Inducting Jay Leno into the Television Academy Hall of Fame, comedian Bill Maher compared the former host of "The Tonight Show" to the state of Israel: “not perfect” but held to a higher standard by the media.
“Jay Leno reminds me a little bit of Israel,” Maher said at the Tuesday night ceremony in Beverly Hills, Calif. “He's not perfect, but he is held to a standard that that no one in the world is expected to live up to other than him.” The audience applauded his line.
Maher said Leno has been a “target of critics” despite putting on “a high-quality show night after night.”
Bill Maher speaks on stage at the 2014 Television Academy Hall of Fame on Tuesday, March 11, 2014, at the Beverly Wilshire in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Frank Micelotta/Invision for the Television Academy/AP Images)
Calling him “the leader of the pack,” Maher mocked the media for promoting the myth that Leno "stole Conan's dream" when NBC reinstated Leno as host of "The Tonight Show" in 2010 to replace Conan O’Brien after a brief stint.
“Jay has had some bad publicity over the years. I cannot think of any time whenever he has earned any bad publicity,” Maher said.
Leno hosted his final episode of "The Tonight Show" in February before Jimmy Fallon took over.
Reacting to Maher's Leno-Israel parallel, an Israeli government official told TheBlaze Thursday: “There is unfair coverage [of Israel] but it’s not unique to the media.”
The official, who asked not to be named, said the “unfair treatment” is visible particularly at the United Nations, where a disproportionate number of critical resolutions are targeted at Israel.
That phenomenon received unexpected attention in November when a U.N. interpreter translating the proceedings of the General Assembly was caught on an open microphone expressing her dismay that the world body is so focused on condemning Israel while ignoring other countries.
The U.N. General Assembly’s Fourth Committee at the end of last year adopted nine resolutions condemning Israel. Not one resolution was adopted targeting any other country, not even Syria, where more than 100,000 were killed in the first 2 1/2 years of its civil war.
Multiple blogs have been launched in recent years dedicated to exposing a media double standard when it comes to reporting on Israel, including CAMERA (the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America), Honest Reporting (whose tag line is “Defending Israel from Media Bias”), CiF Watch (for “monitoring and combatting anti-Semitism and the assault on Israel’s legitimacy” at Britain’s Guardian newspaper), and Huffington Post Monitor (“Standing Up Against Hate on the Huffington Post”).
Watch Maher’s speech below (content warning — some strong language). Israel reference comes at the 7:49 mark:
(H/T: Times of Israel)