John Oliver Hopes to Keep Trump News to a Minimum (But Isn't Sure How)

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John Oliver Hopes to Keep Trump News to a Minimum (But Isn't Sure How)

John Oliver, host of the popular HBO show Last Week Tonight, recently discussed a goal for the forthcoming season: Don’t make it all about Donald Trump. Even though Trump continues to dominate the news, Oliver and his team are determined to find a balance between their signature detailed long-form journalism and their coverage of our newest president—though they’re not exactly sure how, yet. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Oliver said, “We’ll work it out. I don’t know. I think we’re very anxious to not make it all Trump, all the time—both on a level of interest and on a level of what the human soul can sustain.”

Trump burnout is a real problem for journalists trying to write stories (ahem) amid the raging wildfire of executive orders and vindictive tweets, and Oliver advises waiting to see the aftermath before reporting the full story. “[Trump] moves so fast that there’s no real point in spending a month on something that he’s said until you work out what the consequences of that are going to be,” said Oliver. He also recommends considering how much coverage a story already received—or, as he told The New York Times, “It’s a lot of people feeding on the same carcass. We try to pick a different carcass because of how many different beaks have already gotten to it.”

As far as Last Week Tonight’s long-form reporting, the team says they will be choosing their stories in the way they always have, with a combination of curiosity and instinct. “The basic seed of why we would be looking into a story has not really changed at all,” said Oliver, “But the resources and process we use to treat that story has improved since we started, so I think we can go deeper.” In the past season, some of the show’s most popular segments were long-form stories, such as their coverage of pyramid schemes, school segregation and America’s opioid addiction.

Season four of Last Week Tonight premieres this Sunday, Feb. 12, at 11 p.m. EST on HBO. Despite Oliver’s promise to not make the show all about Trump, we expect the first episode to be quite the rundown of the hectic, brain-melting horror of the past three weeks.

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