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HBO: Bill Maher copies Rachel Maddow in promoting Jeff Sharlet's "The Family"

Posted on August 3 2009 4:58 pm
David Swindle is the Managing Editor of NewsReal Blog and the Associate Editor of FrontPage Magazine. Follow him on Twitter here
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the family

Leftist talk show host Bill Maher is hardly an original talent. The jokes in each week’s opening monologue are usually predictable and rarely draw more than a slight chuckle.

And so it comes as no surprise that he’s just as unoriginal in his serious moments as well. Just observe his decision to feature Jeff Sharlet, a contributing editor to Harper’s, one of the preminent organs of the literary Left. Sharlet was on to talk about — what else? — his book The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power, a supposed expose of a religious lobbying group and church in Washington D.C.

Sharlet pretty much said the exact same thing he said on the Rachel Maddow Show on July 9. He even led with the same anecdote about a minister of the family encouraging Republican politicians to act like Hitler and wield totalitarian power.

The reason why Maher and Maddow have promoted Sharlet and his book so much is because they’re trying to define their opponents on the Right as something that can be dismissed out of hand: theocratic fascists.

This is nothing new. Sharlet is doing pretty much the same thing as “conservative”-turned-leftist Michael Lind who David Horowitz challenged 11 years ago in a FrontPage article that was reprinted in Left Illusions. In his article Horowitz describes how Lind came to reject the Right and embrace the Dissent Left because of Pat Robertson’s book The New World Order. In Lind’s explanation, at its heart the Right was little more than paranoid, conspiracy-driven, Christian authoritarians.

Horowitz called out Lind and his retort could just as well be applied to Maher, Sharlet, and Maddow’s attempt to resurrect the slur:

The characterization is so off-the-wall, so dotty, that further exploration of the author’s thoughts seems hardly necessary.

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