John Oliver opened Last Week Tonight with a fleeting image of former Fox News Channel star Megyn Kelly, who has just lost her NBC News morning show after defending blackface Halloween costumes, under the words “Trickus Treatem.”
Then the HBO late-night host dove straight into discussion of Kelly’s former TV News home’s coverage of bombs sent last week to many of President Donald Trump’s most prominent critics.
Oliver noted that the sending of 14 bombs, and the arrest of Cesar Sayoc, has since been eclipsed by the assassination of 11 inside a Pittsburgh synagogue by a man who believed Jews were funding refugees coming to “slaughter” Sayoc’s “people.”
Across the week, bombs had been discovered en route to various Democratic bigwigs including donor George Soros, former President Barack Obama, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, presumed 2020 Presidential candidates Eric Holder and Kamala Harris, former CIA chief John Brennan and former National Intelligence Director James Clapper – the latter two sent by way of CNN’s New York HQ at the Time Warner Center in Manhattan.
“It has been a time for sober reflection,” Oliver described. “Or, if you are Fox News discussing those package bombs, a time for wild speculation.”
“Before the suspect was even arrested, they were giving air time to a truly ludicrous theory,” he told his viewers, guessing they hadn’t spent much time watching that particular cable network.
He then rolled clips of Fox News personalities discussing the slew of pipe bombs as a “false flag,” including Geraldo Rivera, who said “at the risk of sounding like a far right-wing lunatic, I believe this whole thing was an elaborate hoax.”
Argued Oliver, “Here is the thing about that: Sounding like a far right-wing lunatic is not really a risk for the Fox News brand, is it?”
“It’s more of a guarantee. It would be like if Tony Bennett started every song with ‘At the risk of making your grandma wet.’ What are you talking about Tony?! We all know that’s going to happen. It’s specifically what you’re here to do!”
Once the suspect was found, at the end of the work week, and it was clear that the bombs were real and that the alleged sender is very much a Trump supporter, Rivera at least apologized, tweeting:
Never mind; outsmarted myself, in conjuring false flag operation designed to hurt @DonaldTrump & #GOP. Actual alleged perp 56-year-old #CesarSayoc is apparently stereotype most media assumed: a middle-aged, rabid, extreme right winger w a troubled past & long criminal record.
Oliver gave credit were it was due:
“Can I just say ‘outsmarted myself’ is a brilliant way to say that you did something incredibly stupid?”
Others were not willing to give up their conspiracy theory, including one Trump supporter, Arvil Runyon, who clung to the false-flag narrative, telling NBC News he believes Clinton and Obama sent the bomb to themselves, or had them sent.
“So Obama flew to Florida, mailed bomb to himself in Washington, and flew back in time to avoid it,” Oliver marveled.