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“A symphony of bile and race-baiting”: John Oliver mourned the death of facts at the Republican National Convention

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HBO/YouTube screenshot
“It’s not a Rorschach test!”
  • Adam Epstein
By Adam Epstein

Entertainment reporter

Published This article is more than 2 years old.

Before media attention shifts to the Democratic National Convention starting tonight (July 25), John Oliver got in one last takedown of last week’s Republican convention and anointing of Donald Trump as the party’s nominee for president. The satirist returned from a hiatus of his HBO show, Last Week Tonight, to call out the four-day convention’s aversion to facts, delivering yet another Classic Oliver Evisceration. A demolition. A skewering, if you will.  

A common theme in many RNC speeches was that crime in the United States is getting worse, and that people “feel” less safe—despite all factual evidence proving the opposite. As summed up by the moderately famous actor and underwear model Antonio Sabàto, Jr., Oliver pronounced the theme of the convention to be “believing something to be true is the same as it being true.” Republicans like Newt Gingrich, Oliver said, “brought a feeling to a fucking fact fight.”

Referring to Federal Bureau of Investigation statistics that show violent crime in the US has actually declined steadily over the last two decades, Oliver quipped, “It’s not a fucking Rorschach test. You can’t infer anything you like from it.”

Jokes aside, this approach can have a pernicious effect on political discourse, Oliver argued. By putting feelings about what’s happening on par with facts about what’s happening—and allowing that politicians can engender feelings in voters—Donald Trump can essentially create his own reality.

Oliver also teased Trump for a thoroughly bizarre ad bragging about the percentage of applause during his RNC speech. That ad, naturally, calculated its own statistics incorrectly.

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