On Sunday's episode of Last Week Tonight, John Oliver's main story was on journalism, and the general state of newspapers in today's society. After a quick recap on the opening ceremony for the Olympic games in Rio, including a shoutout for the glistening "Tonga Man," Oliver moved on to begin discussing the general decline of print newspapers. In John Oliver's coverage of newspapers on Last Week Tonight, he introduced viewers to Stoplight, what the award-winning movie Spotlight might look like in the future. According to the fictional reviews, the film is "depressingly accurate."
One of the major examples Oliver cited in his story was the newspaper The Oregonian. In the early '90s, the paper had never done better, and had never had a larger staff or higher salaries. Unfortunately today, in order to keep up with the steady digitization of the new cycle, newspapers like The Oregonian are forced to make some concessions, including smaller staffs and an occasionally unfeasible blogging and social media quota. The same goes for newspapers across the board, for example, The Boston Globe once tweeted the incredible the word "investifarted." As with many things John Oliver comments on, #investifarted caught on immediately on Twitter, particularly with the journalists at local newspapers who would rather be investigating than investifarting.
Last Week Tonight illustrated the main point with a parody of the movie Spotlight, which is about a group of hardworking journalists who exposed the widespread child abuse happening within the Catholic church. John Oliver imagined what such a movie would look like in the future, should the current trends in journalism continue the way they are. The result is Stoplight, in which one eager reporter played by Bobby Cannavale (the others have either bought out, been replaced by some vague digital system, or are actually social media managers) attempts to pitch an exciting story to his colleagues, only to be shot down in favor of a story about a raccoon that looks like a cat. Or it might be a cat that looks like a raccoon. No one is totally sure.
Like most good jokes, the parody is hilarious because it's true. In the middle of a clandestine parking lot meeting, the one eager reporter's editor, played by Jason Sudeikis, interrupts to demand if he's sent his requisite eight tweets yet today (retweets don't count!).
This post will be updated with video when made available.