Maher says media’s ‘panic porn’ coronavirus coverage creates a Trump reelection path

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“Real Time” host Bill Maher closed Friday’s show by blasting the media for what he called its “panic porn” coverage of the coronavirus pandemic.

“Now that we’re starting to see some hope in all of this, don’t hope-shame me!” Maher began. “You know, the problem with nonstop gloom and doom is that it gives Trump the chance to play the optimist. And optimists tend to win American elections. FDR has said, ‘The only thing we have to fear is fear itself. You know, as full of s— as he is, I could see Trump riding that into a second term. And then there will be no more hope left for you to shame.”

“The problem with nonstop gloom-and-doom is that it gives Trump the chance to play the optimist. And optimists tend to win American elections.”

— Bill Maher

Maher urged news outlets to “rein it in” because the “daily drumbeat of depression and terror veers into panic porn.”

“Enough with the ‘Life will never be the same’ headlines!” Maher exclaimed.

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The HBO star singled out The Washington Post for a headline that used the quote, “It feels like a war zone,” when referring to a grocery store and The New York Times for its headline, “Braced for Apocalyptic Surge, New York Avoids Worst, So Far.”

“This was an article about how much better the city was doing than expected,” Maher said. “You don’t have to put hot sauce on a jalapeño.”

He then pointed to another Times headline that read, “‘It’s Terrifying’: Millions More Out of Work” that quoted a Hollywood event planner instead of someone like President Trump or Dr. Anthony Fauci.

“What the f— is ‘It’s terrifying’ doing in a headline?” Maher asked. “How about this: Just tell me millions are out of work without the flashlight under the chin and I’ll decide how I feel about it.”

“How about this: Just tell me millions are out of work without the flashlight under the chin and I’ll decide how I feel about it”

— Bill Maher

He continued, “There was never headlines like this before. There was no, ‘It’s Terrifying: Planes Hit World Trade Center.’ There was no, ‘It’s Sad’ Titanic Sinks After Hitting Iceberg.”

Maher then knocked the media for being “obsessed” with the number of young people who have died with the coronavirus, pointing to the much higher death toll from young people who died from the flu last year.

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“So all of this social distancing did some good. Can I be happy about that?” Maher complained. “Death is terrible, of course, no matter how it comes … but giving the proper perspective isn’t a cover-up of the truth, it is the truth. Sudden dramatic deaths like plane crashes, shark attacks, tornadoes, mass shootings, terrorism, awful as they are, kill far less than seasonal flu. Even hospital-acquired infections may very well kill more people than the coronavirus — 99,000 of them last year! Fifty-thousand died from nephritis last year and I don’t even know what that is!”

He added, “We need the news to calm down and treat us like adults. Trump calls you ‘fake news,’ don’t make him be right.”

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