HBO's Maher rips media: 'Panic porn' in coronavirus coverage could help reelect Trump

HBO's Bill MaherWilliam (Bill) MaherBiden to appear on 'The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon' on Friday Right wing's new-found love for satire and the 'It is only a joke" defense Juan Williams: Biden and Manchin are 2021's most influential politicians MORE ripped the news media on Friday night and urged journalists to stop offering up what he described as “panic porn” when reporting on the coronavirus outbreak, cautioning the practice could help get President TrumpDonald TrumpPredictions of disaster for Democrats aren't guarantees of midterm failure A review of President Biden's first year on border policy  Hannity after Jan. 6 texted McEnany 'no more stolen election talk' in five-point plan for Trump MORE reelected in November.

"Now that we’re starting to see some hope in all this, don’t hope-shame me," the liberal "Real Time" host said on his HBO program. "You know, the problem with nonstop gloom and doom is it gives Trump the chance to play the optimist, and optimists tend to win American elections."

"FDR said the only thing we have to fear is fear itself. You know, as full of shit as he is, I could see Trump riding that into a second term, and then there will be no hope left for you to shame," the host added.

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Maher underscored his point while displaying multiple headlines from several news organizations, including The New York Times and The Washington Post, which he argued used hyperbolic language regarding hospital surges in New York City.

"Projections showed they needed 58,000 beds when they needed a quarter of that," Maher noted. "It's still bad. But you don't have to put hot sauce on a jalapeño."

"So, look, if this insanity happens again, news sources have to rein it in," he added later. "Enough with the 'life will never be the same' headlines. ... Everything looks scary when you magnified it a thousand times."

“We need the news to calm down and treat us like adults,” Maher concluded. “Trump calls you fake news. Don’t make him be right.”

The commentary comes as the president and the White House coronavirus task force this week unveiled a three-phase plan for reopening the U.S. economy.

Trump has appeared eager to reopen the country amid skyrocketing unemployment due to thousands of businesses being forced to close because of the virus. More than 22 million Americans have filed for benefits in the past three weeks.

The U.S. death toll currently stands at 31,456, according to data from Johns Hopkins University, with more than 13,000 deaths in New York alone.