Jon Stewart's satiric co-hort John Oliver investigates investigative journalism, the nearly extinct brand of reporting that CNN slashed last year
"The Daily Show's" John Oliver, the acerbic Englishman that produces many of the show's satirical special reports, has made a grim discovery: Investigative journalism is all but dead in the United States.
In his segment Monday night, Oliver interviewed former CNN correspondent Kaj Larsen, whose reports from far-flung countries like Somalia and Indonesia were axed from the ailing network's budget when it closed its investigative documentary department last March.
"CNN, the worldwide leader in news, has eliminated its entire investigative news department," the perpetually incredulous Oliver said incredulously.
"CNN is finally raising itself up to the low standard of its competitors."
Larsen, who got his start at the Current TV documentary show "Vanguard," said he hopes to travel to Guinea-Bissau to chronicle the rise of drug cartels in the West African country. But he needs someone to run his story.
Oliver then sat down with a media consultant Brad Adgate, who said the type of journalism Larsen produced is too expensive.
Oliver pitched Larsen's Guinea-Bissau idea.
"That doesn't sound interesting?" he asked
"No," Adgate said, insisting that boots-on-the-ground foreign correspondence is dead in the age of Skype and social media. "There are a lot of good stories out there that we'll never know."
"We'll never know because people like you say they're not profitable," Oliver fired back.
"You don't have to fly to some remote location to interview someone, you can sit and use Skype and save money that way," Adgate said.
"I don't know how many child soldiers in the Sierra Leone use Skype," Oliver replied.
As for Larsen, while CNN allocates its money on gimmicks like holograms of its own reporters, he told Oliver he has a new job: pitching fictional investigations for the HBO show "The Newsroom."
"No, no, no, please don't tell me the only newsrooms hiring people like Kaj are pretend ones," Oliver said — before launching into a string of expletives. "That is depressing."
Here's the whole clip: