Just as it seems America is "at the precipice of scandal overload," John Oliver laments on Wednesday night's Daily Show, the State Department has to fall prey to another one — or, rather, what could turn into one, if a whistleblower's claims about prostitution cover-ups turn out to be true. Oliver wonders how he'll break the news to Jon Stewart that while his show is fine, the country may be broken.
In the meantime, the front-and-center controversy in America is the NSA's leaked surveillance secrets, and their self-professed leaker, Edward Snowden. This poses a dilemma for Washington politicians and the NSA, Oliver notes, but also for the media: Will they cover the weighty substance and implications of the unprecedented data-mining, or "go Us Weekly on the messenger"?
You know the answer he comes up with, and he illustrates it by pointing to the fascination with apparent Snowden girlfriend Lindsay Mills, a 28-year-old dancer and acrobat with an internet trail of revealing photos and videos. Amazingly, Oliver tells the audience, "I am not interested in any pole-dancing YouTube videos right now!"
Oliver also mocks the media's fixation on deciding whether Snowden is a hero or traitor — and he gets a special pot shot in on MSNBC morning host Joe Scarborough. That annoyance with labeling the leaker, though, doesn't stop Oliver from bringing on correspondent Samantha Bee to discuss... whether Snowden is a hero or villain.
As a bonus video, comedian and Daily Show regular Lewis Black keys off the NSA surveillance scandal to examine, in sometimes salty language, other space-age technology, including Google Glass, Microsoft's new Xbox, and beer-pouring robots. Watch:
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Why you should stop believing in evolution
- Why China thinks it could defeat the U.S. in battle
- The secret to handling pressure like astronauts, Navy SEALs, and samurai
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- How Ferguson made conservatives lose faith in the police
- What you need to know before you support the police in Ferguson
- 7 grammar rules you really should pay attention to
- Why I give money to homeless people
- What the 'death of the library' means for the future of books
Subscribe to the Week