Bill Maher Rips Media's COVID 'Panic Porn': 'How Did Your Audience Wind Up Believing Such A Bunch Of Crap?'

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Posted: Apr 17, 2021 1:00 PM
Bill Maher Rips Media's COVID 'Panic Porn': 'How Did Your Audience Wind Up Believing Such A Bunch Of Crap?'

Source: (Janet Van Ham/HBO via AP)

During a Saturday night "Real Time" monologue to close out his show, HBO comedian Bill Maher lambasted the incessant media "panic porn" about the actual risks of COVID-19 before taking aim at his fellow "party of science" members for being severely misinformed. He then offered praise for a key Republican governor who was not misinformed, and saved lives as a result.

"Liberals often mock the Republican misinformation bubble," Maher said. "But what about liberals, you know, the high-information, behind-the-science people? ... If the right-wing media bubble has to own things like climate change denial, shouldn't liberal media have to answer for, 'How did your audience wind up believing such a bunch of crap about COVID?'"

If you've ever driven by someone wearing two masks alone in the car or while jogging outdoors at a park, and I know you have, you've probably wondered how two worlds can exist at the exact same time, right beside each other. On the one hand, COVID-19 is a potentially deadly virus to those who are vulnerable and it merits reasonable, sustainable precautions. On the other, our Chicken Little medical overlords and the lapdog media who give them a platform have been predicting a literal zombie apocalypse for more than a year. And people keep believing them.

It's no wonder, then, that so many people, particularly Democrats who think they're getting the 'straight news' from CNN, overestimate their risk and take insane 'precautions' like wearing eight face masks and hiding in their basements, only coming up for air to grab an Amazon delivery off the porch - while wearing eight face masks. 

Maher cited a Gallup, Franklin Templeton survey, released last month, that showed a much higher percentage of Democrats than Republicans severely overstating the risks of COVID.

"[Democrats] also have a greatly exaggerated view of the danger of COVID to and the mortality rate among children, all of which explains why today the states with the highest share of schools that are still closed are all blue states," he panned.

Indeed, misinformation about virus lethality has been a constant aspect of public behavior. Here's what Franklin Templeton wrote in July 2020 after a similar survey:

Six months into this pandemic, Americans still dramatically misunderstand the risk of dying from COVID-19:

1.) On average, Americans believe that people aged 55 and older account for just over half of total COVID-19 deaths; the actual figure is 92%.

2.) Americans believe that people aged 44 and younger account for about 30% of total deaths; the actual figure is 2.7%.

3.) Americans overestimate the risk of death from COVID-19 for people aged 24 and younger by a factor of 50; and they think the risk for people aged 65 and older is half of what it actually is (40% vs 80%).

These results are nothing short of stunning. Mortality data have shown from the very beginning that the COVID-19 virus age-discriminates, with deaths overwhelmingly concentrated in people who are older and suffer comorbidities. This is perhaps the only uncontroversial piece of evidence we have about this virus. Nearly all US fatalities have been among people older than 55; and yet a large number of Americans are still convinced that the risk to those younger than 55 is almost the same as to those who are older.

Maher, a liberal, went on to laud Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis as "a voracious consumer of the scientific literature" who "protected his most vulnerable population, the elderly, way better than did the governor of New York."

"Those are just facts, I know it's irresponsible of me to say them," he joked.

The HBO host's praise for DeSantis included an indictment of media for constantly using crowded beach photos to fear porn "even though it's increasingly looking like the beach is the best place to avoid it."

Sunshine is the best disinfectant and Vitamin D is the key to a robust immune system. Texas lifted its COVID restrictions recently and their infection rates went down, in part because of people getting outside to let the sun and wind do their thing. But to many liberals, 'That can't be right, because Texas and beach-loving Florida have Republican governors,' but life is complicated! I've read that the governor of Florida reads.

Maher had some harsh words for former President Donald Trump as well as the politicization of COVID to close out his monologue, then ended by pointing out that obesity, a primary factor in COVID mortality, has become "a third rail in America" that can't be criticized. 

Imagine how many lives could have been saved if there had been a national campaign ala Michelle Obama's 'Let's Move' program with the urgency of the pandemic behind it. If the media and the doctors made the point to keep saying, 'But there's something you can do,' but we'll never know because they never did because the last thing you want to do is say something insensitive. We would literally rather die. Instead, we were told to lock down. Unfortunately, the killer was already inside the house. And her name is Little Debbie.