Why does Dennis Prager still have a Twitter and YouTube account?


I keep hearing that the various social media services were going to start cracking down on disinformation. If that’s the case, why is Dennis Prager still around? His latest “fireside chat” is just an old ignorant man sitting around lying about the coronavirus.

It’s both sad and horrible. I lasted about ten minutes, roughly half of which is Prager talking about his dog. In the remainder, he made 3 stupid points.

  1. He’s a rational person and he hates irrationality, and those libs are all panicking and closing schools. He can’t stand panic.

    The thing is, though, nobody is panicking. Saying they are is about as convincing as saying you’re rational on your god-soaked propaganda channel. My university is closed, but no one was in a panic; this was a calmly made, rational decision based on the best available evidence. In centers of the epidemic, medical services are overwhelmed and people are dying, and since we aren’t particularly keen on seeing our students die, or bringing an infectious disease home to their more fragile grandparents, we decided to do the reasonable, responsible thing and minimize contact.
    Carl Zimmer posted some vivid data that illustrates why a timely response is necessary. In this graph of cumulative cases in Italy, Lodi was hit first and quickly shut down the city; Bergamo had its first case shortly afterwards, and waited two weeks before shutting down. Now the difference is dramatic. Bergamo has a rising number of cases, while Lodi effectively flattened the curve.

  2. Carl Zimmer: Here is a new, real-world demonstration of how social distancing and other measures can flatten the Covid-19 curve. The city of Lodi had the first Covid-19 case in Italy, and implemented a shutdown on Feb 23. Bergamo waited until March 8. From Oxford University, https://osf.io/fd4rh/?view_only=c2f00dfe3677493faa421fc2ea38e295

    That’s the kind of data officials looked at before making a calm decision. There was no panic. Prager is lying and misrepresenting the situation.

  3. The kids are only lightly affected, so why shut down schools? Yeah, that’s the kind of dumb-ass thing a Prager would say. Young people are less severely affected (but they aren’t immune — there have been deaths at all ages, just many more in older people), but they can carry and communicate the disease. The concern is that children will mill around with each other at school, come home, and next thing you know, white-haired avuncular 71 year old grandpa with the nice dog he loves so much is in the hospital with respiratory failure. And so are all the other older people in his family, and there aren’t enough respirators to go around, and the health care workers are all falling sick and told not to come in, and people are dying because little Billy gave pop-pop an affectionate kiss on the cheek.

    You deserve it, you lying fuck, but it’s not fair to put that guilt on Billy’s shoulders.

  4. Tens of thousands of people die of the regular flu everywhere without panicking. I might panic if I or my wife came down with the regular flu. But instead what we do is the rational thing: we get our flu shot every year, we stay home if we’re sick, and if we’re feeling the symptoms, we don’t head out for crowds to shake hands and hug people. That’s something only an insensitive, uncaring asshole like Dennis Prager would do, which he proudly declares that he is doing.

    The difference is that we have vaccines for the influenza that minimize its effects, and keeps the load on hospitals to a manageable level. We do not have a vaccine for SARS-CoV-2. We know that it is more severe in its effects than influenza, is going to have a higher death count, and spreads rapidly. In both cases, we are making a rational, non-panicked decision about how to respond.

    If you accidentally set a piece of paper on fire in your home, you calmly put it out. If you accidentally start a grease fire in the kitchen, the curtains and your sleeve are on fire, the smoke alarm is frantically beeping, you don’t walk away, pet the dog, and make a video about how you set a piece of paper on fire and how clever you were to pat it out, and all the fire trucks and the doctors treating the deep burns on your arm are over-reacting.

Prager has billionaires backing him, though, and he can be as stupid and dangerous as he wants, and YouTube will continue to take his money.

Comments

  1. Artor says

    A tiny comforting detail is that covid19 is almost certainly a death sentence for someone as old and unhealthy as Prager. Here’s hoping!

  2. aronymous says

    Artos@1:
    If I were hoping, I’d go for Trump and Pence.
    President Pelosi has a nice ring to it.

  3. says

    The concern is that children will mill around with each other at school, come home, and next thing you know, white-haired avuncular 71 year old grandpa with the nice dog he loves so much is in the hospital with respiratory failure.

