Indicators of journalistic role performance on Last Week Tonight
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The purpose of this study was to analyze how John Oliver, the television host of HBO's Last Week Tonight, adopts journalistic role performance throughout the long-form segments of his program. Last Week Tonight, a satirical news show and spiritual successor to The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, frequently devotes the majority of its half-hour, once-a-week program to conducting a deep-dive on an issue, sometimes independently of the weekly news cycle. Using field theory as a framework, this study explores how Oliver's position on a cable network, independent of the advertising system other news (and satirical) programs are built on, enables the television host use journalistic roles with less external resistance. This qualitative analysis found that while Oliver serves as a vocal champion for concepts such as democracy and empathy and the profession of journalism, there is very little to suggest he has the means or the inclination to replace the work of traditional journalists and is in actuality, by his own admission to his audience, very much dependent on their work.