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On Last Week Tonight With John Oliver Sunday, Oliver shined a light on propaganda being used to influence the Philippine presidential election, particularly a truly bizarre story involving Michael Jordan. The Jordan story is just one of a number of false narratives meant to whitewash the brutal and corrupt legacy of former dictator Ferdinand Marcos, whose son, Ferdinand “BongoBongo” Marcos Jr., is a frontrunner in Monday’s election.
This story, being circulated on social media in the Philippines, involves then-President Marcos traveling to Wilmington, N.C., for the holidays, and giving a hungry Jordan bread in a park. Oliver’s telling of it truly captures the ludicrous nature. According to Oliver, the story originated as a joke, but has since been passed around “completely seriously.”
“On Dec. 24, 1969, the Marcos family was in Wilmington, N.C., to celebrate the holidays,” Oliver said. “That actually tracks, because if you’re a billionaire from the other side of the world and you want to celebrate the holidays in America, there’s only one place that you’re going, and that’s Wilmington, N.C.”
That is the single dumbest story involving a young Michael Jordan I have ever heardJohn Oliver
According to the story, Marcos was walking in a park and saw a skinny child begging for food. He gave the child a whole box of Nutribun and said, “Bring this with you, child, someday you will grow up to be someone important.” That child grew up to be Michael Jordan.
Oliver broke that down bit by bit.
“To be clear, in this story, President Marcos was walking through a park holding bread, specifically Nutribun, a bread mainly sold in the Philippines, meaning Marcos flew to the United States with Nutribun because he was like, ‘What if we get to Wilmington, N.C., my favorite holiday destination, and they don’t have any bread there?’” Oliver said. “Then he went to the park and passed, like, 10 other kids, thinking, ‘None of you are gonna grow up to be important so you’re not getting any of my park bread.’ Then he saw Michael Jordan and was like, ‘Wait, I’m pretty sure that you are gonna be important. So here, have this bread that I brought with me from the other side of the world. And then, that kid grew up to be Michael Jordan, the greatest basketball player who ever lived.”
Oliver then summed up the story perfectly, while at the same time taking a swipe at Jordan’s acting career.
“That is the single dumbest story involving a young Michael Jordan I have ever heard,” Oliver said, “and I have seen Space Jam.”
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