It looked like a good week for Fox News on Last Week Tonight with John Oliver today as the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank and uncertainty in the financial world replaced the searing revelations resulting from Dominion Voting’s lawsuit against the Rupert Murdoch-owned cable newser on the HBO series.
Well, at least for a while.
Promising “not to bore you with every little detail,” Oliver proceeded to rip and tear into the intricacies of investing in long term Treasury bonds and the losses piled up by the now failed Santa Clara, CA based bank as interest rates have risen over the past year or so. “It’s essentially a classic story of a bank doing a lousy job of judging and hedging against risk,” the multi-Emmy winner stated.
And then, while that prickly lawsuit and embarrassing text chains by Tucker Carlson, Laura Ingraham and Sean Hannity weren’t in the spotlight, Oliver went right back to taking a whack at the Fox News piñata.
“That is so stupid, I’m almost jealous,” the host exclaimed after a montage of FNC hosts slamming SVB’s fall for being a “woke” bank.
“It must be so very nice for them to automatically blame everything that they don’t like or understand on wokenist,” Oliver continued. “It rained on my birthday because of critical race theory and my son called me a b*tch because of socialism, and on top of all that I was late to work today because of a bunch of pronouns,” he added tossing in some of the conservative cultural war touchstones. “I believe all of that because it makes my life monumentally easier,” Oliver wrapped up.
Chastising Fox by name for trying to “spin” SVB’s diversity initiatives into why the bank crashed, Oliver pointed out that “hedging against risk is a foundational lesson of bank, along with buy low, sell high and wear a fancy suit and tie so no one can tell you have no idea what the f*ck you’re doing.”
Nicely, the host took a beat then to adjust his own rather fancy tie, before self-deprecatingly noting to big laughs: “To be honest, that one is still pretty handy.”
Of course, SVB wasn’t the only bank to faceplant and be taken over by government regulators in the past several days. With $100 billion in assets, Signature Bank went down before seeing its deposits and loans plus all of its 40 branches purchased by Michigan-based Flagstar Bank this weekend. A look at a series of awful and awkward internal videos made by Signature brass, including ex-chairman Scott Shay, singing about the fate of the bank that would even make Oliver Stone blush was just too easy for John Oliver to overlook.
“In terms of things that have aged badly, I say that this falls somewhere between mid-aughts Gwen Stefani, my actual body and the October 1976 cover of Sesame Street magazine,” he quipped to groans. For those of you who lacked a subscription to the Big Bird and pals publication, see that unfortunate Bicentennial year cover in question below:
In short, Oliver’s SVB segment came down to a Sen. Elizabeth Warren inspired assertion that “banks can’t be trusted to self-regulate.”
Okay, but banks weren’t the only institutions at the receiving end of Oliver’s scripted scalpel tonight
“Overall, it seems like the people in charge of keeping our economy safe will just keep telling us trust us, we can police ourselves, nothing will go wrong,” he noted, putting the Federal Reserve and other government branches in the spotlight. LWT then cut to Signature boss Shay on one of those horrific in-house videos exclaiming “I happen to know for a fact, that won’t happen.”
With the potential global banking crisis behind them, Last Week Tonight aired a painful collage of local news St. Patrick’s Day greetings before launching into its main story on timeshares. “They are incredibly easy to get into …and incredibly hard to get out of,” Oliver said of the frequent vacation scams and the hours-long presentations used to sell the properties.
Needless to say, in the near endless list of juxtapositions that is the heart of LWT and Oliver calling out the “bullsh*t” of timeshares, there was a swipe at Avatar: The Way of Water in there was well.
BTW – Last Week Tonight with John Oliver is off next week