Why Does John Oliver Feel Like the Only Person We Can Trust on TV?

Last Week Tonight is an HBO news show hosted by the sarcastic and witty Brit, John Oliver. Oliver himself has become one of the most trusted names in journalism, despite the fact he adamantly states that what he does is not journalism. He has stated exclusively that his show is “comedy first, and comedy second,” but viewers are increasingly feeling like Oliver is one of the most trustworthy sources of trending news and topics currently on television.

The show started out in the shadow of Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show, which is where Oliver got his start as the “Senior British Correspondent.” In the beginning, Last Week Tonight only averaged a little over a million views per show — just shy of five years later, Oliver is now watched by more than four million viewers

For what reason have so many Americans turned towards Oliver for their news? Why does Oliver feel like the only person we can trust on TV right now? Here’s what we know.

John Oliver is honest with his bias

Oliver presents a very clear bias, just like every other news outlet or talk show on television. To say that Oliver is not a fan of Trump would be an understatement. The difference? Oliver owns his bias and is incredibly upfront about it.

Everyone knows that Fox is conservative and CNN is liberal, but neither outlet admits to their bias. Instead, they insist they are simply reporting the facts without either a liberal or conservative slant. The general consensus is that if John Oliver is willing to admit that he’s biased, then he is automatically much more trustworthy. 

John Oliver goes in-depth on topics

While the majority of other sources of news take just a few moments to cover a topic, Oliver decides to go in-depth. Not only does this allow the viewer a better understanding of the topic, but it also allows Oliver to present more information like cast studies, expert interviews, etc. that makes the news appear more credible. 

Oliver’s news segments usually range between 12 and 20 minutes each, with a few exceptions going a little longer or a little shorter. Most of the topics are those of interest to the general public at the time, but he does sometimes stray from what the American media is currently reporting on.

John Oliver brings to light obscure topics we should know about

In addition to his trending stories (and the in-depth analysis that goes with them), Oliver talks about obscure topics that most Americans should know about, but don’t. Just a few examples of obscure topics Oliver has covered: human rights in Tibet, legal guardianship in elder care, the Scottish independence referendum, and prison reentry. The segment on human rights in Tibet even had the Dalai Lama as a special guest.

John Oliver doesn’t take himself (or anything) too seriously

Many people don’t like to watch the news because they find it depressing and overwhelming. When Oliver reports the news, however, it’s with a very large dose of comedy. He does not take anything too seriously, and that includes himself. Oliver makes fun of himself and his home country as often as he does anything going on in America.

Many find this comedic approach to serious topics much easier to watch – and perhaps, even understand. It gives dark topics like war or poverty a slightly brighter appeal, and in troubled times like these a laugh is always welcomed.