Last Week Tonight with John Oliver examined One America News, the controversial far-right news network.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, President Donald Trump has held daily press briefings to discuss the government response and encourage Americans to stay positive. The briefings have been marked by clashes between President Trump and reporters. But as Last Week Tonight with John Oliver explained, one network has been embraced by the White House.
Anyone watching the briefings has seen President Trump dismiss certain journalists as “fake news” or remark how other media outlets aren’t as good as they used to be. The behavior is unsurprising considering President Trump’s disdain for negative press coverage. What is a bit surprising is the setting as the country seeks leadership through an uncertain time.
However, the One American News (OAN) network seems to be the exception. President Trump gladly accepts questions from OAN reporters and the White House has bent the rules to allow the network access to the briefings. Questions coming fro OAN during the briefings have stood out because they sound like President Trump’s tweets. It has led to OAN challenging Fox News for the title of the president’s favorite news network.
On Last Week Tonight, John Oliver provided some background information on OAN. He also delivered a warning as to why OAN’s popularity with the White House could be a very dangerous thing during the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Oliver recaps the relationship between OAN and President Trump. During any press conference, President Trump can be sure an OAN reporter will treat him “nicely” and set him up with a question that he can answer with his talking points.
The individuals working at OAN land right in Oliver’s wheelhouse. The Last Week Tonight is the best in the business when it comes to mocking absurd people who seem to be more caricatures than real-life. It doesn’t matter if it is a world leader, Joe Exotic, or an OAN journalist: if you say something bizarre, there is a good chance you’ll end up on Oliver’s radar.
But unlike some of his other targets, Oliver isn’t so quick to forget about OAN given the current circumstances. He makes the case why OAN’s brand of reporting is really not helpful right now as the country navigates the COVID-19 pandemic. The network seems to dismiss social distancing guidelines and ignore government recommendations. If OAN is endorsed by the president, then its message can reach a wider audience and become a real danger, says Oliver.
This episode of Last Week Tonight is yet another that leans more towards informative than entertaining. Since the pandemic began, John Oliver’s goal has been to provide the consistent messaging he says is lacking from leadership. Yes, he still has some of the best jokes anywhere in late night–but it is less escapism and more public service announcement.
Oliver isn’t shying away from the COVID-19 topic. Instead, he is doing what he can to encourage his audience to be safe and to be smart. If certain news networks or government officials won’t do it, then Last Week Tonight is more than willing to step up.
What did you think of this week’s episode? Let us know in the comments below. Last Week Tonight with John Oliver will return next Sunday with another brand new episode. Stay tuned.