Following a week in which people in several states ignored social-distancing guidelines and took to the streets in protest of stay-at-home orders, John Oliver slammed conservative media for spreading misinformation about the coronavirus. Some of those at the protests were clearly misinformed, saying that COVID-19 “is all hype” and that the flu kills more people than the novel coronavirus.
“Hundreds of people have taken to the streets this week fueled by the kind of misinformation that is rampant in right-wing media,” Oliver said. “The same right-wing media which then eagerly covered the protests that they helped create.”
Oliver took aim at two of the biggest names in conservative media: Rush Limbaugh and Fox News. Oliver said that both Limbaugh and Fox News have, for years, been building the narrative that they are the only ones their audience can trust.
“Limbaugh has spent years pushing his ‘Four Corners of Deceit,’ 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,” Oliver said. “And he’s not alone in utilizing that technique. Fox News’s recurrent pitch to its audience has been it will tell you the true story that elites and the mainstream media are trying to hide.”
Limbaugh has repeatedly made false statements about COVID-19 on his radio show, comparing it to the common cold, and stating that it’s not uncommon because it’s “the 19th coronavirus.”
“OK, no, Rush. Just no,” Oliver said. “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.”
As for Fox News, which is currently being sued over its coronavirus coverage, hosts consistently downplayed the coronavirus, even while taking internal steps to mitigate the effects of the virus on the company and its employees.
“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 said, “because, and this is true, they only pretend to believe these things on television for money.”
Watch American Idol make TV history with its first at-home results show due to ‘Unbelievable circumstances’:
For the latest coronavirus news and updates, follow along at https://news.yahoo.com/coronavirus. According to experts, people over 60 and those who are immunocompromised continue to be the most at risk. If you have questions, please reference the CDC’s and WHO’s resource guides.
Read more from Yahoo Entertainment: