Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Misinformation Among Immigrant Communities
October 11, 2021 9:37 PM - Season 8, Episode 26 - Subscribe

This week.... Idaho's Lieutenant Governor issued an executive order forbidding vaccine mandates, even though the Governor is opposed it. It turns out OAN, which has been covered by the show before, owes a lot of its existence to AT&T, the same AT&T that's Last Week's Tonight's abdicating business-daddy, which John Oliver cuts them no slack over. And Now: "Fox & Friends'" Brian Kilmeade Likes Christopher Columbus Way, Way Too Much. Main story (YouTube, 20 minutes) : Misinformation as it spreads through immigrant diaspora communities, for although more than 90% of Facebook monthly users are outside the U.S. and Canada, only 13% of hours the company has spent on monitoring information is focused outside the U.S. LWT made some memeable pass-around videos to try to spread the word about not spreading misinformation on the internet, available at

Moment of the episode was John Oliver showing a clip from OAN featuring a man, with "big theater kid energy," essentially calling for the mass execution of "radical Democrats" that he alleges "overthrew" the election.

It was revealed in court under oath that AT&T provides ninety percent of Harris Networks' income. AT&T told Last Week Tonight: "DIRECTTV respects the editorial independence of the channels it carries," "just as AT&T is committed to providing editorial independence for every WarnerMedia show--including this one." John Oliver went on to add: "That is such a relief, especially the last part, because, if I may, I'd like to use that generous editorial independence to offer some constructive feedback to AT&T."

"Take its recent campaign, 'More for your thing. That's our thing,' which is, respectfully, complete gibberish. It sounds like Yoda pitching a penis-enlargement device. It's so nonsensical that I have to assume something was lost in communication, which would actually be a much more appropriate slogan for the company."

"And if you don't like that slogan AT&T, don't worry, I've got more. How about, 'All the business savvy of Quibi without the courtesy of committing corporate suicide?' or 'AT&T: If you run a cable out the back of your headquarters and plug it into T-Mobile's network while they aren't looking, that's legal, right? Asking for a friend.' Any of those are all yours if you want them!"

"And look, AT&T, I know our relationship is a little awkward, especially since you're just trying to spin this business baby off in your deal with Discovery. But while we're still technically related, let me just say this. You're a terrible company. You do bad things and you make the world worse. Please don't bother keeping in touch once the merger is complete, although that really should not be a problem for you, you're AT&T, it's not like your messages will go through anyway."

F. 37: "Bacheloreum Vincit Omnia," BACHELOR IN PARADISE
posted by JHarris (3 comments total)
About a dozen years ago when my mom first got online, I had to spend so much energy debunking the, relatively harmless, misinformation that she latched onto.

Luckily, the anti-vax stuff didn't stick to her, but she's completely taken in by pro-CCP stuff and that China is being bullied by the world because everyone is jealous of China.

The AT&T piece was completely lit. But Oliver's show makes money, and I think that keeps him safe.

I don't know which scenario is worse - AT&T funds OAN because OAN makes money, or AT&T funds OAN because OAN serves a political purpose for someone in AT&T's mahogany row. It's probably a bit from column A and a bit from column B, so probably the worst of both worlds.
posted by porpoise at 6:35 PM on October 12, 2021 [2 favorites]

Wasn't part of the reason AT&T made OAN was to push for their merger?
posted by Marticus at 8:03 PM on October 12, 2021

It was probably seen as a lever to use in bargaining with News Corp. over the Fox News contracts. That there are attendant 'benefits' for some of the executives (but not 'senior' executives because…public relations says, "No,") is pure coincidence.
posted by Ignorantsavage at 9:30 PM on October 12, 2021 [2 favorites]

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