HBO’s “Real Time” host Bill Maher called out the media, health officials, and the government in his closing monologue late Friday, accusing them of taking a “scared straight” approach to informing Americans about COVID-19 instead of simply giving “it to me straight.”
The liberal “Real Time” host cited a Dartmouth University study, showing that major media networks in the United States reported nearly 90% bad news. Maher said that, as a result of spin from the media, politicians, and health officials, many Americans have been drastically misinformed about the pandemic and the risks associated with it.
After taking a shot at Republicans — saying that one-third of Republicans in a recent poll didn’t know that people can spread COVID-19 while asymptomatic — Maher took aim at liberals, whom he referred to jokingly as the “high-information, by-the-science people.”
“In a recent Gallup survey, Democrats did much worse than Republicans in getting the right answer to the fundamental question: What are the chances that someone who gets COVID will need to be hospitalized? The answer is between 1-5%. Forty-one percent of Democrats thought it was over 50%. Another 28% put the chances at 20-49%,” he said.
“So almost 70% of Democrats are wildly off on this key question, and also have a greatly exaggerated view of the danger of COVID, too, and the mortality rate among children,” said Maher, noting that the highest share of current school closures are in blue states.
Later in the closing monologue, Maher pointed out that COVID-19 infection rates in Texas, which has a Republican governor, have declined since the state lifted its pandemic restrictions. “But to many liberals, that can’t be right, because Texas and beach-loving Florida have Republican governors,” said Maher.
“But life is complicated,” remarked Maher, before featuring a photo of Florida’s Republican Governor Ron DeSantis on-screen. “Apparently, the governor is also a voracious consumer of the scientific literature, and maybe that’s why he protected his most vulnerable population, the elderly, way better than the governor of New York,” he said.
The “Real Time” host’s audience then applauded DeSantis for protecting the elderly residents in his state.
“Those are just facts. I know it’s irresponsible of me to say them,” quipped Maher. “Look, here’s what I’m saying. I don’t want politics mixed in with my medical decisions.”
“If you lie to people, even for a very good cause, you lose their trust. I think a lot of people died because of Trump’s incompetence, and I think a lot of people died because talking about obesity had become a third-rail in America,” Maher later added.
He concluded: “If the media and the doctors made a 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.”
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