I wrote Bill Maher off years ago. Every Saturday when I am working here at C&L, I hope he doesn't trend, so I don't have to see what offensive, dangerous nonsense he is trying to peddle on his show the night before. Today, though...today...
Maher's first sit down of his Friday evening show was an 8-minute conversation with pediatrician Jay Gordon. He doesn't like to be called an anti-vaxxer, because he will administer vaccines if requested. He just thinks they don't need to be the dosage they are, and doesn't like the schedule of ages at which they're supposed to be given to children. Is the label "anti-vaxxer" unfair? Should we just call him "vaccine-fluid?"
In 2015, NBC News wrote the following about Dr. Gordon:
California, especially, has pockets of parents who question the need for vaccines. It’s usually affluent, well-educated parents — people who feel comfortable questioning the expertise of their doctors. And Gordon says he feels comfortable accommodating such parents, even against the advice of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the National Institutes of Health.
Last night, Gordon said when a friend asked him if he thought vaccines caused autism, he answered, "There's an impact. I can't prove anything, so I talk quietly." Maher ran with it, promoted Gordon's "slower, lower dosages, and take into account INDIVIDUALS" approach like it was GENIUS, and I am here to tell you that ALL doctors are supposed to take into account the individuals they're treating. This is nothing new, Bill. But if a parent comes in and says, "Nope, I don't believe in vaccines. They cause autism," this doctor will support that? Instead of saying, "You realize you're putting the entire auto-immune and medically vulnerable population at risk, including your baby?"
Sorry, toots. He's anti-vax. And so is Maher.
Then Maher kisses his ass some more, with the anecdotal evidence that is clearly more important to him than the years and dozens of studies that prove vaccines DO. NOT. CAUSE. AUTISM.
If he was going to be realistic about it, he would acknowledge that the anti-vax movement is responsible for the recurrence of major, deadly childhood illnesses that had been declared eradicated. But he is neither realistic, nor does he care, because he hates children, and says so proudly.
If he was going to be realistic about it, he wouldn't present the medical community as having the attitude that they're never wrong, or that they don't tell patients about the potential side effects of treatments or medications. He wouldn't tell the people who want their children vaccinated according to NIH, AMA, and CDC standards that they don't know anything.
If he was going to be realistic about it, he wouldn't have said, "I got a flu shot a long time ago, and it gave me the flu right away. Which is OKAY, but it's not what it's supposed to do." And you know what this alleged doctor who is allegedly NOT anti-vax said? "Well, that's embarrassing, isn't it? They gave you a shot, you got sick."
That's not how any of this works.
FOR THE PEOPLE IN THE BACK: THE FLU SHOT DOES NOT GIVE YOU THE FLU. It simply doesn't necessarily protect you from every STRAIN of the flu that is going around! You can still get the flu if you get a flu vaccine.
This is DANGEROUS SH*T, people. Maher is perfectly fine giving his platform to, amplifying, agreeing with, propping up the absolute WORST kind of thinkers. People die of the flu every single year. Get. Your. Flu. Shot!
Now, I was going to go into the fact that he shimmied over to the panel, which included Right Wing Nut Job Dennis Prager as evidence that truly this show is completely unwatchable. You remember, the guy who thinks guys grow beards so women know they're not female? The guy with the "Prager University" YouTube channel that has over a BILLION-WITH-A-B views of its videos that push racist, sexist, Trumpy conspiracy theories?
But I'm tired. I'm just gonna let Marlow Stern from The Daily Beast give you the run-down of that discussion.
“The Russia collusion thing didn’t turn out to be anything,” offered Prager in a stunning denial of reality. No pushback from Maher. Russia “didn’t undermine our democracy” during the 2016 election,” offered Prager in a stunning denial of reality. Minimal pushback from Maher. There was some silly back-and-forth sniping about whether or not Trump is a fascist, whether or not he was guilty of a quid pro quo with Ukraine, Hillary Clinton’s email server (because of course), and the two closed things by suggesting that the allegations against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh may have been false.
You guys, Sunday is my day off. What are the chances I can get HBO to move Real Time to Saturday nights instead?