‘They Print The Narrative. They Don’t Print The Truth’: Bill Maher, Seth MacFarlane Spar Over Media Trustworthiness


Mariane Angela Contributor
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In an episode of “Real Time,” host Bill Maher and “Family Guy” creator Seth MacFarlane engaged in a heated debate over the reliability of news media, as seen on the video posted on Reddit Friday.

The conversation, which initially focused on the negative impact of social media comments on public perception, quickly evolved into a broader discussion about journalistic integrity. MacFarlane defended the traditional news-gathering process, highlighting the efforts journalists make to research, fact-check, and adhere to editorial oversight. “And if they got it wrong, then they have to print the retraction,” MacFarlane told Maher.

He expressed frustration with how easily public opinion can be swayed by comments on platforms like The New York Times, advocating for readers to engage directly with editors if they find content objectionable or biased. Maher then raised concerns about the subtler issue of media slant. “Or it’s just slanted. What if it was just slanted? What if it was not wrong, it’s just slanted? That’s what somebody’s pointing out in the [comments],” Maher said.

The exchange grew more intense as Maher admitted to distrusting journalists more than MacFarlane, who claimed to have faith in certain reporters. Maher contended that many media outlets prioritize narrative over unbiased truth. “Everything I read, whatever source, it’s only half the truth. They print the narrative. They don’t print truth,” Maher stated.

His stance prompted MacFarlane to caution against echoing sentiments similar to those of Donald Trump, who famously criticized the press. Maher countered by clarifying that his skepticism of the media was not akin to Trump’s attacks, emphasizing his belief that news often caters to the biases of its audience rather than presenting a full picture. (RELATED: ‘The View’ Co-Hosts Say They Are ‘Pissed Off’ At Fani Willis’ Affair Allegation)

“They print the half that they want that is gonna make people like you who are a partisan, very partisan, you want to read something that ‘Oh, that makes me feel good,'” Maher added.  The discussion also included contributions from panelist Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff of California, who observed that people tend to consume news that aligns with and reinforces their existing beliefs. Maher concluded by criticizing the media for pandering to their audience’s preferences, suggesting that this practice compromises the objective delivery of news.

“They’re in the audience-stroking business. That’s what the media does,” Maher added.