HBO’s John Oliver isn’t going to let this crisis go to waste. The far-left host has used his last two programs to insist that the response to the pandemic is “universal health care,” prison reform and an end to the “dirt-stupid reporting” of “right-wing” network OAN. The Last Week Tonight host poses as a comedian, but he really just hates conservatives.
On Sunday, after talking about real examples of need and suffering by those on the frontline of the corona crisis, he demanded the complete overhaul of health care as a solution: “Control-z-ing us back to how we were in 2016 is simply not going to cut it. And honestly, it shouldn't have taken a pandemic to prove our unemployment system is a mess, that we need universal health care.”
Oliver also called for prison reform: “And we also shouldn't have needed a pandemic to consider whether mass incarceration is tolerable, as prisons and jails become petri dishes for the coronavirus.” Rather than focus on actual solutions for the problem currently at hand, on March 29, he attacked the free market as a “fucking death cult.”
Our decentralized government -- which can be good when local leaders are empowered to protect their communities -- has also led to states fighting each other for resources and a patchwork quarantine strategy that will almost certainly draw out the agony of this crisis. Meanwhile, we are being forced to confront some of the strangest, darkest implications of our national mindset, in which market worship threatens to become a fucking death cult.
On Sunday, he found the real culprits, conservatives. They simply don’t want to “help people.” Oliver sneered, “And what's been infuriating is that some conservatives have seemed worried that we might do too much.” After playing a clip of economist Peter Morci saying we don’t need to create new entitlements, the host roared, “Why the fuck not? That argument basically boils down to, ‘Well, if we help people today, the Democrats are just going to want to help more people tomorrow,’ like that's a bad thing!”
On April 5, Oliver bashed One America News (OAN) as the real threat during this pandemic: “OAN's weird combination of far-right wing talking points and dirt-stupid reporting is incredibly dangerous at a time like this.”
Clearly, there’s no emergency that liberals in the media won’t politicize or use to further a far-left policy agenda, pandemic or no pandemic.
A partial transcript is below. Click “expand” to read more.
Last Week Tonight
OLIVER: We need to seriously think about whether having our health insurance system so tied to employment is a good idea. Because I would argue it emphatically isn't. In fact, while many of the problems we're being forced to confront right now weren't created by the coronavirus, it has thrown a spotlight on some of the biggest flaws in how our system operates.
Things like paid sick leave and hazard pay are essentially band-aids, and we absolutely need them right now, because we're bleeding. But when this is over, this country's going to need more than band-aids. It's going to need fucking surgery. Things need to change, not go "Back to normal." Control-z-ing us back to how we were in 2016 is simply not going to cut it. And honestly, it shouldn't have taken a pandemic to prove our unemployment system is a mess, that we need universal health care, and that workers need benefits, the right to organize, and wages that reflect how essential they really are. And we also shouldn't have needed a pandemic to consider whether mass incarceration is tolerable, as prisons and jails become petri dishes for the coronavirus. Or whether our treatment of the homeless is adequate, when we've seen photos of them sleeping in a parking lot six feet apart.
OLIVER: And what's been infuriating is that some conservatives have seemed worried that we might do too much.
PETER MORCI (Former U.S. intelligence trade Commission staff): The extension of paid sick leave opens the door. You know, what's going to happen on the democratic side? Schumer's going to want a permanent program. They're going to try to get another social program out of this. We can't let that happen.
OLIVER: Really? Why the fuck not? That argument basically boils down to, "Well, if we help people today, the Democrats are just going to want to help more people tomorrow," like that's a bad thing.
Last Week Tonight
JOHN OLIVER: And Trump has had their back in other ways. Just this week, the White House correspondents' association actually revoked OAN's access to a seat in the briefings. The reason they did this was because most reporters had agreed to take turns attending to keep the room emptier and follow social distancing rules. But Chanel Rion repeatedly showed up on days she wasn't assigned a seat. Yet despite having her seat revoked on Wednesday, Rion was back in that room the very next day, telling people she'd been personally invited as a guest of the White House press secretary. And that's a problem. Because 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.