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John Oliver creates ads to help Trump distinguish fact from fiction

John Oliver
June 8, 2015: “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver”
(Eric Liebowitz/HBO)

John Oliver is back with a few lessons for President Trump. 

After a three-month hiatus that felt even longer, HBO’s “Last Week Tonight” returned Sunday with its first episode since Donald Trump’s inauguration, and host Oliver had a big lesson for the already embattled president. 

The main story of the night focused on Trump’s preference for “alternative facts” on issues including crime rates, unemployment and voter fraud. As Oliver noted, Trump is known to be an avid consumer of cable news (and often appears to tweet about things he just watched on TV) and “frighteningly unreliable” outlets such as Breitbart and Infowars. 

This leads to a worrying cycle, Oliver argued: “Trump sees something that jibes with his worldview, doesn’t check it, half-remembers it, and then passes it on, at which point it takes on a life of its own and appears to validate itself.”

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At the same time, Oliver said, the president is worryingly short when it comes to knowledge about the kind of boring but vital subjects that cable news tends to ignore like, for instance, the nuclear triad. 

Oliver decided to produce ads inspired by the low-budget medical device commercials often seen on cable news networks, and run them in the Washington, D.C. area during “Fox & Friends,” “Morning Joe” and “New Day” in hopes the president might learn a thing or two.

“Until we’re shut down, we’re prepared to educate Donald Trump, one by one, on topics we’re pretty sure he doesn’t know about.”

Oliver is known for going the extra step with his comedy (and HBO’s money), and has even run commercials before: In 2015, he bought air time on Trinidadian television in order to taunt a FIFA official

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A representative for HBO confirmed that the ads appeared Monday morning on FOX (at 8:48 a.m. EST), MNSBC (8:29 a.m.) and CNN (8:50 a.m.). If you happened to miss them, you can watch here, but be warned — some (censored) naughty language is involved.

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meredith.blake@latimes.com

Follow me @MeredithBlake

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