After last week's segment where Bill Maher sent Alexandra Pelosi out to interview residents of Mississippi, that as I noted, may very well not represent the voters of that state and may well have offended a lot of viewers after watching it, Maher followed up with Pelosi going out and talking to welfare and food stamp recipients in New York City. Here's how the segment was characterized by both Maher and Pelosi, which Dan Abrams' site, Mediaite, was apparently happy to go along with.
Alexandra Pelosi appeared on Real Time tonight with two purposes: to defend the video she filmed of voters in Mississippi that aired on the show last week, and to air a brand-new video that Bill Maher admitted would probably anger liberals in the same way the aforementioned video angered conservatives. For her new video, Pelosi spoke to African-American welfare recipients in New York. There was far less laughter during this piece than the Mississippi one (which Pelosi pointed out after it played), but there were still some revealing moments contained therein. One of the men lined up outside the welfare office said he was more interested in collecting than going across the street to try and find a job. Pelosi asked surprisingly tough questions, like “When was the last time you actually worked?” and “Why should my tax dollars be going to you?”
Maher joked before the video aired that Pelosi might not want to reveal her real New York address in case anyone has a problem with the video. Pelosi revealed afterwards that some of the people she spoke to at HBO told her that the video was too controversial for TV. She noted a slight hypocrisy between the willingness to run a video of “toothless rednecks, but when it’s our neighbors,” it becomes a problem. However, she and Maher did make sure to give some context to the two videos so that they were not completely equating both situations. Pelosi contrasted the money spent by the government on food stamps as opposed to defense, which gets a significantly larger portion of the federal budget.
Because this video depicted just as extreme a side as Pelosi’s first piece, she predicted there would be a similar response from the left complaining about her new video.
Sorry Bill and Alexandra, but no, the video you just posted this Friday is not going to make anyone "go insane." I'm not shocked by what you posted any more than anyone living in the real world should be because yes, there are people out there who don't want to work and receive either welfare or food stamps. And those people live all over the country and not just in Mississippi and New York City and they're not just black or white any more than the issue is black and white. And if you want to solve the problems with poverty, and drop out rates and the real problems underlying either of these videos, you cannot reduce some complex social issues to sound bytes as one of my fellow contributors here at C&L reminded me tonight after watching this segment.
And note to Alexandra Pelosi, please spare me the condescending crap about bloggers in pajamas and who is doing real journalism out there. You're roaming into Willie Geist/Joe Scarborough territory there with those sort of cracks during this interview.