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John Oliver Segment on Donald Trump's Lies

John Oliver Has a Solution For Stopping Trump's Lies That Might Actually Work

John Oliver returned from hiatus with a segment on President Donald Trump's loose grasp of the truth. The goal was simple: "We thought it would be useful to try and answer four basic questions," Oliver announced. "How did we get a pathological liar in the White House? Where are his lies coming from? Why do so many people believe him? And what can we possibly do about it?"

Oliver's tall task began with tackling Trump's election. Many voters, per an interview with Peter Thiel that Oliver aired, didn't take him literally but took him seriously and excused his rhetoric as empty promises. But, as know now, "Trump was telling the truth about his solutions to the problems he was lying about," Oliver said.

The problems Trump lies about, like his claim that unemployment might be 42 percent, have a few origins. Mostly, Trump's appetite for cable news coupled with selective hearing seems to be the most tangible cause. For example, Trump tweeted that Chelsea Manning was an ungrateful traitor who called President Barack Obama a weak leader; while Manning did not describe Obama with those words, a Fox News segment did just 15 minutes before Trump tweeted. "The president seems to tweet about whatever information he just saw on cable news," Oliver lambasted.

Trump also has a history of citing Breitbart as a source of reputable information, despite its reputation for publishing inflammatory, often-baseless stories. Creating a reality crafted from Fox News and Breitbart "does not make you seem more credible," Oliver said to Trump.

It's not difficult to imagine why so many people believe Trump, since they are likely watching and consuming the same sources of information as he does. Trump, then, merely confirms what they already believe to be true. As Oliver also emphasized, the fact that people agree with Trump merely validates his beliefs as well. "Just because they believe you and you believe them doesn't make it true," Oliver said. Is this beginning to sound like an inescapable cycle?

The only answer, according to Oliver, is to invade Trump's media digest with irrefutable facts. Oliver riffed commercials set to air on cable news channels in the DC area to slyly educate Trump on some truths, like what the nuclear triad is. Citizens bear the burden as well, he said. "We all need to commit to defending the reality of facts."

Faith and facts are not interchangeable. "When you confuse them, it actually matters," Oliver says.

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