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Bill Maher slams panic porn peddling media, 'high-information' liberals, and Andrew Cuomo while praising Ron DeSantis for COVID-19 response


'If you lie to people, even for a very good cause, you lose their trust'

Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Bill Maher delivered a spirited diatribe regarding the response to the COVID-19 pandemic on the latest episode of his HBO talk show. The "Real Time" host took aim at pandemic mismanagement by Democratic governors, ignorance about the factual dangers of coronavirus by liberals, and how the panic porn-peddling media exacerbated the entire situation. Surprisingly, the liberal-minded Maher praised the coronavirus response by Republican governors in Texas and Florida.

"Over the past year, the covid pandemic has prompted the medical establishment, the media and the government to take a 'scared straight' approach to getting the public to comply with their recommendations," Maher said in his closing monologue on Friday night. "Well, I'm from a different school, 'Give it to me straight, doc.' Cause in the long run, that always works better than 'You can't handle the truth.'"

Maher attacked the mainstream media for the "if it bleeds, it leads" mantra."

"The more they can get you to stay inside and watch their panic porn — the higher their ratings," he said.

The HBO host cited a Dartmouth study from last year that found that of approximately 20,000 coronavirus-related news items from the most popular U.S. media outlets, more than 90% were negative, even when there were positive developments in the COVID-19 pandemic.

"When all of our sources for medical information have an agenda to spin us, yeah, you wind up with a badly misinformed population, including on the left," Maher said. "Liberals often mock the Republican misinformation bubble ... but what about liberals? You know, the high-information, behind-the-science people?"

Maher referenced a Gallup survey that asked: "What percentage of people who have been infected by the coronavirus needed to be hospitalized?" The correct answer is between 1% and 5%, and only 18% of American adults responded correctly — 26% of Republicans answered correctly versus only 10% of Democrats. There were 41% of Democrats who believe at least 50% of people infected with COVID-19 need to be hospitalized, compared to 28% of Republicans. Additionally, there were 28% of Democrats who think that 20% to 49% of people who contracted COVID-19 must be hospitalized.

"So almost 70% of Democrats are wildly off on this key question, and also have a greatly exaggerated view of the danger of COVID, and the mortality rate among children," Maher said. "All of which explains why today the states with the highest share of schools that are still closed are all blue states."

The host asked, "So 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?'"

Maher slammed government officials who closed outside activities and the media that supported it.

"Sunshine is the best disinfectant and Vitamin D is the key to a robust immune system," Maher declared. "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."

A study released last year found that Vitamin D can reduce the chances of contracting COVID-19 by at least 54%. In another study, researchers from the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Foundation Trust and the University of East Anglia in England discovered links between low levels of Vitamin D and higher COVID-19 mortality rates.

The liberal Maher then lauded Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis for being "a voracious consumer of the scientific literature," which enabled him to enact policies that helped save senior citizens.

"And maybe that's why he protected his most vulnerable population, the elderly, way better than did the governor of New York," Maher said, criticizing Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo for his nursing home scandal. "Those are just facts, I know it's irresponsible of me to say them."

"Look, here's what I'm saying: I don't want politics mixed in with my medical decisions," Maher proclaimed. "And now that everything is politics, that's all we do. If their side says, 'Covid is nothing,' our side has to say, 'It's everything.' Trump said it would 'go away like a miracle,' and we said it was World War Z."

"And now, of course, we find out that all that paranoia about surfaces was bulls*** anyway," he added. "If you lie to people, even for a very good cause, you lose their trust."

Maher then hypothesized that many people died because the government and media didn't provide warnings on how dangerous obesity can be, especially during the coronavirus pandemic.

"Imagine how many lives could have been saved if there had been a national campaign à la Michelle Obama's 'Let's Move' program with the urgency of the pandemic behind it," Maher noted. "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."

Analysis by the World Obesity Federation found that about 90%, of the global coronavirus deaths were in countries with high levels of obesity.

Last month, the CDC released a study showing that approximately 78% of people who have been hospitalized, needed a ventilator, or died from coronavirus have been overweight or obese.

A new study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine said that regular exercise could protect against severe COVID-19 hospitalizations.

New Rule: Give It to Me Straight, Doc | Real Time with Bill Maher (HBO) www.youtube.com

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