- John talks about the norms that Trump's precidency has violated
- and the way leaders engage with us and furthermore we engage with each other
- The main topic: the real damage is not in how Trump says things, but the three key techniques that he uses to insulate himself from critisism and consequence, that could potentially far outlast his precidency if we're not careful:
- Delegitimizing media (attacking the media (and doing so as the president))
- Whatabautism (the practise of changing the subject to someone else's perceived wrongdoing, also an old soviet propaganda tool. The reason it is dangerous because it implies that all actions, regardless of context, share a moral equivalence, and since nobody is perfect all critisism is hypocritical and everybody should do whatever they want (and apparently they use it on Fox all the time))
- Trolling (Trump doing things that often have no effect other than to piss off his perceived enemies. If there's one thing Trump has manages to do, it's to make his enemies unhappy, which to many of his supporters counts as a victory. The surest proof of a troll is when the troll is confronted and they have to either put up of shut up, and Trump bascially just deflects and doesn't take responsibilty of what he's said)
All of these techinques already exists but now they're coming from the Oval Office, which not only legitimizes them, but risks them spreading, which they've already done. John Oliver shows a few examples of this and warns people not to let it become the standard disocurce in the US because "otherwise we're fucked".
"We should train ourselves to identify these techniques because their sole end point is the erosion of our ability to decide what's important, have an honest debate, and hold one another accountable. That erosion can be so gradual that it can be difficult to spot."
Americans should take some hope from this year's small victories, but these victories should not make you complacent since they're in no way a guarantee that the mid-terms might turn out at all well, but rather have them give you strength to keep going.
OP: Bless this show and it's excellent investigating reportage! (I think that's what it is?), anyways, this episode was really interesting to me and I thought people should see it (even though everyone is tired of talking about Tr*mp all the time). This is my second post here and this time I tried writing down a somewhat good transcript of what he says, hope this is ok.