John Oliver explores other 'media bubbles' to find why Americans, and Trump, believe COVID-19 fake news

"COVID-19 is still dominating the news every day, and it's hard to keep up with all the information about it, to say nothing of the misinformation," John Oliver said on Sunday's Last Week Tonight. Unfortunately, people are consuming and acting on this bad information, with dangerous and counterproductive results, he said. "You may have even heard some of those arguments from people you're related to or people you love — which can, incidentally, be two very distinct groups."

Why do people believe this bad information? "There are a lot of media bubbles out there, and getting a glimpse outside of the one that you're in can be eye-opening," Oliver said. "Here in the U.S., one of the biggest and most robust bubbles is the right-wing media sphere."

Some "enormously powerful" figures on conservative TV and talk radio "have found it easy to fold this virus into narratives that they've been carefully building up for decades," Oliver said, pointing to Rush Limbaugh's "Four Corners of Deceit": government, academia, science, and the media — unfortunately, "the four most important groups to listen to during a public health crisis." Infuriatingly, President Trump also gets his advice and talking points straight from Limbaugh and Fox News, he said, showing some startling examples.

"Incomprehensibly stupid" public policy can make for "good TV," Oliver said. But "the skills required to produce TV and to govern are very different, and unfortunately, we have a president who doesn't seem to know the difference." So Trump watches Fox News promoting modest protests that Trump then tweets about and Fox covers, he said, creating an information loop which "might convince Trump that there's a sizable portion of the population that wants to go back to work no matter the cost — but that's not currently the case."

"And look, I get Trump, Fox, and those protesters wanting all of this to be over — I do, too!" Oliver said. "But for what it's worth, I know people who've died from this. I also know people who are taking hydroxychloroquine because they think it will give them immunity, and I know people with lupus who are down to their last few weeks of pills, and it makes me f---ing furious! Because the fact is, the fastest way for this to be over is for all of us to remain united in this very difficult task." Watch below.

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