Real Time host Bill Maher took CNN to task for its overzealous coverage of the missing Malaysia Airlines airliner on Friday, comparing it to a medical melodrama where the lead has to be pulled off of a dead patient.
“That’s what I want to say to Wolf Blitzer: ‘Wolf, it’s over. Time to move on. There’ll be other ocean disasters. We’ll always have Atlantis,'” Maher said. “But this isn’t news anymore; it’s an episode of Unsolved Mysteries.”
With the network straining to cover the story past the “breaking news,” “expert analysis” and “false ping” stages, Maher said, both CNN and its viewers were guilty of exploiting the situation.
“I’m sorry, but if you’re still glued to CNN for this ‘breaking story,’ you’re not a caring person unraveling a mystery,” Maher said. “You’re just a ghoul who’s sitting on the remote. It’s funny: Americans don’t want to know about GMOs in their food, they don’t want to know what’s in the Patriot Act, or the defense budget, or what’s pouring out of the smokestack of that factory at the edge of town. But this we just have to know.”
Maher said the $11 million the U.S. has already spent looking for MH 370 — as well as the cost of a search that could take years — would be better spent elsewhere, considering how rare a disaster like its disappearance actually is.
“The risk of death is 1 in 45 million flights. You know what’s riskier? Everything,” he explained. “Driving. Walking. Taking a shower. Living in Chicago. Hunting with Dick Cheney. Dating Chris Brown.”
But the reason Americans are still focusing on “solving the mystery” of the plane’s disappearance, he said, was the country’s compulsive need for closure, which he described as overrated, and part of the allure of fiction.
“Remember how pissed off everybody was when The Sopranos ended by going to black without giving us a definitive answer on whether Tony got whacked or went on to be elected governor of New Jersey?” Maher asked, sneaking in a shot at Gov. Chris Christie (R). “People want answers that button everything all up. That’s why they love detective shows, and sitcoms, and the Bible.”
Watch Maher’s commentary, as posted online on Friday, below.