John Oliver was in top form last night as he brutally exposed Donald Trump’s epic failure in responding to the coronavirus epidemic. Caught up in the exposé was a Fox Business Network guest using the public health crisis to make a bigoted smear of the Chinese.
Oliver first offered a primer on the origins of COVID-19, how and why it has spread and the reactions in various countries.
“Trust is critical when trying to contain a possible pandemic,” Oliver noted after he highlighted Iranians' lack of trust in their government. “Unfortunately," he continued, "that brings us to the United States response to this virus and specifically to this guy.” That guy was Trump, of course. Oliver’s hilarious riff on Trump’s dishonesty and shocking lack of concern for Americans’ welfare is, alone, worth watching the video.
Then, there was this:
OLIVER: This is a bad time to have a president who cannot speak clearly because there’s already enough bad information flying around and the president’s favorite channel has been a particular offender here.
Fox anchors and guests have repeatedly amplified false claims. From the idea that the virus was created in a Chinese bio-weapons lab to the baseless internet rumor that it came from Chinese people eating bat soup which one commentator used as an excuse to say how he really feels.
The commentator was an economist named Don Luskin, a guest on the Fox Business Network’s Trish Regan Primetime show. Luskin has no apparent credentials in public health but guest host David Asman had no problem letting Luskin opine on causes of the contagion – right before segueing into a bigoted smear of the Chinese.
LUSKIN: Bat soup may be delicious to certain people but unfortunately bats are the world's greatest reservoir for viruses. What are we gonna do about China? What are we gonna do about a totalitarian dictatorship where it's OK to sell live virus-infected bats in open air marketplaces and then have business travel and tourists travel between that country and the civilized world?
Oliver responded with a jab calling Luskin the “Usain Bolt of racism.”
Watch this frightening and funny episode below, from the March 1, 2020 Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.
(H/T reader Eric Jefferson)