It has been a pretty big news week already, and it's only Tuesday. But on Monday night's Daily Show, summer host John Oliver and correspondent Jason Jones begin with some infuriating financial news from last week — and a brutally funny takedown of the U.S. financial industry's opposition to regulation. (Watch below.)
But Oliver eventually gets to Monday's biggest story (and no, it's not Jon Stewart's resurfacing, on Egyptian TV): Where in the world is Edward Snowden? On Sunday, the NSA leaker boarded a plane from Hong Kong to Moscow, and now no one seems to know where he is.
Nobody looks particularly good here, Oliver says: The media, lacking any solid news, has turned to wild speculation, and is literally chasing leads, with reporters taking a 12-hour Russian commercial flight to Havana with Snowden's empty seat. Hong Kong let Snowden fly away, after apparently tiring of taking America's calls. And the U.S. government, earning the biggest criticism, has evidently lost all track of Snowden.
This is either hugely embarrassing for the U.S., Oliver says, or incredibly brilliant. Snowden had all-but-convinced Oliver, and much of the world, that the NSA is sinisterly "all-seeing, all-knowing, and all-powerful," he says. But now, Oliver says he feels sure American intelligence is incapable of finding its hand in front of its face — except he uses a more colorful metaphor.
The Snowden bit is pro forma Daily Show goodness, but the part about Wall Street's disdain for regulation is the show at its best. The prompt for the story is allegations that S&P credit analysts took cash bribes to give their blessing to the kind of deals that led to the 2008 financial collapse. Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) gets a special nod of approval, and business-TV talking heads come in for special scorn for being willingly obtuse:
Oliver does a fine job making America's financial-industrial complex look shabby, but Jones draws blood, comparing Wall Street to his native Canada's banking industry. It's squirm-inducingly great television. Watch: