On Friday night, Bill Maher granted a very large platform to Ben Domenech, the co-founder of far-right publication The Federalist.
For the blissfully uninitiated, The Federalist is a strange, hyper-conservative website that’s privately funded (and refuses to disclose who financially backs it), and has published a number of conspiracy theories, a gross op-ed defending Roy Moore preying on teenagers, and had a tag for articles called “Black Crime,” among other offenses. And Domenech, whose father Douglas served in the George W. Bush administration (and helped land his son a job in it), was not only fired from the Washington Post for plagiarism, but recently unleashed a bizarre homophobic rant against Seth Meyers for the cardinal sin of challenging his wife Meghan McCain on her distortions regarding Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN.).
Anyway, Maher, who’s welcomed everyone from performance artist Milo Yiannopoulos to Ben Shapiro onto his popular HBO program, had Domenech on Real Time tonight.
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And it went about as expected.
Domenech was on the panel portion of the program and, sporting a shiny suit, kicked things off with a strange argument regarding the potential impeachment of President Trump. “First off, you can impeach for anything. You can impeach because you don’t like his hair. The Republicans could’ve impeached Barack Obama because they didn’t like his tan suit,” Domenech puzzlingly claimed, adding that the Democrats run “a real risk” if the impeachment process goes into an election year.
Maher didn’t push back—leaving it to NBC News journalist/Hunter S. Thompson cosplayer John Heilemann, who brought reason back into the equation, saying, “You can’t impeach someone based on the color of their hair because there’s no reasonable legal theory under which the color of someone’s hair constitutes a high crime or misdemeanor.”
“How come every zany thing he does happens to be the thing that Putin would like?” asked Maher, referring to Trump’s announcement that he’s pulling U.S. troops out of Northern Syria and abandoning America’s Kurdish allies. Silence from Domenech, naturally.
At no point in the night did Maher question Domenech about, say, who funds The Federalist or his site’s history of publishing offensive—and at times, downright egregious—material; rather, he legitimized this lie-peddler and granted him millions of new eyeballs. And for what?
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