During the segment, Maher pointed out a Fox News poll where the majority of people believed that media was “less trustworthy than Donald Trump.”
“Can you imagine how this must make a reporter feel, to be losing a truthfulness contest to Donald Trump? It’s like losing a rap battle to Mitt Romney,” Maher said. “For the press to be effective, these numbers have to change.”
Maher, who drew the ire of liberals for having now-former Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos on his program last week, called the press hypocritical after two years of showing Trump with attention. (In a separate New York Times interview, Maher took credit for Yiannopoulos’s sudden downfall.)
“You can be mad at me for giving a platform to Milo, but Donald Trump is the apotheosis of the alt-right and the media gave him the biggest platform ever,” Maher said.
“They covered every Trump rally like we put a game show host on the moon. They made him look like he was president before he was. Even during the primaries, Trump got three times the coverage of the entire rest of the field.”
Maher then criticized the fluffy segments found on the back half of the evening news.
“Guys, for the sake of the republic, you got to get serious again. You have to win your respect back, so Trump can’t say ‘The people don’t believe you, you’re a joke,'” Maher said.
“The news media lost trust because they became eyeball-chasing clickbait whores who dumped the story about climate change for the ones about grizzly bears in the Jacuzzi.”
Maher pointed out that, in the early days of television, the networks provided news as a public service, not something that was used for profit. Maher then asked for the media conglomerates to return to that bygone civil offering.
“CBS News is 3 percent of CBS’ revenue, CNN, 4 percent of Time Warner’s. ABC and NBC News are only 1-and-a-half percent of Disney and Comcast. Guys, take one for the team,” Maher said. “It’s not that much. It’ll pay off in the long run, you know why? Because the best customers are alive.”