DAVID BIANCULLI

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JONATHAN STORM

 
 
 
 
 
REAL TIME WITH BILL MAHER
February 17, 2017  | By David Bianculli

HBO, 10:00 p.m. ET

 

It’s not unusual for Bill Maher to make headlines for what he or his guests say on his late-night current-events-and-comedy discussion program – but this time, he’s made headlines even before the live show is televised. One of Maher’s scheduled guests tonight is Milo Yiannopoulos (pictured), the inflammatory figure whose scheduled appearance earlier this month at the University of California, Berkeley, was canceled after angry protesters gathered in front of the venue, threw bricks and set fires. Yiannopoulos writes for the Breitbart website, was banned from Twitter for his tweets attacking and targeting Saturday Night Live regular Leslie Jones, and calls himself a “free-speech fundamentalist.” Maher indeed believes that booking Yiannopoulos is an example of free speech, and, as a standup comic, has long observed that college campus audiences seem to be more protective, insular, and resistant to hearing views contrary to their own. Another guest booked for tonight’s show, journalist Jeremy Scahill, has refused to appear, in protest of Yiannopoulos being given a voice on TV. But Maher counters that giving such views exposure, and countering them with intelligent debate, is the best way to combat them. On that count, I agree with Maher. And apparently, so do Larry Wilmore, and actress Leah Remini, who are among Maher’s other scheduled guests tonight.

 
 
 
 
 
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