    Schools are fucking vectors. Not only do we have hundreds of kids close to each other, we also have lots of connections between those kids and other groups.
    I teach at a middle school. The primary school in the same town has two suspected cases. One kid is the younger sibling of one of my students, the other one is the kid of a colleague. Then we go home after school and yes, many teachers have school aged kids. But they usually go to different schools, so my two kids could spread it to two more schools. Not to forget sports clubs and after school activities.

    But right now I’m feeling rather hopeless.
    My mum is complaining why she cannot “babysit” the kids, my dad wants to go shopping tomorrow. My BFF1’s colleague has been placed under quarantine because his kid returned from a school trip to Italy on Friday(!), BFF3’s colleague has got covid 19 because he went skying in Ischgl.
    In the big cities people used the wonderful weather to flood the streets, stand in line for the first ice cream and sit in cafés.
    I understand that getting some sunshine and fresh air is more difficult in the cities than in the country, but FFS, have some sense. Not to mention all those who flooded the clubs and bars and who had private parties “before they’re closed down”.
    Oh, right, schools and workplaces are closing down so you can go out and have some fun. Not.
    No, Karen and Dennis, the government is not trying to take away your fun, it’s trying to keep you alive.

  4. whheydt says

    Here’s a positive Covid-19 story… https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-51911070

    For those who don’t follow links (I usually don’t either), it’s about an Italian company with a bunch of 3D printers that stepped in to produce respirator valves for a hospital that was running out. Took three hours to design and produce a prototype (which worked) and in 24 hours, together with another 3D printer company, supplied the hospital with 100 valves. Cost to manufacture? 1 Euro, each, though it takes a printer 1 hour to make each one.

  5. brightmoon says

    Every time one of these fundies opens their mouths I get an earworm . That old song by the Tams ,”What Kind of Fool do You Think I Am” starts playing in my head

  6. profpedant says

    One thing that I think people-in-general need to remember is that this Covid-19 is now widespread enough that there is an excellent possibility that most people will not have any detailed idea how they caught the virus, even if they think they know exactly who their vector was. Note that the virus being this widespread is why the social distancing is necessary – if the prevalence was such that we could determine each and every vector we would be in a far better situation.

  7. says

    What gets me about all the “look at how many people die from the flu each year” comments is how they ignore that too damned many people die from the flu each year. Proper handwashing and hygiene would save how many of those lives?

  8. says

    The thing that pisses me off about the “X number of people die from the flu every year” argument is that this is the ANNUAL TOTAL.
    Italy just had over 360 deaths in one day! If they can’t flatten their curve (they probably will, but not for a while) they’ll easily surpass their average annual flu deaths in no time. Hell, they might outstrip America’s annual flu deaths before they get things under control!
    It’s like: “Do you not understand scale? Do you not understand ratios?”

  9. unclefrogy says

    walaa! I hate the MOF ‘s smug conceit ten seconds of the sound of his voice is enough to encite me to feelings of violence. I do not know how anyone who is rational and tries to be objective and honest can stomach him at all.
    just another example of judgemental religious ass hole with closed mind and an ax to grind
    All the dark joking is fine but you know this thing wont take half as many of the ones who deserve it as we would like.
    if it is true that a lot of the cases will not be recognized then it’s most likely all ready loose. by all the vectors sighted above and more. staying in for now
    uncle frogy

  10. says

    “The thing is, though, nobody is panicking.”

    Well, somebody must be panicking or all the shelves at the grocery store would not be empty of bread, toilet paper, and canned vegetables (except asparagus and artichokes, for some odd reason).

  11. birgerjohansson says

    As Evil Paul pointed out, more than 360 Italians died in just Saturday.
    The doctors are often reduced to giving the dying patients morphine the last hours, so they don’t feel anything as they drown from the fluids in the lung.
    I am told there is medical technology to oxygenise the blood outside the lungs, but if so, that equipment is probably limited to a few specialist clinics.
    As for using blood plasma from recovered, healthy patients to give critically sick people antibodies, this will require a large number of recovered patients as donors, also, I do not know how effective this is.

  12. whheydt says

    Re: ahcuah @ #15…
    The local Costco had a sign out front listing things they are out of. Among them: rice and eggs. Milk is being limited to one pack of 2 one gallon containers.

  13. robro says

    If there is a possible silver lining to this ongoing disaster, it’s that more people will realize the failure of the myopia that Trump, Prager, and others represent and exploit. I don’t hold out a huge hope for that, but it’s something to cling to.

    Meanwhile, in my part of California we’re in “shelter in place” mode: all non-essential stores and services are closed until the end of April 7th.

