While watching HBO previews for the summer’s programming (before Game of Thrones in the late Spring) my senses were plagued by John Oliver’s voice saying that he will give us the week’s news on Sundays. Had I thought any more about it I would’ve looked into it more as I have trouble getting enough news in my life and I was intrigued and engaged by the ad, but alas I went on watching my suspenseful horror shows and about my days until a few weeks ago it was brought to my attention that this John Oliver show was available for free on youtube.
Think about that, not only is it shown on the HBO cable channel, but the entire episode is available for free online and his views are anything but unbiased and politically correct. If anything I’ve never seen a more snarky and opinionated show (as it adds to the genre of raw-cutting news journalism as Rick Mercer or Jon Stewart) that has engaged me to the point of (gasp) looking forward to it on my subscription box on Monday.
If anything I am skeptical of how nonchalant this news genre can say such outspoken, outwardly critical things without being slandered or rebelled against. It seems that their views are contrasted with that of regular news programming such as “Fox” and “CNN” and even (or even more regularly) those Evening News at Eleven programs are being slashed by these shows, and they are welcomed. Is this a subculture? Are these shows taken seriously in the grand scheme of our culture? Or do the bigger “mainstream” or “reliable” news shows refrain from accepting these news shows (like Jon Stewart, Stephan Colbert, Rick Mercer, John Oliver) who are reporting on the same things but taking the perspective of a victim or against the mainstream for a bigger reason?
I’ll be honest I was never one to set an alarm for any of these shows, but I’ve read Rick Mercer’s book and have scene numerous clips online and now am hooked to John Oliver’s “Last Week Tonight,” and it makes me wonder what people call “reliable” these days. If you watch the Evening News you will see things like “Are your children’s bath salts being used as drugs?” and other stories that seem ridiculous to me (and are commonly made fun of in short segments on these “subgenre” shows) but are taken as reliable and credible sources of information, for a generation past?
In our media-online-driven culture (in Canada right now and the U.S.) are we being spoon fed “reliable” news to pacify? Are journalists taking the next step, and asking questions that they should be? Aderson Cooper has been shipped light-years away into camps, battlegrounds, but he is reporting. Journalists ask the questions, and I want to rely on my journalists to be looking out for the greater people and not an agenda.
I could be looking at news-reporting in an old-school view here, and maybe I am misinformed, but it sometimes seems to me that the coverage we are fed on the cable tv news comes partway, does not finish the job. Which is not to say that these subgenre news shows cover every topic every perspective that we as an “informed” culture are entitled to, but they take a step further into uncovering and questioning, the kinds of questions that not all people I know are subject to.
Maybe CNN is meant t grant ease and comfort, but I would rather be challenged than readilly lay down and let the world around me change for the worse. Who knows how I can make a big enough change and I am no journalist to make the next steps, all I am saying is that in a world full of bath-salt-drugs-for-kids-reports I am thankful to have John Oliver make me laugh until I realise the hardships he is describing are true and how overlooked every other reporting of that issue has been (or how biased).