Two thumbs up to Vice President Joe Biden for rebuking climate-change deniers such as Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) in an interview for HBO’s Vice earlier this month:

YouTube video

Biden’s interview was featured in an outstanding edition of the program (one that is unfortunately no longer available for online viewing) focused on the ravages of human-caused climate change, and the malevolent forces preventing the United States from leading on this issue.

I didn’t realize until recently that Vice was executive-produced by Bill Maher. He deserves tremendous credit for doing so. In fact, I don’t think Maher receives enough credit for all of the good work he has done over the decades to push back against the icons of ignorance and demagogues of depravity in American culture. Future generations will remember Maher as a warrior for truth and reason–but does the present generation recognize him as such?

Remember how despondent progressives were by Jon Stewart’s announcement that he would leave the Daily Show? Now, just think about how sad it would be if Maher decided to walk away from it all. Who else could skewer the sociopaths with such skill? Who else would ridicule reactionaries so relentlessly? Without Real Time, we’d have all falsehoods all the time.

It takes uncommon courage to do what Maher does–the sort of courage we desperately need more of in an age of abundant right-wing media disinformation. As Joni Mitchell said forty-five years ago, you don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone. So while he’s still here, perhaps it’s time for us to appreciate Maher a little more, and give him the props he deserves for keeping this country honest.

UPDATE: Vice’s interview of President Obama. (Hat tip to Peter Sinclair.)

Our ideas can save democracy... But we need your help! Donate Now!

D. R. Tucker is a Massachusetts-based journalist who has served as the weekend contributor for the Washington Monthly since May 2014. He has also written for the Huffington Post, the Washington Spectator, the Metrowest Daily News, investigative journalist Brad Friedman's Brad Blog and environmental journalist Peter Sinclair's Climate Crocks.