    “I do not know how anyone who is rational…”
    There’s your first mistake. Nobody is rational. People can try, but nobody is.

    Indeed, and if you need evidence, check out Daniel Kahneman’s and Amos Tversky’s research into the matter. Many of their papers are available on the internet. Also, Kahneman’s book, Thinking, Fast and Slow, is a good read.

  14. Trickster Goddess says

    In my sister’s town in Ontario, a high school tried to cancel a class trip to England a couple of weeks ago but many parents complained because they didn’t have cancellation insurance and the school backed down. The class flew to London on Thursday and now they are desperately trying to get a back home.

  15. raven says

    A tiny comforting detail is that covid19 is almost certainly a death sentence for someone as old and unhealthy as Prager. Here’s hoping!

    Prager has got that one covered.
    He is, like all right wingnuts, a huge hypocrite.

    He is probably in some hidden bunker somewhere with a year’s supply of food and a filtered air system.
    You can be sure he isn’t hanging out in a synagogue, bar, or Vampire party somewhere.

  16. kaleberg says

    Given the way Republicans reacted to AIDS back in the1980s, it’s ironic to see them arguing in favor of the equivalent of heading down to the bathhouse for some unprotected sex with multiple partners. Then again, that’s the essence of being a Republican. It’s not about right and wrong. It’s about us and them.

  17. raven says

    What gets me about all the “look at how many people die from the flu each year” comments is how they ignore that too damned many people die from the flu each year.

    Yeah, this is stupid.
    It also completely, totally misses the point.

    We aren’t worrying about a few hundred or thousands of people dying right now.
    We are worrying about a few hundred thousand or a few millions of people dying later!!!

    This pandemic is just getting started.
    The UK’s current strategy of letting it burn through the population AKA establishing herd immunity will, by their own numbers kill 800,000 people.
    If we let 60% of the US population get infected, we will have 4 million dead people.

    Hey, guess what. This Covid-19 virus isn’t anything like the flu!!!

  18. raven says

    I am told there is medical technology to oxygenise the blood outside the lungs, but if so, that equipment is probably limited to a few specialist clinics.

    There is.
    This is basically the heart-lung machine used for open heart surgery.
    It has some major problems.

    Adverse effects of ECMO (Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation) include severe internal and external bleeding, infection, thrombosis (life-threatening blood clots inside blood vessels) and pump failure.

    This is last resort therapy.
    It works sometimes, fails often.
    Quite often, in end stage pneumonia, you are dying of sepsis, septic shock, and Multiple Organ Failure.

  19. unclefrogy says

    this need to try and minimize this out break of a virus for which we do not have any immunity is stupid. It shows a level of ignorance that is astounding. Even if it is meant to quell the panic it is callus and has not worked yet. It is also not what the same people who are being so “rational
    ” now were doing when ebola first came to their awareness .
    they sound like people who did not get out of the market before the “correction” and are wanting, hoping for a bounce (a dead cat bounce) so they can try and save some of their capital. good luck with that I hope it takes it all. then let their resentment land on someone else.
    uncle frogy

  20. brucegee1962 says

    If we were as bad as the conservatives believe we are, we’d try to persuade AOC to start tweeting stuff like:
    “Sticking a fork in a light socket is bad for your health.”
    “Top scientists agree that you shouldn’t jump off a bridge.”
    “President Obama advises against falling asleep on railroad tracks.”

    Then they’d all do the opposite, and we’d make a clean sweep in November.

  21. says

    Yesterday here in the Netherlands we had an address from our prime minister about all the strict measures, and I was surprised by how scientific based it was. As this is a new virus, nobody has antibodies against it. He explained we cannot stop the virus, so the governments decision is to let our herd immunity build by controlled exposure e.g. all the measures are intended to ” flatten the curve” so hospitals are not overwhelmed, and then hoping enough young healthy people actually get the virus to protect the elderly and immuno-compromised, at least until a vaccin is made. Even if we successfully could keep the virus outside the borders with draconian measures, the moment you open the borders the virus will return if nobody has built up immunity. I was half tempted to run out, hug a ill person, and put myself in quarantine for a few weeks to get it over with :). While I already understood the flatten the curve concept, I found the link with herd immunity very interesting .

