HBO’s John Oliver took on the topic of homelessness Sunday night, and while he identified a number of factors that contribute to the issue, he pointed out that media coverage — especially from Fox News — is significant early on.
Oliver rolled a Fox News clip that featured an on-air banner declaring, “SAFETY FEARS OVERWHELM MANY AUSTIN, TX RESIDENTS,” criticizing the clip for making scenes from homeless encampments “scarier with visual effects.”
“Look, I know it is easy to criticize Fox News for being alarmist. Alarmism is their whole thing. That, and airing ads for pills that make your d— go bongo,” Oliver mused before rolling a clip from Vice News that also featured residents discussing their concerns about increasing homelessness in their area.
“Far too often, stories focusing on homelessness are presented solely through the lens of how it affects those with homes, when in reality it is obviously the people without them who need the real help,” he said.
Oliver went after the people who consume those reports, too: “It is not the houseds’ comfort that needs to be prioritized right now. If you’re wondering why homelessness continues to get worse in this country, one reason is there are lots of people — even liberals — who believe that homelessness is a personal failing, poverty can be avoided and their own good fortune makes them not only better than the unhoused, but more worthy of comfort. It is basically Reagan’s attitude from a Whole Foods crowd.”
He said “the very first step” toward solving the problem of homelessness is changing perceptions.
Watch above, via HBO.