Addison Smith | Opinions Editor
Jon Stewart. Larry Wilmore. Stephen Colbert. John Oliver. These four names have proven that sometimes the news doesn’t have to be the dull programming running in the background while you’re visiting your grandparents. News can be fun, witty and comedic, while also being informative and eye-opening, especially with the programming created by John Oliver.
With the recent news of Jon Stewart’s retirement from The Daily Show, satire news is about to change face, but the essence will remain the same. Overall, satirical news has become the most popular way of gathering information, as well as the best way to look into America’s problems. Plus, with Stewart’s retirement it’s time for a new face to take over satire news. Enter, John Oliver and his weekly show.
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver has become an influential program. More investigative than other programs, John Oliver’s show has brought forth awareness with the Miss America organization, prescription drugs, state legislatures and more being ripped apart.
Overall, Oliver’s tongue-in-cheek attitude is what keeps viewers coming back. His most popular videos have over five million views, but even those below that count are booming. In a recent Time article entitled “How the ‘John Oliver Effect’ Is Having a Real-Life Impact”, his “real-world ripples” were detailed.
According to the article, when Oliver urged his viewers to write into the Federal Communication Commission about their concerns with net neutrality, his viewers did so boomingly. They submitted so many comments and concerns to the website that it crashed. A real-world effect came crashing in, that we haven’t seen from programming before.
While The Daily Show has provided poignant insight, mainly targeted towards the media as a whole, Last Week Tonight has become a viral hit, which has helped spread its message. It airs on HBO Sunday nights at 11 p.m., but the segments are posted to the program’s YouTube page the next day. So yes, as poor college students John Oliver is still accessible to us.
The investigative aspect of the show delves into topics more in-depth than satire news programs before it. While Stewart and Colbert typically air five to seven minute segments, Oliver’s pieces typically run around 13 to 15 minutes, providing more of a chance for investigative journalism to be implemented.
After learning that Miss America claims to give out $45 million in scholarships annually, Oliver and his team went more in-depth into these findings. He learned that collectively $45 million could be doled out, but many scholarships were being counted more than once, or if they weren’t being claimed, they were still counted as well. So, Oliver took it in his own hands to encourage people to donate to other female organizations. According to the Time article, Oliver encouraged money to be donated to the Society of Women Engineers, and the organization received approximately $25,000 in two days.
And don’t count Larry Wilmore out of the game yet even though The Nightly Show has yet to provide that oomph that you get from watching Stewart and Oliver, and what you used to get from watching Colbert. The panel approach to satire news is refreshing in a sense, and to see comedians and experts sit together to discuss issues round table is something that hasn’t been done before. It’s satire news a la Charlie Rose.
With recent news of Brian Williams fabricating his accounts of the Iraq War unraveling, and his suspension of six months announced Tuesday, people will be turning to satirical news now more than ever. While it’s not necessarily a bad thing, sometimes satire news should be taken with a grain of salt, and other news organizations should supplement your current event intake.