A realization suddenly dawned as we watched this latest and much-viewed clip from HBO’s Last Week Tonight with John Oliver about the Miss America pageant: John Oliver and his crew were doing something truly subversive. They were committing an act of actual investigative journalism.
Not only that: The episode captures in a fairly accurate manner the thought process giving rise to a completed print/video/audio investigative report.
So close to to the actual process is the episode that it captures the very thought processes of the journalist. John Oliver’s remarks are precisely similar those we’ve heard and made during the course of a writing newspaper stories, magazine articles, and books investigating various phenomena we consider it important for folks to know about.
What clinched our surmise was that hefty stack of IRS 990 forms Oliver plunked down at his desk, an act we’ve done many times before [for example], with precisely the admixture of humorous triumph and exasperation.
Indeed, the clip’s so good that a wise journalism professor would show it at the very first lecture in a course on the art of investigative reporting.
So our hat’s off to you, John Oliver, and welcome to the ranks of the Fourth Estate.
Form Last Week Tonight with John Oliver:
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Miss America Pageant
The Miss America Pageant…how is this still a thing?
They claim to give more scholarships to women than any other organization, and, unfortunately, they’re right.
To illustrate these problems, John Oliver stages his own pageant with the help of Kathy Griffin.
Here are the links to the women’s scholarship funds that John mentioned on air:
Society of Women Engineers: http://societyofwomenengineers.swe.org/
Jeanette Rankin Women’s Scholarship Fund: www.rankinfoundation.org
Patsy Mink Foundation: www.patsyminkfoundation.org