John Oliver, formerly a correspondent on Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show”, is now host of his own faux news commentary show on HBO, “Last Week Tonight”. Over successive weeks, his hilarious rants took on Green and Sports topics.
We have an old saying here at GreenSportsBlog and it goes something like this. “If John Oliver, by ranting one week about Climate Change Denial/Skepticism and the next about the corruption at FIFA (the governing body of world soccer-not the video game), planted himself, albeit unknowingly, firmly at the intersection of Green & Sports, well, dang-it, GreenSportsBlog is going to cover it!!” (Hat-tip to loyal GSB reader, Dr. Bruce Binkowitz, for clueing us into to Mr. Oliver’s Green-Sports bona fides.)
In the first of his two rants, Oliver not only took down Climate Change skeptics and deniers, he also went after the media which, for the most part, falls into the “false equivalency trap”. By that I mean, when media outlets cover climate change (which is rare), they often do it in a pro/con debate format–with someone arguing that climate change is real and someone else arguing that, despite the overwhelming weight of scientific evidence in favor of it, argues that it’s not real or that “the jury is still out” or something like that. But, since 97% of climate scientists support the idea that human-caused climate change is real and a serious global problem, does it make sense to have 1 pro climate change guest on with 1 denier/skeptic? Well, Oliver thinks not, to witheringly funny effect. Check out his 4 minute and change video here.
Then, Oliver pivoted to sports, and specifically to FIFA, which currently owns global center stage with the World Cup from Brazil. While FIFA airs warm-and-fuzzy Public Service Announcements about soccer-as-force-for-good and also trumpets its greenness, Oliver satirically demonstrated the corruption that pervades the organization. Particularly galling is its choice of Qatar to host the 2022 World Cup, despite 1) the otherworldly heat in that country during the summer, and 2) the well-documented human rights violations workers building the 8 stadiums are suffering at the hands of their employers.
FIFA President Sepp Blatter reveals that Qatar won the right to host the 2022 World Cup. John Oliver, host of HBO’s “Last Week Tonight”, took Blatter and FIFA to task for the corruption that led to Qatar’s selection and for the human rights abuses being brought upon many of the workers building the stadiums that will host the matches. (Photo Credit: Time, Inc.)
To get a sense of the scope and severity of the human rights problem in Qatar (including worker deaths), check out this ESPN “E:60” segment. And to see Oliver’s absolutely spot on skewering of FIFA (and, of himself as a World Cup addict), please watch this 13 minute + video here. I know it’s 13 minutes but, trust me, it’ll seem like only 11! Please, I’m begging you, WATCH IT!
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