Oliver's "Truthfulness Segment" Critiques Trump
The long-awaited premier of the fourth season of John Oliver's political satire news show, "Last Week Tonight," finally arrived on Sunday evening. Following a brief reflection on everything that has happened thus far during the Trump presidency, John Oliver's "Truthfulness Segment" opened the show, during which the comedian focused on the seemingly convoluted nature of truth during the Trump administration.
To begin the segment, Oliver stated that he needed to address the "concept of reality itself," since it constitutes something Trump and his administration have seemingly called into question.
“What does he mean when he says words?” was one of the oft-cited quotes on Twitter from Oliver's segment, in which Oliver shares the way in which a reporter referred to the difficulties of covering Donald Trump in the media. According to Oliver, Trump's delivery of information often seemingly conflates fact and fiction and leaves people wondering from where the President derives his information. Further expounding on his thoughts about facts, Trump, and his administration, Oliver stated,
"Trump's relationship with the truth is going to be of profound importance going forward, because any policy discussion has to begin with a shared sense of reality and Trump's reality can changed with a single sentence."
In addition to critiquing the Trump administration's portrayal of information, Oliver also used the segment to criticize several news outlets which he seemingly deemed not credible, including Breitbart, which was founded by Trump's chief strategist, Steve Bannon, and InfoWars. During the segment, Oliver referred to the former as "frighteningly unreliable."
CarterMatt, a television review website, also added that while Oliver used the the show to critique the administration and certain media outlets' representation of information, he also used it to reflect on "the nature in which people want to believe things, and therefore accept them as fact."
In this vein, Oliver appealed to viewers to hold the Trump administration accountable by being proactive in checking veracity of the information they are receiving. Additionally, for his part, Oliver revealed at the end of his show that he plans to "educate" the Trump administration about facts with which he believes they may be unfamiliar, like global warming and the calculation of the unemployment rate, by airing educational commercials about these topics on television in Washington, D.C.
Overall, John Oliver's first foray back into television since the beginning of the Trump administration was a welcome, albeit somewhat frightening, reminder of the cavalier and dangerous way in which the nature of "fact" and "truth" has been toyed with since the advent of the Trump administration. It would certainly serve the public well to heed Oliver's advice and be very discerning when it comes to their consumption of information.