- The Washington Times - Monday, March 5, 2018

Comedian Bill Maher says President Trump’s supporters often have credible claims of “fake” news due to websites habitually framing “bulls—” stories as controversies.

The New York Times, The Washington Post, BBC, Fox News, BuzzFeed and a host of news organizations were recently excoriated by HBO’s “Real Time” host for treating Americans as “cocks in [the media’s] cock fights.” He used over four minutes to lampoon journalists for behaving like Russian state actors who meddled in the 2016 presidential election.

“I used to think something was news if a journalist reported it, but really I live in a world where it’s news if Mariah Carey’s [breast] flops out because Twitter will respond and then a ‘journalist’ reports on the ‘controversy,’” the liberal comedian began late Friday.

Mr. Maher then referenced a slew of outlets that allocated resources to a story about actress Jennifer Lawrence not wearing a coat next to men during a chilly “Red Sparrow” premier.

“All these esteemed news organizations aren’t saying they think it’s a big deal because they’re ‘serious’ journalists,” the host said. “But oh, the humanity: Jennifer Lawrence didn’t have a coat! Wrap her up! Wrap her up! This is not an outlier. This is a constant and prominent part of today’s journalism: creating some bulls—t non-issue that a few trolls will predictably go apes—t over, and then reporting on those unrepresentative tweets like all of America is talking about nothing else.”

The comedian then ripped “f—ing liars” for writing such pieces.

“No wonder fake news resonates so much with Trump fans — because so much of it is fake,” he said. [It’s] just nonsense meant to keep you perpetually offended with an endless stream of controversies that aren’t controversial, and outrages that aren’t outrageous — because places like the Huffington Post and Buzzfeed and Salon — they make their money by how many clicks they get. Yes, the people who see themselves as morally superior are are actually ignoring their sacred job of informing citizens of what’s important, and instead sowing division for their own selfish ends. Hey, wait, isn’t that what Russia was doing to us? Yeah, it is. And we have to stop both of them from using us as the cocks in their cock fights.”

Mr. Maher’s commentary received plaudits on Saturday from writer Allah Pundit of the conservative blog Hot Air.

“The outrage may be over something vanishingly trivial but the quest for content online is never-ending, and nothing’s easier content-wise than the Outrage Du Jour that flatters the audience’s political prejudices,” he wrote. “All I’d add to Maher’s spiel is that echo-chamber amplification of nontroversies also happens within stories that really are news. Russiagate, for instance, is as newsy as news gets: The president is in political peril from it, his friends and family are at dire risk of being indicted, the integrity of the last election could conceivably be called into question.”

“But even there the most minor developments are greeted by liberals and their big-media allies breathlessly, with people scrambling to overinterpret mundane happenings. (There are right-wing versions of this too.) It’s so bad, in fact, that some reporters have begun publicly scolding anti-Trumpers in their own industry and elsewhere to chill the fark out already. Russian bots are not, in fact, behind every bad thing that happens to America and/or the left.”

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