John Oliver may be part of the media machine but that doesn’t stop him from tearing it apart on a weekly basis.
In Monday night’s episode of Last Week Tonight, the English comedian ripped into the media coverage of the London terror attacks.
Seizing upon the U.S. media’s tendency towards sensationalism and hyperbole, Oliver began by pointing out the description of the U.K. as “reeling” after the attacks.
He then showed clips of notable news outlets such as CNN and Fox News saying that London is “under siege”. Yeah, bit of an exaggeration.
“For the record, in no way is Britain under siege”, Oliver said. “Is it upset? Yes. Is it pissed off? Oh, you f#$%ing bet it’s pissed off. But to say it’s under siege and that its people are reeling is to imply that it’s somehow weak enough to be brought to its knees by three monumental arseholes.”
Oliver then pointed out that Brits were so angry about the media coverage they had taken to Twitter using the hashtag #thingsthatleavebritainreeling to poke fun at the U.S. media.
— Graham Yapp (@GrahamYapp) June 4, 2017
— Daniel (@DannyDutch) June 4, 2017
— Liam Butler (@liam_butler5) June 4, 2017
— cassie (@xcassie_kellyx) June 4, 2017
— Charles Rothwell (@charlierothers) June 4, 2017
— Emily Rose✨ (@emilyrosehip) June 4, 2017
Oliver went on to say that terror would never change British people’s way of life. To prove this, he showed footage of a bloke calmly being evacuated from the scene of the attack with a pint in his hand. Now that’s British!
The segment concluded by showing an interview with a man who was in a restaurant and had witnessed the attacks. After returning to the restaurant to pay his bill the next day, the man was asked if he was concerned for his safety.
“We’re not going to let these people win,” the man said. “And I keep saying, if me having a gin and tonic with my friends, flirting with handsome men and hanging out with brilliant women is what offends these people so much, I’m going to do it more, not less. Because that’s what makes London so great.”
Oliver wholeheartedly agreed and used to opportunity to grab a gin and tonic and toast the man.
It looks like Oliver’s coverage and the Twitter response has had an effect too. The New York Times has since removed “reeling” and changed its headline to “Another Terrorist Attack Strikes the Heart of London”.