Maher: ‘A Lot of’ COVID Misinformation Was from the Medical Establishment, They Haven’t Earned ‘Monopoly Status on Information’

On Friday’s broadcast of HBO’s “Real Time,” host Bill Maher discussed things about the coronavirus that the medical establishment has gotten wrong before wondering, “how much wrong do you get to be while still holding the default setting for people who represent the science?” And said that “free speech has allowed people to hear misinformation sometimes. And a lot of it” was from the medical establishment.

Maher said, “When people ask me, why are you so skeptical of what the medical establishment tells us? I say, because I’ve seen them react to a virus before. By 1987, CDC officials pretty much knew how HIV was spreading and who was in danger. Now, of course, there’s no moral dimension to this. … But science can be arbitrary, and instead of being precise and focusing on who should be protected, we launched a fear campaign about how AIDS was going to explode into the heterosexual community. Oprah Winfrey summed up what people were hearing when she said, ‘Research studies now project…one in five heterosexuals could be dead from AIDS…by 1990.’ But that didn’t happen, and the upshot of bad information was that in the late 1980s, low-risk Americans were swamping testing facilities and diverting our attention and energy away from the truly at-risk. New York in 2020 learned the hard way how much better precision would have been in prioritizing protecting the nursing homes. Contrary to popular lore, COVID is not Russian roulette. Of course, any virus, any thing, can kill anyone at any time. But we know who COVID kills. … If you’re obese and unvaccinated, or 85 and still crowd-surfing at music festivals, yes, this will likely go badly for you. But at some point, that has to stop being my responsibility. Doesn’t it make more sense to focus on helping the vulnerable stay safe and let the rest of us go back to living normal lives?”

After criticizing school mask policies, Maher stated, “A study this week from a professor at Johns Hopkins concluded that the lockdowns we all suffered through had little impact in reducing COVID deaths. Okay, that’s kind of a big one to get wrong. Last July, President Biden said, ‘You’re not going to get COVID if you have these vaccinations.’ Well, I already knew that was wrong then, and now we all do. The former Director of the CDC, Robert Redfield, believes COVID originated in a lab, and now our intelligence agencies agree, it might have. But for months on social media, it was banned to even discuss it. Look, I’m not saying the medical establishment isn’t trying to figure shit out, or that they’re corrupt — although there is some of that. But how about just wrong? Wrong a lot. Wrong about HIV, wrong about lockdowns, wrong about kids, wrong about how you couldn’t get it if you were vaccinated. Remember washing our packages? And there’s never been any research showing that outdoor transmission is likely or common, yet L.A. County says we’re still supposed to mask up for big outdoor events, like we’ll be at the Super Bowl. … I’m just asking, how much wrong do you get to be while still holding the default setting for people who represent the science? Eat eggs, then don’t, then do. Take aspirin, then don’t, then do. The food pyramid, really? Bread and milk every day? Okay, you do you. Fifteen years ago, they were recommending trans fats. Now, they’re illegal, just like almost a hundred prescription drugs which were once called safe and effective and then yanked off the market because they were not.”

He concluded, “It reminds me of how the Republicans are constantly doing traitorous things like trying to steal elections and inviting the Russians into the Oval Office and somehow, are still known as the party of patriotism. We’ve had this problem in medicine for a long time. The same people who, in private care, always say, get a second opinion, want to allow only one in the public debate. But plainly, the medical-industrial complex has not earned the right to claim monopoly status on information about this virus or medicine in general. Yes, free speech has allowed people to hear misinformation sometimes. And a lot of it was yours.”

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett

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