Speed Reads

Johnsplaining

John Oliver spends 18 minutes dumping on OAN, Trump's favorite media outlet

President Trump "has made no secret of his disdain for the media," but his COVID-19 press conferences have "highlighted the fact that there is one media outlet he seems to really enjoy calling on," John Oliver said on Sunday's Last Week Tonight. "OAN stands for One America News, and when you hear the kinds of questions that they ask, you begin to see why Trump calls on them so much." He showed some of the moments that "explain why Trump has such a love affair with OAN," explained "they're punching way above their weight right now," and took "a look at who they are and what they do."

For starters, "OAN is the brain-child of Robert Herring, conservative millionaire," and "since its birth, OAN has been a home for extreme conservatism" and even conspiracy theories, including that the coronavirus originated as a bioweapon in North Carolina, Oliver said. "The whole selling point for OAN is that they are Fox News with even less shame and even fewer scruples. In fact, they're so flagrantly smitten with Trump their network account actually tweeted a "pathetically thirsty" complaint about Trump not thanking them, his "greatest supporters."

"I know that it is easy to dismiss OAN as just a stupid, little-watched, borderline self-parody," Oliver said. "The problem is, if we're learning one thing right now, it's that toxic things that start small can get big fast, and it's dangerous to ignore them. And right now, the president's putting a lot of energy into boosting OAN's profile," even inviting back OAN's White House correspondent after the White House Correspondents' Association revoked her seat for flouting social-distancing rules.

This Trump-OAN symbiosis "is a problem," Oliver said. "In the best of times, you can laugh at an almost Anchorman-esque parody of right-wing news, but much like the problem with Anchorman 2, it's just not the right time for Ron Burgundy right now. OAN's weird combination of far-right-wing talking points and dirt-stupid reporting is incredibly dangerous at a time like this." In fact, some of the "misinformation OAN is spewing right now could end up getting people killed," he said. "And sadly, their message is getting actively spread by the White House." (There is NSFW language.) Peter Weber