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Dennis Prager Has The Worst COVID Takes on the Internet

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This week: 

  • Dennis Prager has some genuinely terrible advice about coronavirus.
  • Coronavirus truther cops and docs.

Dennis Prager Praises the Wisdom of Dirty Forks Amid Pandemic

On April 30, as the coronavirus death toll topped 60,000 in the U.S., mega-popular conservative talk radio and online video star Dennis Prager assured his YouTube audience not to worry too much about the disease and keep living their lives. 

To comfort his followers, Prager made a bizarre claim about his own commitment to joie de vivre, saying he eats off of utensils in restaurants even after he drops them on the floor. In fact, Prager even rebuffs waiters who offer him a fork that hasn’t touched the floor. 

“If I am at a restaurant and my fork or knife falls, I pick it up and use it,” Prager said. “They rush over to give me a new one, like I am flirting with death if I take the fork from the floor. And my view is there’s no reason to come over. The fork fell on the floor. What did it pick up, diphtheria?”

This seemed crazy to me—just get a new fork! But Prager continued with his argument that eating with a fork fresh off a restaurant floor is actually good, and used it as an example of how his audience shouldn’t worry too much about things like the pandemic. 

“Am I going to get pancreatic cancer from a fork that fell?” he said. “These things—I’m not troubled by these things.” 

As the coronavirus creeps across the country, Prager has had many terrible takes in his weekly fireside chats with his YouTube audience. Countless pro-Trump pundits have bounced back and forth on the virus, taking it seriously when Donald Trump is boasting his administration’s response, then belittling its mortality rate when he isn’t. 

But not Prager.

He holds himself out as a sort of ponderous philosopher-king of the right—a cut above your usual Sean Hannity and Mark Levin types. The name of his YouTube channel, “PragerU,” essentially posits that watching videos from Prager and his associates is the equivalent of a university education. 

Instead, we get the contaminated restaurant forks. In his weekly fireside chat, Prager has continually pushed the goalposts for what he would consider a serious coronavirus death toll worth a lockdown. 

On March 12, for example, Prager clung to the idea that the coronavirus is less lethal than the flu—or even snakebites. 

“30 people?” Prager said “I mean, how many people have died this year in the United States from snake bites? I don’t know, I should have looked it up before talking to you. But there is certainly a number.” 

Prager also claimed that he faces a “minuscule” cancer risk from smoking cigars, before puffing on one. 

Two weeks later, Prager declared that coronavirus is “not a killer,” while conceding that it “kills some.” Prager said he would only accept a lockdown under “staggering” levels, which he defined as “many thousands,” perhaps “30,000” dead. If that didn’t happen, Prager said, “then this has to end very soon.” 

By April 16, roughly 33,000 people had died from the coronavirus. Suddenly, Prager escalated the death toll that he considered worth a strident lockdown. 

“Even if it were 50,000, if it were 80,000, 100,000 — I mean, obviously there’s a certain point where you have to say the death numbers are so high we have no choice, but those are not the numbers,” Prager said. 

The constant readjustments, mindless boasts, and head-scratching health advice would be comical if there weren’t so many obvious potentially disastrous ripple effects. Prager’s YouTube channel has more than 2.4 million subscribers. And the fact that that audience sticks with his every word provides one of the clearest illustrations to date that there really is no penalty for being wrong so long as there is constantly a new foe to rail against: in this case, public health advisories. 

Prager’s staff didn’t respond to my request for comment on whether he really eats from forks he drops on the restaurant floor. 

Rise of the Coronavirus Truther Docs and Cops

Every couple of days, there’s a new doctor who briefly becomes a massive star on the right for bucking the epidemiological orthodoxy that we shouldn’t all rush out and die. First it was the doctor who claimed to get incredible results for COVID-19 patients by giving them hydroxychloroquine. After him, there were two Bakersfield, California, urgent-care entrepreneurs who briefly became fixtures on the Fox primetime shows by peddling some comically flawed conclusions about the virus’ prevalence.

Then we got the ultimate coronavirus truther doc: Dr. Judy Mikovits, the doctor who rebounded from an embarrassing career setback to launch a second career among anti-vaccine activists. Last week, Mikovits starred in Plandemic, the Facebook documentary that has almost certainly convinced someone you know that Dr. Anthony Fauci is, vaguely, a big-time villain, and that masks somehow “activate” that virus.

Mikovits has been joined in the viral docs’ hall of fame by Dr. Jeffrey Barke, a pro-Trump “concierge” doctor who appeared at another California rally questioning whether masks actually work.

But the age of viral coronavirus-skeptic doctors may be over soon, because there’s a cool new essential worker with terrible claims about the pandemic: viral coronavirus truther cops. On May 6, Seattle port police officer Greg Anderson recorded himself claiming that police officers don’t have the authority to enforce stay-at-home orders.

Anderson was quickly suspended from his job, but received $45,000 in GoFundMe donations from his new fans. 

Naturally, he’s set off a new trend of police officers seeking viral fame. On Friday, YouTube channels that had promoted Anderson’s video were promoting another cop with another dashboard video. The new coronavirus truther cop goes further than Anderson and encourages everyone in his neighborhood to watch Plandemic instead of abiding by social distancing. But Anderson’s fans were suspicious—how did they know this new guy wasn’t just in it for the GoFundMe donations? 

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Chris Christie Pushes for Reopening, Says Americans Have to Accept More Coronavirus Deaths

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said on Monday that the American economy needs to reopen quickly and that tens of thousands of more Americans may die from the novel coronavirus, insisting that Americans are “gonna have to” accept that.

Speaking to CNN correspondent Dana Bash on her The Daily DC podcast, Christie—who now works as an ABC News contributor—pushed for the reversal of stay-at-home orders in order to open up businesses and ramp up economic activity.

Confronted with recent models that now show that as many as 135,000 Americans will die due to decreased social distancing amid the pandemic, Christie essentially threw up his hands and said there really wasn’t a choice.

“Of course, everybody wants to save every life they can—but the question is, towards what end, ultimately?” Christie said. “Are there ways that we can thread the middle here to allow that there are going to be deaths, and there are going to be deaths no matter what?”

Echoing previous comments he’s made that the country cannot wait to reopen the economy, the former Trump transition team member asserted that “we’re going to destroy the American way of life” if people don’t immediately get back to work.

Bash then asked the ex-governor if the public could accept reopening following reports that a White House model is now projecting a daily death toll of 3,000 by June 1. 

“They’re gonna have to,” Christie bluntly replied. “We’re in the midst of a pandemic that we haven’t seen in over 100 years. And we’re going to have to continue to do things.”

Asked how he would tell the American public about the need to reopen if he were the president, Christie responded: “The message is that the American people have gone through significant death before.”

“We sent our young men during World War II over to Europe, out to the Pacific, knowing, knowing that many of them would not come home alive,” he said. “And we decided to make that sacrifice because what we were standing up for was the American way of life. In the very same way now, we have to stand up for the American way of life.”

About half the states have begun to reopen public spaces and their economies in recent days despite cases growing in many areas and the confirmed U.S. death count from coronavirus approaching 70,000. President Donald Trump, who has called for states to “LIBERATE,” casually conceded during a Sunday Fox News town hall that the final death toll could reach 100,000 after claiming just a few weeks ago that it would be half that number.

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