John Oliver is on fire (naturally) in his season finale segment on the first year of Trumpism, a year so busy and scandal-plagued that it really needs to this kind of revisiting to bring its full ghastliness to light.
As Oliver points out, Trump's mastery of outrage media makes him nearly impossible to ignore. But as Oliver lays out the specific crude and effective tactics that Trump uses -- Delegitimizing the Media, Whataboutism, and Trolling -- it feels like he's also armoring his audience against those tactics in the years to come.
Delegitimizing the media is relatively straight-forward, and something that we’ve seen since Trump first announced his candidacy. Whataboutism, an old Soviet propoganda tool, “implies that all actions, regardless of context, share a moral equivalency and since nobody is perfect, all criticism is hypocritical and everybody should do whatever they want.” We saw this quite a bit when Trump and those that support him had trouble denouncing Nazis. Even if you see a double standard, the host points out, “the solution is not to have no standard whatsoever”.
Finally, there’s trolling. While 80% of the internet, Oliver notes that the way that Trump manages to get negative reactions and incite mass confusion among reporters and well, anyone afraid of war, is incredibly popular among his supporters despite it being a piss-poor measure of success. “Sometimes, when you do something that makes a lot of people mad, it’s because—and bear with me here—you’re a dick”, says Oliver. “If you sneak into someone’s house and urinate in every heating vent and they get mad at you, you’re not an ‘epic troll sticking it to the snowflake cuck’, you’re just some fucking asshole.”
John Oliver Identifies 3 of Trump’s Worst Tactics in Last Week Tonight’s Season Finale [Charline Jao/The Mary Sue]