Dr. Phil is Phillip C. McGraw, brought to the world as an “expert on human behavior” by Oprah Winfrey many moons ago. Phil has no license to practice psychology, is not a medical doctor, and has a long history of dubious dealings connected to every time he pretends he is a real doctor. Ingraham wanted to have the shoot-from-the-hip, Texas-talking Phil on to tell it like it is. Phil’s angle was that people being isolated at home is terrible for their mental health.
This is a totally fair point. Also tough on people isolated at home? Losing their jobs and not getting the kind of support that billionaires and big corporations are getting from our federal government. Phil didn’t touch on that so much; instead he explained that the solution to people dealing with mental health issues during social distancing orders was to … throw caution to the wind and pretend there isn’t a pandemic because there are all kinds of reasons to be agoraphobic, and a pandemic is no worse than driving.
DR. PHIL: 250 people a year die from poverty.
Not sure exactly what number Phil was searching for, but 250 ain’t it. Phil is explaining that the longer people are forced to stay inside, the worse our economy will be, and a vicious cycle will begin, leading to more death than COVID-19.
PHIL: The fact of the matter is that we have people dying, 45,000 people a year die from automobile accidents, 480,000 from cigarettes, 360,000 from swimming pools but we don’t shut the country down for that. But yet, we are doing it for this? The fallout is going to last for years because people’s lives are being destroyed.
Jesus! 360,000 deaths in swimming pools every year? Holy shit! We need to shut down swimming pools or hire more lifeguards or something! Oh, no. That 360,000 number is off by 356,500. (About 3,500 Americans die every year by drowning.) And not to pick nits, but 32,000 people, not 45,000, die in vehicle crashes every year. Anythewhos, Mr. Phil’s entire psychological expertise here can be summed up in the way every single person has tried to help someone who is afraid of flying: Hey, driving is more dangerous than flying. That’s a free session for all of you reading this. Next time I’m going to charge you all for diet pills.
Forget about the leaps in logic required to equate accidental deaths with a virus that can be transmitted through the air. Phil and other shills pushing the need to reopen our country, are great at diagnosing many of the individual problems Americans are facing in these uncertain times but can never offer any solutions. They want things to go back to the way they were when they were making money selling bunk to their consumer base, and they cannot bring themselves to realize the solution is to actually help those consumers out.
Trump and his de facto ministry of information, Fox News, are having a hard time getting the message out that this novel coronavirus pandemic isn’t such a big deal. At this point, the angle that conservative media, with direction from the White House, seems to be taking is that while we are in the midst of a serious pandemic, A) it’s really not that serious, just a soft culture freaking out about germs, and B) Donald Trump and the Republican Party are handling this serious pandemic as well as anyone could and around 60,000 Americans might very well die from it. Don’t try to untangle that.