While doing an interview on Jimmy Kimmel Live, Bill Maher criticized “the liberal media” for “scaring people” with their coverage of Covid-19. He said credible publications such as the The New York Times are responsible for “fearmongering” and “scaring people” by what he sees as coverage inflating the risk of Covid-19.
“[O]ver the past year the 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 the interview about the Covid-19 pandemic.
Condemning American news sources for reporting “more negative[ly]” about Covid-19 than international news sources, he cited a Dartmouth study. However, he failed to put the data in context. He neglected to mention that Covid-19 pandemic has been far more severe in the United States than in many other countries.
Kimmel, a longtime critic of red states’ failure to establish statistically lifesaving Covid-19 lockdowns, reminded the 65-year-old “Real Time with [himself]” host that he, himself, got the virus.
“It’s a little weird that I got it after, but many, many, many people have had the same situation,” Maher said of the fact that he caught Covid-19, a historically deadly and highly transmissible virus for which there is still no cure other than palliative treatment. “Bottom line, if you’re vaccinated, you almost never die from it,” he continued.
Reciting a familiar and unequivocally debunked mantra often promoted by right-wing salespeople and politicians, Maher’s rant was included claims like “sunshine is the best disinfectant” and “vitamin D is the key to a robust immune system”.
Vitamin D has nothing to do with Covid-19.
In the clip, he also slammed “paranoid” people for being “afraid to go out” during the pandemic, and largely blamed news coverage. He said it is hard to sell tickets to his own events.
Why is Maher doing this? Well, he is self-admittedly angry that he cannot sell tickets to his own shows during a deadly pandemic. This obviously means Maher loses money. Maher reacted to the loss by telling his audience the “risk” of Covid-19 is “overblown.”
The 170-year-old New York Times has won 132 Pulitzer prizes and is historically and internationally cited as a paper of record. It has the third-highest circulation rate in the United States and the 17th-highest in the world.
In light of the new Delta variant of the Covid-19 virus, which is even more transmissible, Maher’s remarks appear somewhat more ill-timed than ever.
This April, New York Times journalist David Leondhart wrote a piece on “bad news bias” that might serve as an answer to Maher and others who share his critique of the facts on Covid-19 as the work of a conspiracy by the “liberal media.”
“In the modern era of journalism — dating roughly to the Vietnam War and Watergate — we tend to equate impact with asking tough questions and exposing problems,” Leondhart wrote. “There are some good reasons for that. We are inundated by politicians, business executives, movie stars and others trying to portray themselves in the best light. Our job is to cut through the self-promotion and find the truth.
“If we don’t tell you the bad news, you may never hear it.”
As of Sept. 17, 670,231 people in the United States have died from Covid-19. The United States has reported nearly 42 million cases of the virus.
That’s depressing. But it’s a fact.