Sunday night saw the return of Last Week Tonight, which ended its last season the week after the election — leaving a snark space that other late-night shows like Full Frontal with Samantha Bee and Late Night with Seth Meyers have eagerly filled. On the Season 4 premiere, host John Oliver noted that while the show normally spends a good chunk of each episode on “complex, depressing policy issues” like climate change or special-purpose taxing districts, it now has a bigger fish to fry: “The concept of reality itself.”
Since Donald Trump has taken office — “around 412 years ago” — he has made his disdain for reality impossible to ignore. On the campaign trail, Oliver pointed out, “Trump was telling the truth about the solutions to problems he was lying about, and he is now making real policy based on fake facts.” All presidents fudge the truth to some extent, but Trump does so to an unprecedented degree: according to Politifact, nearly a quarter of Trump’s statements as president have been, at best “mostly false,” if not outright lies. As CNN’s Zachary Wolf explains, this makes covering Trump’s presidency difficult: “What does he mean when he says words?”
“We are talking about the president,” Oliver said, “like a Tinder match we’ve been on four dates with.”
Sure, Oliver acknowledged, if you’re on the right, you’re certainly not going to pay attention to whatever you heard on “Last Cuck Tonight with Johnny Trigger-Warning.” But the rest of us have our work cut out, whether that means showing up to protest this administration’s policies, calling your representatives, or simply verifying that what you read online is true before passing it on.
Oliver is doing his part to personally slip some facts into the president’s “media diet.” The show has put together a series of commercials stating the facts on several important issues and has bought air time on the cable news shows Trump is known to spend hours watching, like Fox & Friends and Morning Joe. If you tune into these shows in the next little while — like, say, Tuesday, February 14 between 8:30 and 9 a.m. — pay attention to the ad breaks. You may end up with more more knowledge of the nuclear triad than our own dear leader.