Swisher Decries Lack Of Serious Debate, Yet Labels Murdoch ‘Uncle Satan’

News & Politics

Liberal journalist and podcaster Kara Swisher took her book tour to HBO and Real Time with Bill Maher on Friday to offer up several contradictory claims. Swisher claimed to be for debate while defending collusion between the government and social media companies and labeled Rupert Murdoch “Uncle Satan” while lamenting the lack of serious debate.

Maher told Swisher, whose book is about the tech industry, “We should have been able to argue about whether it came from a lab which we weren’t, things like that, natural immunity, whether it was better to go to the beach and get sun and fresh air, as I would have said as opposed to sitting home and day drinking and putting on weight. They never mention that obesity was the biggest factor. They have a lot to answer for.”

Swisher claimed to understand Maher’s concerns but ultimately downplayed them, “They do, but you’re in the middle of a plague in a debate people don’t know and so you’re going to have to—”

After Maher interrupted to claim that proved his point, Swisher continued to evade “Yes, you should, but this is not—the moment was not—people make mistakes and science says it makes mistakes.”

Maher then brought up a lawsuit brought by:

Jay Bhattacharya and Martin Kulldorff, they’re from Stanford and Harvard…they’re not radicals, they were saying we’re going too far with school closures. Again, I think, has been proved right. My question always was why are your doctors more important than my doctors, the ones I want to listen to, and the social media companies were in the tank with the government as opposed to what you were just saying before, about you’re the watchdog and you have been, they did the bidding of the government, that’s what the lawsuit’s about. 

Swisher again dodged the question, “It is about that but it’s whether they can talk to each other reasonably and be coerced… if the government knows about, say, a major threat and it doesn’t talk to these companies, we get into all kinds of trouble.”

She then tried to change the topic:

So, I think what’s happened is reductiveness, like, everybody has got to be ‘you were wrong, I was right’ and stuff like that and what’s happening in this culture and I think it’s because of three things: social media, gerrymandering, and Rupert Murdoch, I think pretty much if I had to pick three things whom I call—I know, it’s an easy clap, right— I call him Uncle Satan in the book because he’s avuncular yet bad, but one of the things that has happened is social media has caused us to– we talk about our grievances with each other all the time and we don’t tell stories about each other anymore. 

What does the lack of intelligent debate on social media have to do with shutting down debate on school closures?

Additionally, while Swisher referred to Murdoch as Uncle Satan, she also attacked Elon Musk for being an unserious debater, “Mark Cuban… did an amazing series on DEI… it was really smart and the response from Elon was ‘you’re a moron.’ Oh, that’s debate — well done, highest level of Oxford.”

Claiming scientists make mistakes while defending scientific censorship of lockdown critics while also labeling Murdoch, and presumably Fox News, Uncle Satan is not exactly Oxford-level thinking either.

Here is a transcript for the March 22 show:

HBO Real Time with Bill Maher

3/23/2024

10:18 PM ET

BILL MAHER: We should have been able to argue about whether it came from a lab which we weren’t, things like that, natural immunity, whether it was better to go to the beach and get sun and fresh air, as I would have said—

KARA SWISHER: Okay.

MAHER: — as opposed to sitting home and day drinking—

SWISHER: Right.

MAHER: — and putting on weight. 

SWISHER: Look, Bill, I’m going to—

MAHER: They never mention that obesity was the biggest factor. 

SWISHER: I get it.

MAHER: They have a lot to answer for. Anyway—

SWISHER: They do, but you’re in the middle of a plague in a debate people don’t know and so you’re going to have to– 

MAHER: Yes, so you should be able to debate it, this is medicine.

SWISHER: Yes, you should, but this is not—the moment was not—people make mistakes and science says it makes mistakes. 

MAHER: Well, this is what the lawsuit is about—

SWISHER: Okay.

MAHER: — because there were two doctors, Jay Bhattacharya and Martin Kulldorff, they’re from Stanford and Harvard—

SWISHER: Right.

MAHER: — and they said “we, you know, we were shut down — not always fully but there are ways to do that”—

SWISHER: Right.

MAHER: — and they’re not radicals, they were saying we’re going too far with school closures. Again, I think, has been proved right. My question always was why are your doctors more important than my doctors—

SWISHER: Right.

MAHER: — the ones I want to listen to and the social media companies were in the tank with the government as opposed to what you were just saying before, about you’re the watchdog and you have been—

SWISHER: Right.

MAHER: – they did the bidding of the government, that’s what the lawsuit’s about. 

SWISHER: It is about that but it’s whether they can talk to each other reasonably and be coerced and I think the Supreme Court’s going to go against it because social media companies also have first First Amendment rights, by the way and so, I think the issue is what is the government talking to these companies about? Is coercing them or is just having reasonable discussions, if the government knows about, say, a major threat and it doesn’t talk to these companies—

MAHER: Well.

SWISHER:– We get into all kinds of trouble. So, I think what’s happened is reductiveness. Like, everybody has got to be “you were wrong, I was right” and stuff like that and what’s happening in this culture and I think it’s because of three things: social media, gerrymandering, and Rupert Murdoch, I think pretty much if I had to pick three things whom I call—I know, it’s an easy clap, right— I call him Uncle Satan in the book because he’s avuncular yet bad, but one of the things that has happened is social media has caused us to– we talk about our grievances with each other all the time and we don’t tell stories about each other anymore and that’s what happened, it’s reductiveness, so you don’t get a debate and someone has to top to each other and dunk each other and this is why I have a problem with Elon Musk owning X because all he wants to do is dunk—

MAHER: Right. Right.

SWISHER: Right? Instead of, like, Mark Cuban—

MAHER: Yeah.

SWISHER: — who, both of you and I know, did an amazing series on DEI—

MAHER: Right.

SWISHER: — Right? When he did it, I wrote him, I go “godspeed, you’re going over there. Good luck” and he did it and it was really smart and the response from Elon was “you’re a moron.” Oh, that’s debate — well done, highest level of Oxford. 

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