The coronavirus took the week off from infecting John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight monologues, with the host instead focusing on how a certain cable news network has been covering the ongoing Black Lives Matter protests: CNN and, in his opinion, not well. Not OAN levels of bad, but still … meh. Discussing how a Navy veteran was beaten and showered in pepper spray by federal agents in Portland last week, Oliver mocked CNN’s decision to show the entirety of the unprovoked violence, but chose to blur the man’s middle fingers when he flashed them to the agents in the aftermath. “That is intense and, frankly, says so much about this country right now,” he explained. “CNN will show federal agents treating a human being like a piñata and censor the same man for rightfully telling those agents to fuck the fuck off. Look, we’re already witnessing the rapid decline of American civil liberties here, let’s not be fucking prudes about it.” Fox News isn’t showing any better judgment either, Oliver said, because the network — particularly Sean Hannity — keeps portraying the protests as “the end of America as we know it.”
Hannity, a longtime punching bag for Last Week Tonight, was picked apart by Oliver about the validity of his recent protest coverage. “That tone does not honestly reflect the conditions on the ground,” Oliver explained, before launching into a larger critique about President Trump’s military response. “Look, the troubling thing here is that Portland seems to be being used as a staging ground by the president to put on an authoritarian show of force, and this could end very badly, especially as he’s now apparently threatened to use federal force in other cities as well, which is absolutely outrageous.” Now, let’s get back to Trump’s response to COVID-19.