“Did you hear this – Sarah Palin finally heard what happened in Japan and she’s demanding that we invade ‘Tsunami,’” Maher said. “I mean she said, ‘These ‘Tsunamians’ will not get away with this.’ Oh speaking of dumb tw**s, did you...”
Maher was offering an imagined Palin response in an apparent attempt at humor, as Palin had made no such statement.
The National Organization for Women (NOW) refused to comment on Maher’s use of the derogatory term. A rep told FOXNews.com it is a “known fact” that NOW does not correspond with FOX News.
Other women's groups and publications did not have such policies in place.
“Widespread sexism in the media is one of the top problems facing women, and seriously affects women in politics. A highly toxic media environment persists for women candidates, and discourages all women – irrespective of political persuasion - from running for public office,” Yana Walton, Vice President of Communications at Women's Media Center told FOXNews.com. “Despite the fact that women make up half of the population, we're only 17 percent of congress. Bill Maher's misogynistic comment about Sarah Palin hurts all women, not just Palin, and not just conservative women. By insulting her gender, rather than her platform or stance on issues, he insults women as a group.”
Terry Dougherty, editor of Women magazine, said “[Maher's] choice of words shows an enormous lack of respect for women. If his preceding joke had been about a man, I can't imagine him using an equally derogatory term to describe a male. That type of language shows a lack of consideration toward women."
Matthew Vadum, Senior Editor at the Capital Research Center in Washington DC, said Maher’s insults spotlight hypocrisy in the media.
"Bill Maher feels he can get away with such jaw-droppingly offensive verbal attacks on Sarah Palin because virtually the entire media-academia-entertainment complex agrees with him,” Vadum said. “Clinging to their political correctness and disdain for her quintessentially American values, the left-wing cocktail circuit regards Palin as a punch line.”
So if a prominent media figure had made such a disparaging remark towards a leading female Democrat, like Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, would the mainstream media have reacted with outrage?
“If a conservative used that language to describe Hillary Clinton, we wouldn't be hearing very much about Japan or Libya,” said John Ziegler, creator the documentary “Media Malpractice.” “If they said it about Michelle Obama, the media would be going 24/7 with the story.”
"I suspect NOW hasn't come to Palin's defense because the group agrees with Maher,” added Vadum. “After all, NOW didn't have a problem with someone on California Gov. Jerry Brown's campaign staff calling his Republican opponent Meg Whitman a 'whore.' NOW really ought to change its name to National Organization for Liberal Women because as far as it's concerned conservative women aren't real women at all.”
Deidre Behar contributed to this report.
Hollie McKay has been a FoxNews.com staff reporter since 2007. She has reported extensively from the Middle East on the rise and fall of terrorist groups such as ISIS in Iraq. Follow her on twitter at @holliesmckay