In another must-watch segment on the coronavirus, John Oliver brutally smacked down Rush Limbaugh, Dr. Phil, Tucker Carlson, Pastor Kenneth Copeland, 5g conspiracy theorists and the other major spreaders of coronavirus lies.
First Oliver looked at Pastor Kenneth Copeland who spat at the coronavirus on live TV to make it go away.
Said Oliver: “Spitting all over the place is not going to cure anything, unless your plan is to give the coronavirus the coronavirus, in which case, best of luck to you. But I do understand why Copeland is so determined to end this pandemic. If I only had a few weeks until my tragically obvious hair dye started to fade, I’d be anxious that my colorist be allowed to leave their home too, especially if I’d already claimed on my actual website that my unnaturally dark hair at the age of 82 was simply the result of standing in the mirror and saying ‘glory to God, hair grow dark brown, thick be in the name of Jesus, bald spots, no.'”
Oliver then pointed out that televangelists are just one source of misinformation about coronavirus. There are also conspiracy theorists pushing 5G networks as the source. And then there’s the right-wing media sphere.
And chief among the lie-spreaders is conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh, who told listeners, “All of this panic just is not warranted. When I tell you… that this virus is the common cold. When I said that, it was based on the number of cases. It’s also based on the kind of virus this is. Why do you think this is COVID-19? This is the 19th coronavirus!”
Snapped Oliver: “Okay, no, Rush. Just no. No to you claiming COVID-19 got its name because it’s the 19th coronavirus. That’s not true. It’s called that because it was first identified in 2019, you gigantic potato. But also, no to the virus being the common cold. No to this being not uncommon. No to your gold microphone. No to your browser being open to the Drudge Report. No to your logo which looks like two pairs of breasts are in a fight. No to your stupid quarantine beard. You look like if Santa was #MeToo’d, kicked out of the North Pole, and forced to move to a condo in Tampa with all linoleum floors. I hate it.”
“Limbaugh has spent years pushing his ‘Four Corners of Deceit,’ Oliver added, “which consists of government, academia, science, and the media, which unfortunately happen to be the four most important groups to listen to during a public health crisis. And I understand why he’d sow that doubt. If you establish your show as the sole outlet worth trusting, that gives you a lot of power. And he’s not alone in utilizing that technique. Fox News’s recurrent pitch to its audience has been [that] it will tell you the true story that elites and the mainstream media are trying to hide.”
Oliver explained how and why FOX News and its hosts and commentators – Trish Regan, Laura Ingraham, Dr. Drew, Tucker Carlson, and Dr. Phil – tried to downplay the number of deaths, because the argument that media reaction to coronavirus was hysteria became more difficult to sell as more people died.
Dr. Phil warned viewers about the number of people that die in swimming pools every year, to which Oliver responded, “The total number of drownings, period, is around 4,000. Also, if swimming pools were killing 360,000 people a year, and you could contract a swimming pool on a trip to the grocery store, we might want to think about shutting them down until we worked out what the f**k was going on.”
“Behind the scenes, their own company was suspending non-essential business travel, and encouraging employees to cancel all in-person meetings and summits, and conduct business via Skype or by phone,” Oliver added. “Because, and this is true, they only pretend to believe these things on television for money.”
Oliver noted that Trump is also a target of the misinformation, because he then parrots it, as well as FOX News talking points, in press briefings.
And then there’s chloroquine, pushed by the likes of Tucker Carlson.
Said Oliver: “Thanks to this media frenzy, the efficacy of this drug, which should be a scientific issue, has become a political one. Anyone saying they want more comprehensive studies can be dismissed by the right as a ‘Trump hater.’ … We have a compulsive liar constantly listening to voices telling him that this is nothing more than the common cold, with potentially a 100-percent cure available, and that there’s already a great plan to restart baseball even as there’s a swimming pool killing spree that for some reason nobody’s talking about.”
“Hundreds of people have taken to the streets this week fueled by the kind of misinformation that is rampant in right-wing media. The same right-wing media which then eagerly covered the protests that they helped create.”
“I want people to be able to get back to work and get some sense of normalcy restored,” Oliver continued. “But for what it’s worth, I know people who’ve died from this. I also know people who are taking hydroxychloroquine because they think it will give them immunity, and I know people with Lupus who are down to their last few weeks of pills, and it makes me fucking furious. Because the fact is, the fastest way for this to be over is for all of us to remain united in this very difficult task.”