I dislike John Oliver.
In fact, I dislike the whole comedian-doing-news-and-analysis schtick, and not just because Oliver was fantastically unfair to North Dakota recently.
If it were just comedy, then fine. We all like to laugh, and people like Oliver and Jon Stewart are hugely talented, and sometimes they even get it right (I’ll admit to liking Oliver’s segment on civil asset forfeiture).
The thing is, people take them seriously. Many in the public treat their polemics and diatribes as thoughtful analysis and responsible journalism. Oliver and Stewart know that, of course, yet when they get called out by more serious commentators, Stewart and Oliver shrug their shoulders and use their comedian status as a get out of jail free card.
They’re just entertainers, you see.
It’s a handy dodge, to be sure, but Oliver specifically may not be able to dodge the mess he’s stepped in on the refugee issue.
Back in September Oliver lit into critics of refugee resettlement (view that segment here on Oliver’s YouTube channel). “He mocked the idea that terrorists would, or could, infiltrate Europe with Syrian migrants, and invited his flock to laugh at the heathens who thought maybe they could,” Ace writes of Oliver’s 17 minute rant.
But then the attacks in Paris happened, and it turns out that critics of refugee resettlement maybe sort of have a point about the whole infiltration thing.
How did Oliver react? He certainly didn’t muster the intellectual honesty to address his previous verbal assault on critics of refugee resettlement. Instead Oliver, 48 hours after the Paris attacks, devoted two minutes to the issue calling the terrorists “f***ing assholes” and suggesting that they aren’t going to win “a Lifestyle and Culture war with the French.”
Not a word about refugee policy, a topic Oliver covered extensively not so long ago. Nor any pause to recognize that the terrorists most decidedly are not fighting a culture war. They’re fighting a real war with real bullets and real bombs and real people being murdered.
Oliver doesn’t address it, no doubt because it is inconvenient for his left-wing narrative, not to mention his posturing as a smug commentator who is right about everything. Which is about what you’d expect from a pseudo-intellectual clown who hides his vapidity behind his status as entertainer.
Ace describes Oliver and his ilk as “progressive televangelists.” That sounds about right to me.