John Oliver returned with Last Week Tonight after a three-month hiatus and it wasn’t long before he started taking swipes at Fox News.
The HBO Max host started off the night by talking about the defamation lawsuit Dominion Voting Systems filed against the cable network. Filings that were brought to light had the Fox News hosts like Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham going on-air peddling election fraud claims while privately saying it was “B.S.” and “crazy.”
“Wow, if I were a Fox viewer, I’d feel pretty betrayed by that,” Oliver said. “This is like finding out that Big Bird regularly texted Elmo, ‘F**k them kids,’ and Elmo agrees.”
Oliver continued, “This filing shows the extent to which Fox hosts did not believe the sh** that they were selling, which is completely fine if you work for QVC and you have to fill an hour on why bejeweled squatty potty will change your life. But, it’s a bit more concerning when you pretend to be the news.”
The late-night host also brought up that what he found most fascinating was “how terrified major Fox figures were of losing their audience to more conspiracy-friendly networks like Newsmax.” Oliver said he “kind of” understood the concern by Fox hosts and the pressure to keep their ratings and provided an example on how the Last Week Tonight people do it.
“We also face pressure to maintain our audience, it’s just that we do it the old-fashioned way by having integrity, self-respect and the blind fortune of airing right after hit prestige dramas that people actually want to watch. It’s not difficult,” he said as the audience roared in applause with the logos of shows like Game of Thrones, Succession and The Last of Us appearing on the screen.
In his last jab, Oliver said that there are two fireable offenses at Fox News: 1. “Making stock price go down.” 2. “Being a sexual monster for decades (but only if people outside the company find out about it.”
Oliver’s first point was a reference to Carlson suggesting a Fox News reporter get fired because she was “hurting the company” stock price after she fact-checked a Trump tweet about votes getting destroyed.
Fox News released a statement regarding their stance on the lawsuit brought on by Dominion saying, “There will be a lot of noise and confusion generated by Dominion and their opportunistic private equity owners, but the core of this case remains about freedom of the press and freedom of speech, which are fundamental rights afforded by the Constitution and protected by New York Times v. Sullivan. Dominion has mischaracterized the record, cherry-picked quotes stripped of key context, and spilled considerable ink on facts that are irrelevant under black-letter principles of defamation law.”
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