It seems like once every few months John Oliver just blows my mind. This made the rounds in the jouralism social media in a major way when it came out — probably because it cuts right down to the bone for a lot of folks who work at (or used to work at) newspapers during the profession’s downward spiral from print heyday to digital content-recycling clickbait manufacturers.
Oliver touches on everything from the necessity of local journalists to corporatization of media (the takedown of Tronc is incredible) and then closes with a hilarious parody preview for a Spotlight-esque tale of newspapers today. It’s 19 minutes well spent, and it should be required viewing for a country that’s quickly losing the balancing powers of the Fourth Estate. Look at how much anger there is driving the popularity of the Republican party’s presidential candidate, in part because of the inefficacy and corruption of federal government. Look at how the state of Alabama had its three most powerful elected officials all were under separate criminal investigations during the month of May. Judging by 2014 Pew Research about the steep declines in statehouse reporters, it’s hard to believe that stronger oversight from an objective, outside observer acting in the interest of the public (aka the Platonic ideal of a journalist) wouldn’t help heal some of what ails American democracy right now.