For a long time journalists and media peripherals have been discussing the changing nature of journalism. Not just because of the sudden inundation of e-devices and connectibility, but because we’re not even sure how to write it anymore.
We look back on the days of tabloid, yellow journalism and shudder, but clearly we’re past the notion that pure objective journalism is feasible in this world of ours. Hell, it might not even be the hero we deserve or need. Members of the media are struggling to present their information in a way that’s unbiased, but still has an angle, but still presents both sides, without catering to either.
Often times in these debates there’s a focus on television news, which in turn bleeds over to the news comedy that’s ever prevalent these days. Some people shake their heads at statistics about college kids who get their news from “The Daily Show” and “The Colbert Report,” but others (or, more of the same, conversely) argue that–clear bias aside–it’s some of the best reporting out there.
So perhaps it’s fitting that one of the best news programs out there got its start on “The Daily Show.” John Oliver who, amongst other things, rose to prominence on Comedy Central’s late night news circuit got his own show on HBO that is the true winner of 2014.
Like “The Daily Show,” LWT takes a satirical approach to current events, offering a clear vantage point and sprinkling in a few off-color jokes here and there. In fact, if you’re looking at it purely from a perspective of painting big corporations and politicians with a stick then they’re identical. But with all the fluidity of a David Sedaris essay, Oliver and his team take topics and tear them down, completely. What starts as a simple poke at a humorous topic gradually descends into a fascinating expose that most investigative journalists only dream of. This team does it every week.
Oliver has a sharper tone than either of Comedy Central’s titans (except perhaps when Jon Stewart is very mad, because he is a sight to behold) and he has far more wiggle-room than most anyone before him. Thanks to HBO’s no-ads policy, Oliver and his team don’t have to worry about offending sponsors or selling airtime. They’ve moved on from punting at Fox News or giving you the Republican-gaffe of the day, and are now tackling bigger topics, wrecking whole ideas, in just half an hour.
In its 24 episodes LWT has boasted quite a roaster of topics, and an impressive number of eloquent journalism pieces. Oliver has stated that he doesn’t want the show to be a parody news show, and so far he’s delivered and then some. Now if only other news programs would.
For now, sit back and kill some time with the LWT Youtube channel: