Maher Charges Racism Fuels Disrespect of Obama, Sees 'Subliminal Racism' on Drudge

Friday night on his HBO show, Bill Maher tried to discredit critics of President Barack Obama, including those concerned about his talk to school children, by smearing them as racists - before he pointed to a Drudge Report headline, "POLL HELL: OBAMA NEGS RISE," as somehow an example of the ways "some of the right-wingers are always dropping subliminally racist messages."

Maher first took up Congressman Joe Wilson's "you lie" shout at Obama: "To heckle a President, to shout in the middle of a speech, would he have done that if it was a white President? I don't think so. I think this is a southern guy who thinks 'I can do whatever I want when it's a black guy speaking.'"

Moments later on Real Time, Maher raised "the folks who did not want the President of the United States to speak to their children. No one who is sane would think the President was going to make a partisan speech to school children. And yet, there's something about that," recalling "I grew up in an all-white town in northern New Jersey" and "I remember hearing parents talk when I was a kid, you know, they didn't want black people just talking to their kids. That's what this reminded me of."

As an instance of "what I mean by subliminally racist," Maher displayed on screen an actual DrudgeReport.com headline beneath a photo of Obama, "POLL HELL: OBAMA NEGS RISE." In quite a stretch, he implied the racist angle: "I just think for a certain number of people, when they see 'Negs Rise'-" He trailed off, leaving viewers to imagine how he presumes "a certain number of people" will translate those words.

Cuing off that real headline, Maher then put up his own made up racist headlines as they would look on Drudge.

Under a picture of Obama and John McCain: "OBAMA BEATS OLD WHITE MAN"

Under a photo of Obama with Joe Biden's mother: "OBAMA EMBRACES JOE MOMMA"

Under a picture of First Lady Michelle Obama tending her White House garden: "HOEIN' THE GARDEN"

Maher on the reaction to the speech to school children, from the September 11 Real Time with Bill Maher, during the panel time with Paul Rieckhoff, Rajiv Chandrasekaran and Richard Clarke:

And also the folks who did not want the President of the United States to speak to their children. No one who is sane would think the President was going to make a partisan speech to school children. And yet, there's something about that, I'm sorry - I know it drives conservatives nuts when you accuse them of racism - but when you don't want the President just talking to your kids? I grew up in an all-white town in northern New Jersey, yeah New Jersey. That's what bedroom communities were after World War II. And I remember hearing parents talk when I was a kid, you know, they didn't want black people just talking to their kids. That's what this reminded me of.

- Brent Baker is Vice President for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center