During his hour-long conversation with Daily Wire editor emeritus Ben Shapiro, HBO host Bill Maher hit the liberal media for spreading misinformation about COVID-19 risks.
Maher told Shapiro of polling he saw featured in The New York Times that showed 41% of Democrats believed half of all unvaccinated people who get COVID-19 will have to be hospitalized when the real number is between 1% and 5%.
“There’s a lot of bad information on both sides,” Maher told Shapiro on “Sunday Special.” “Liberals didn’t like it when I pointed out that some 41% of Democrats, when asked the question … how many people who get COVID need to be hospitalized, thought it was over 50%, when it was, of course, around 1%.”
“I mean, that’s a crazy number, to be off that much — no wonder they think you need a mask everywhere, if you think half the people who get [COVID] need to go to the hospital and it’s really 1%.”
“The Left-wing media should answer for that,” Maher demanded. “How did your audience get that bad idea in their head, that so many people need to go to the hospital who don’t?”
Maher added that Right-wing media needs to answer for “misinformation” on “climate change” — a topic the pair tackled later in their conversation.
Gallup research shows that Americans have a “poor understanding of the true risks associated with the COVID-19 pandemic and that misperceptions vary by political party,” the analytics firm reported. Polling from December 2020 showed only 10% of Democrats answered correctly that between only 1% and 5% of those who get COVID-19 would require hospitalization. A stunning 41% believed half of those infected with the virus would have to be hospitalized:
Previous Gallup research has found that the American public has a poor understanding of the true risks associated with the COVID-19 pandemic and that misperceptions vary by political party. In December 2020, through the Franklin Templeton-Gallup Economics of Recovery Study, we asked 5,000 U.S. adults: “As far as you know, what percentage of people who have been infected by the coronavirus needed to be hospitalized?” Only 18% provided the correct answer, which at that time was between 1% and 5%, and a higher percentage of Republicans (26%) gave the correct response than did Democrats (just 10%). Likewise, experimental research from Gallup and Franklin Templeton found that providing people information about high vaccine efficacy led to greater acceptance of the vaccine.
“Partisanship was a strong predictor of accuracy, but party accuracy varied by whether the respondent was assessing the risk of the vaccinated or unvaccinated populations,” Gallup emphasized. “For unvaccinated hospitalization risk, 2% of Democrats responded correctly, compared with 16% of Republicans. In fact, 41% of Democrats replied that at least 50% of unvaccinated people have been hospitalized due to COVID-19.”
During the hour-long conservation, Maher also revealed to Shapiro that if it were up to him, he would not have wanted to get the vaccine against COVID-19, noting of his good health.
“I’m glad we have the vaccine,” Maher told Shapiro. “I personally would not have wanted to get it, but I did — took one for the team. I would have rather had my own immune system handle this one.”
“Now, to me, it’s a case-by-case basis,” the HBO host explained. “I’m not an anti-vaxxer, I just think everybody is different. There are some diseases out there I would fight you for the vaccine.”
“America is so unhealthy — that’s the essential part we don’t address — so unhealthy to begin with, that it’s great we have a vaccine, because that is saving the lives of everyone smart enough to get the vaccine who is not in good health to being with,” he said. “But, ya know, that certainly wouldn’t have been my way to handle it.”
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