John Oliver Mocks Boston Globe Twitter Gaffe, Parodies Spotlight

The comedian broke down the state of journalism on Last Week Tonight.
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver

Photo by HBO via YouTube / Screenshot

After reviewing Gisele’s catwalk and the start of the Rio Olympics, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver turned its attention to the state of journalism in 2016.

The HBO host kicked off the segment by praising Spotlight, the Academy Award-winning film about the Boston Globe investigation into the Catholic Church’s sex abuse scandals. Although Oliver thought it was nice that Hollywood finally gave journalists some recognition on the big screen, he felt the Oscar win was pretty astounding considering the newspaper industry’s current, bleak financial situation.

“One of the things that made Spotlight so powerful is the knowledge that the newspaper industry today is in big trouble,” Oliver said. “Papers have been closing and downsizing for years, and that effects all of us.”

The comedian noted that many online and television news organizations, as well as his own show, often rely on investigative reporting done by newspapers across the country.

Oliver went on to talk about the digital responsibilities that have been added to journalists jobs thanks to the rise of the Internet. Many reporters are now required to shoot their own photos and videos, on top of writing a certain amount of stories per day and maintaining active social media presences.

The Last Week Tonight host argued that the multitude of tasks can lead to errors happening, especially over mediums like Twitter. Oliver had some fun mocking the “investifarted” gaffe made by the Boston Globe while tweeting about the Chattanooga shooting last year.

“If journalists are constantly required to write, edit, shoot videos, and tweet, mistakes are going to get made,” Oliver said. “Perhaps that is how the Boston Globe wound up tweeting following a shooting in Tennessee that the FBI had ‘investifarted’ about 70 leads.”

“Clearly if they had more time they would have written #investifarted, because that’s how you drive the conversation,” he added.

Oliver ended the segment with a star-studded parody of Spotlight called Stoplight, featuring Jason Sudeikis, Bobby Cannavale, Rose Byrne, Brian Doyle-Murray, and Mahershala Ali. Cannavale plays a Mark Ruffalo-type, Boston reporter who wants to look into city hall, but gets stonewalled by his editor (Sudeikis) who wants him to look into a racoon-cat video instead.

Check out the full clip below.


Matt Juul Matt Juul, Digital A&E Writer at Boston Magazine mjuul@bostonmagazine.com