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John Oliver rips Fox News’s 'insane' coverage of Portland protests

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On Last Week Tonight With John Oliver Sunday, Oliver slammed Fox News for its reporting on the ongoing protests in Portland. As protests following the death of George Floyd were beginning to wane, President Trump sent in federal agents to quell what remained. This reignited protests not just in Portland, but around the country. While clashes between the federal agents and protesters have reportedly been confined to a relatively small area of the city, some on Fox have described a city under siege, or “a war on the streets of Portland.”

“It’s about one block that was actually starting to see fewer confrontations between protesters and police before federal agents moved in,” Oliver said “Or, if you watch Fox News, it’s the end of America as we know it.”

Oliver singled out host Sean Hannity for exaggerating the crimes of some of the protesters. Oliver showed a clip of Hannity speaking about incidents in Portland with a rolling list next to him under the heading “Violence in Portland.” Hannity called what’s happening in Portland “insane.” But as Oliver pointed out, graffiti was the most prominent thing on the list of “violent” crimes Hannity showed.

“Yeah, it is insane. Because that tone does not honestly reflect the conditions on the ground. That firebombing, for instance, seems to be a reference to either a firework or a small fire that was set, which is significantly less dramatic than he is trying to make it sound,” Oliver said. “And that rolling list next to Hannity’s head is mostly graffiti. In fact, graffiti is listed 12 times in a row there, under the headline ‘Violence in Portland,’ which is a huge overstatement. And at that point, it would have been just as accurate if that heading had said, ‘Cannibalism in Portland,’ or ‘Texas Chainsaw Massacres in Portland.’”

Oliver also took a shot at Trump, who claimed the federal agents in Portland are doing a “great job.” Others have criticized the agents for their methods, which have included arresting people and taking them away in unmarked vans.

“It’s never good when Trump says he’s doing a great job given that he thinks his administration is doing a great job dealing with the coronavirus,” Oliver said, “and he once proclaimed that Ben Affleck would do a great job as Batman. Clearly this man has no sense of what a great job actually looks like.”

Trump has also sent federal agents into Seattle, and has indicated he intends to send agents into other Democratically run cities as well, garnering another strong rebuke from Oliver.

“The troubling thing here is, Portland seems to be being used as a staging ground by the president to put on an authoritarian show of force. And this could end very badly,” Oliver said, “especially as he’s now apparently threatened to use federal force in other cities as well, which is absolutely outrageous.”

Last Week Tonight With John Oliver airs Sundays at 11 p.m. on HBO.

Watch Trump say the mayor of Portland ‘made a fool of himself’ when he joined protesters and got tear-gassed by federal agents:

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