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Bill Maher guest tells MSNBC host his network is all propaganda

By Mandy Donalds
January 23, 2024

In a candid exchange on HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher, writer Andrew Sullivan accused MSNBC host Ari Melber of representing a network that propagates biased news.

During a compelling segment on the popular HBO program, Sullivan didn't hold back in expressing his viewpoint, stating outright to MSNBC host Melber that he's part of a news corporation that leans heavily towards propaganda.

The dialogue centered around the current political landscape, particularly focusing on former President Donald Trump's renewed prominence and how the Democratic Party's response might be undermining the very fabric of American democracy, as reported by The Blaze.

Debating democracy's durability in current politics

Sullivan argued that the Democrats' strategy over the past four years, which has been to counter Trump by shifting even further to the left, is eroding the legitimacy of the political system.

He voiced concerns that this undermines the nation's democratic foundations, leading to a situation where the public's faith in democracy is significantly weakened.

Sullivan remarked:

What the Democrats have done the last four years, which is respond to Trump by going even further to the left, means that we are losing the legitimacy of the system. When you lose that core legitimacy, you lose your democracy — that's where we are really going to lose our democracy because we don’t believe in it anymore.

Concerns over a polarized media landscape

The writer also highlighted what he perceives as an overreaction from the left.

According to him, this is pushing the populace towards distrust in institutions and fostering support for authoritarian figures like Trump.

Sullivan even went as far as predicting Trump's victory over President Joe Biden in the upcoming November elections, attributing this potential outcome to the prevailing distrust and disenchantment.

In response, Melber acknowledged some of Sullivan's points but criticized him for what he considered a "both-sides" approach.

Melber argued that while both parties may have their issues, equating their actions or impact doesn't paint an accurate picture of the current political situation.

He emphasized that Trump's approach, which he described as banking on cynicism and a complete rejection of policy-based democracy, stands apart in its impact on the nation's democratic health.

Clashing perspectives on media's role in democracy

Sullivan's comments also shed light on his view of the role mainstream media networks like MSNBC should play.

He suggested that a balanced approach, considering viewpoints from both sides of the political spectrum, would contribute to a more informed public discourse.

He critiqued MSNBC for what he perceives as a failure to engage in this balanced approach, labeling their coverage as propagandistic.

Sullivan said:

You know what would be good at MSNBC is if you actually did think about both sides and weigh the arguments and make constructive arguments against that side while respecting them. You don't do that — it's propaganda all the time.

Media trust at a crossroads

Melber, feeling the weight of Sullivan's words, denied the allegations of biased reporting.

He pointed out that his show often features Republicans and Trump supporters, suggesting a level of balance in their coverage.

However, Sullivan's remarks resonate with a broader sentiment among the American public. Trust in traditional media is waning, as indicated by record-low confidence levels.

This shift is driving audiences towards alternative sources of news and information, including independent journalism, podcasts, and subscription-based services.

As this conversation unfolds, it becomes evident that the issue at hand extends beyond a single television segment. It touches on the broader dynamics of media influence, public trust, and the future of democratic discourse in the United States.

Reflecting on the future of news and democracy

The exchange between Sullivan and Melber underscores a pivotal moment in the relationship between media, politics, and the public.

As traditional news outlets face scrutiny and emerging media forms gain traction, the landscape of information and its impact on democracy continues to evolve.

The conversation on Real Time with Bill Maher serves as a microcosm of this larger shift, prompting reflection on the role of media in shaping public perception and political discourse.


  • Andrew Sullivan openly criticized MSNBC host Ari Melber on HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher, labeling the network as a vehicle for propaganda.
  • Sullivan argues that the Democrats' extreme leftward shift in response to Trump is eroding the legitimacy of the American political system.
  • Melber acknowledges some of Sullivan's points but criticizes him for adopting a "both-sides" perspective, emphasizing Trump's unique impact on democratic norms.
  • Sullivan suggests that a more balanced approach in media coverage could foster a healthier public discourse, accusing MSNBC of biased reporting.
  • The discussion highlights a broader public distrust in traditional media, with many turning to alternative forms of news and information.
  • The conversation between Sullivan and Melber reflects wider concerns about the role of media in shaping democratic values and public perception.