, both sexes have made jokes about how the other is crazy, and no one but the perpetually offended thinks it means anything more than that the sexes get frustrated over how differently we see the world, and yes, we relieve some of that frustration with humor. And, scene.

[Laughter]

[cheers and applause]

Nevertheless, weigel pulled down his re-tweet and wrote “I apologize and did not mean to cause any harm.” And that was the end of that. I’m joking, of course, the unlicensed day care center that is today’s “newsroom” went apeshit. You see, the post has another writer named Felicia Sonmez and she’s…a lot. For example, she tweeted about Kobe Bryant’s 2003 rape trial hours after his helicopter crashed. And despite the fact that she says Dave Weigel is a “good friend,’ she resurrected the tweet he had taken down with a screenshot and demanded to know what the post was going to do about this unacceptable evil that must not be allowed to stand, sarcastically writing “fantastic to work at a news outlet where tweets like this are allowed!” Yes, can you imagine a world that allows jokes you don’t like?

[Laughter]

[applause]

Of course the leadership at the Post folded like a Miami condo… [groaning] [laughter] and suspended Weigel without pay for a month and denounced the offending retweet as a gross violation of their values — free speech apparently not being one of them. Then a third Post reporter offered up the idea — of course, on twitter, because why do anything privately? – That hey, maybe everyone was overreacting and we should all just calm down — and then it was really on: Felicia demanded that the post discipline him, and tweeted about that. I assume she’s tweeting about this right now.

[Laughter]

[applause]

For days, she raged with the fire of a thousand burning bras…

[Laughter]

…sending a gazillion tweets calling for more to be done against Weigel, mocking her bosses, attacking colleagues and letting the world know how much the Washington Post sucked. And this endless bickering and infighting continued online in public view until the bell rang and they all went to seventh period.

[Laughter]

[applause]

Now, note that I haven’t yet told you what age Felicia Sonmez and her quarrelling coworkers are. Why? Because I didn’t have to. Because you can’t imagine someone my age acting like this in an office. The New York Times just ran an op-ed entitled “Why are we still governed by baby boomers?” This is why. Because too many millennials are [applause] overly sensitive, overly fragile and have no sense of priorities. I’m sure many boomers would love to retire, but they can’t — they’re like the grandmother who’d much rather be watching Judge Judy, but has to raise her grandkids because her own kids are too fucked up to manage it.

[Laughter]

[cheers and applause]

You think my generation is an eye roll? Let me let you in on a little secret about the younger generations: no one wants to hire you. Your sense of entitlement is legendary and — with notable exceptions — your attention span and work ethic suck. Here’s a story you never stop hearing around Hollywood: unqualified little shit who has been here all of six months doesn’t understand why he’s not a producer yet.

[Laughter]

[cheers and applause]

This Washington Post story had such resonance because it’s behavior we all recognize. There’s a war going on within the millennial generation — I know, because I’m friends with the good ones. But the crybabies, unfortunately, are still winning. They complain they haven’t taken over yet — well, stop complaining, because in many ways you already have. The fact that the Post‘s initial response was to punish not Felicia but one of their best reporters for a silly joke shows that the kindergarten is already in charge. Today, June 17th, is the 50th anniversary of a seminal event in American history. On this day in 1972 the Watergate break-in happened and over the next two years the Washington Post gave the world a masterclass in investigative journalism. I have to wonder how the post’s newsroom of today would handle that story — or how they’re currently handling any story. All this time spent blubber-tweeting over a retweet begs the question, don’t you have anything better to do?

[Applause]

Aren’t you supposed to be reporters digging up stuff? Are there no more vital issues going on in America right now? This is why you’re not in charge — because if someone named Deep Throat called the paper today and wanted to meet in a parking garage — this crew of emotional hemophiliacs would have an anxiety attack and report to HR that they didn’t “feel safe.’

[Laughter]

[cheers and applause]

If there’s a silver lining to this story, it’s that eventually the post did fire Felicia Sonmez, so maybe there is a line that’s just too much nonsense — but that generation needs to move that line much closer to sanity, and find it much sooner, because democracy dies in dumbness.

Okay, that’s our show.

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