By now, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver is well-known for tackling a single, in-depth, complex policy issue each week, whether it’s the broken public defender system, an opioid epidemic or problems within special-purpose taxing districts. However, thanks to the Trump administration, topics that niche weren’t really an option for the HBO late-night show’s season four premiere.
In a world where Trump is comfortable saying it didn’t even rain during his inauguration speech (it did), Oliver was forced to spend his weekly half hour simply untying the knots of the president’s lies and tracing the alternative facts at their cores back to their dubious origins.
An alarm should be going off in all of our heads when we hear journalists have to say things like, “This is what makes covering Donald Trump so difficult. What does he mean when he says words?” Between his campaign and now, Trump has claimed the unemployment rate under Obama was as high as 42 percent, that the American murder rate is higher than ever in the last 45 years, and that 300 million people voted illegally (and against him) in the 2016 election. Obviously, none of these claims are true or remotely provable, but that’s not really Oliver’s point. The real question here is, where does the president get his news?
Well, while it seems Trump mostly watches an unhealthy amount of cable news, in the past he’s proudly advocated for outlets like Breitbart and Infowars. With Steve Bannon in Trump’s inner circle, Breitbart shouldn’t be surprising to anyone. Meanwhile, InfoWars should be downright terrifying. And the other, last main source for the President’s news? Himself … and his supporters. If they’re vocal enough in their approval of his off-the-cuff false claims, he deems them accurate and a suitable future talking point.
We won’t spoil the show’s final bit for you guys here, but if you’re at all familiar with Last Week Tonight by now, you should know that the show has a history of making an actual, tangible impact with the show’s final bits. This one proves to be no exception, as it seems Trump might actually hear Oliver’s message for once. Go ahead and check out the full video above to see the host’s breakdown of Trump’s truth versus the reality.