John Oliver did what he deemed impossible on Sunday night: Make the debate over net neutrality interesting and important.
The host of “Last Week Tonight” was riled up enough to spend nearly half his show discussing the FCC’s impending regulatory white flag that would allow internet provider behemoths like Comcast and Time Warner to charge companies — and ultimately, consumers — more money for service that isn’t entirely awful. It was an impressive display that made the players and consequences actually compelling, tying big names and classic themes (drug dealing, mobsters, dingo-eating babies) to the tech controversy.
Oliver spread the blame and insults around quite liberally (once again taking advantage of the lack of language restrictions on cable), hitting FCC Chair (and former cable company lobbyist) Tom Wheeler, President Obama (for nominating Wheeler and buddying up to Comcast CEO Brian Roberts), Comcast and its nauseating corporate spin (for being misleading), C-Span (for being so boring), and internet commenters (for just generally being crazy).
“The cable companies have figured out the great truth of America: If you want to do something evil, put it inside something boring,” he said. “Apple could put the entire text of ‘Mein Kampf’ inside the iTunes user agreement, and you’d just go, ‘Agree, agree.’ That’s why advocates should not be talking about protecting net neutrality, they shouldn’t even use that phrase. They should call it ‘Preventing Cable Company Fuckery.’ Because that’s what it is, and it might actually compel people to actually do something.”