    After getting used to governments and people ignoring scientists, I found it real pleasant to find a rational science based approach in place, even though the message was uncomfortable. (e.g. prepare to get the virus)

  22. says

    In my sister’s town in Ontario, a high school tried to cancel a class trip to England a couple of weeks ago but many parents complained because they didn’t have cancellation insurance and the school backed down. The class flew to London on Thursday and now they are desperately trying to get a back home.

    This shit, it’s everywhere. BFF1’s colleague is in quarantine with his family because last week his kid went to a class trip in Italy. This is partly the fault of the ministry of education who would only cover the cost of cancelling if the area was declared a “high risk” area by the Robert Koch Institute. Which is, you know, a strategy left over from older days when you were dealing with a small local cholera epidemic.
    We were planning to go on a class trip in early April, just about 80km from our school and only now were we allowed to cancel it and we’ll have to see about who is going to cover the cost as the youth hostel still demands +50% of the pay.

  23. unclefrogy says

    I have a friend who is worrying that if she follows directions and stays indoors she will not be able to do the little bit of work she can do so she can get the state to pay for supplemental health insurance.
    Your money or your life!
    no money loose your life.
    uncle frogy

  24. chrislawson says

    YouTube is not taking Prager’s money. YouTube is paying him to spew bile because it drives advertising.

  25. chrislawson says

    unclefrogy@30–

    It’s complex. Prager and YouTube are symbiotes to each other and parasitic on the community, in the same way that hepatitis D only infects cells as a co-infection with hepatitis B.

    I don’t think it’s any coincidence that YouTube’s parasitic behaviours intensified after it was bought by Google. Prager and his ilk have always been maximally parasitic.

  26. Allison says

    Yesterday here in the Netherlands we had an address from our prime minister about all the strict measures, and I was surprised by how scientific based it was.

    On Sunday, our Governor (Andrew Cuomo — New York State, USA) gave a press conference, which I heard because my older child was listening on their computer.

    And I would say the same thing about what he said. He was emphasizing the need to think things through. For example, closing the schools means that parents — which includes most hospital workers — won’t be able to go to work.

    He also said that the States need to coordinate their policies, so that you don’t get, say, one state closing all the (non-critical) shops but the neighboring one not, so that all of a sudden lots of people are travelling from one state to another to shop — and spreading the virus further. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem that our neighbor to the southwest — New Jersey — agrees, because they decided to put in their own — different — policies.

    Cuomo also insisted that they need to create more hospital space by building hospital buildings or repurposing existing buildings, but that the only organization currently in place that can do that on a short time scale is the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers, which of course can only do it if Trump orders it.

  27. KG says

    Yesterday here in the Netherlands we had an address from our prime minister about all the strict measures, and I was surprised by how scientific based it was. As this is a new virus, nobody has antibodies against it. He explained we cannot stop the virus – charlie@26

    So how come China, South Korea, Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan appear to be well on the way to doing so? Today, Hubei reported no new cases. The WHO think it is still possible for countries to stop the virus, and are absolutely against this “herd immunity” garbage*, which has thankfully been abandoned in the UK after trenchant criticism from multiple eminent experts – at least, they tell us it has, although since they are still not testing medical staff, one has to wonder if they’re still hoping to get rid of a few hundred thousand old and chronically sick people. Here is the Director-General of WHO, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, on 16th March:

    In the past week, we have seen a rapid escalation of cases of COVID-19.

    More cases and deaths have now been reported in the rest of the world than in China.

    We have also seen a rapid escalation in social distancing measures, like closing schools and cancelling sporting events and other gatherings.

    But we have not seen an urgent enough escalation in testing, isolation and contact tracing – which is the backbone of the response.

    Social distancing measures can help to reduce transmission and enable health systems to cope.

    Handwashing and coughing into your elbow can reduce the risk for yourself and others.

    But on their own, they are not enough to extinguish this pandemic. It’s the combination that makes the difference.

    As I keep saying, all countries must take a comprehensive approach.

    But the most effective way to prevent infections and save lives is breaking the chains of transmission. And to do that, you must test and isolate.

    The “herd immunity” approach means condemning hundreds of thousands of people (it would be millions in the USA) to death to prevent an entirely hypothetical second wave when restrictions are relaxed. By that time – whenever it is – there may be effective treatments (several are already being trialled), and there will certainly have been more time to train staff, acquire equipment etc. I predict that Rutte will be forced to change his mind within days – and if he isn’t, Netherlands will become a pariah state.

    Obviously, it’s not garbage if you have a vaccine.

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