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Monday, August 17, 2015

John Oliver on Televangelists

John Oliver has taken on some serious subjects on his HBO "Last Week Tonight" show, from net neutrality to payday loans to gay rights in Uganda to Dr. Oz's ridiculous science-free endorsements of nutritional supplements. Oliver infuses them with just enough comedy to make them interesting to a mainstream audience.

The big segment on his show last night was about televangelists who have gotten wealthy by preying on the desperate people who watch their TV shows and attend their disgusting faith-healing con job events. It's not only a ballsy piece of television, it's also an eerie descendant of James Randi's expose of Peter Popoff. While Oliver doesn't debunk the televangelists' faith-healing claims directly, he does focus on their greed -- their efforts (disturbingly successful) to squeeze every last dollar out of every poor believer -- and the fact that their bank accounts grow essentially tax-free because of loophole-filled vague IRS policies. It also reminds me of when Stephen Colbert exposed the laws regarding Super PACs, which permit the free flow of tens of millions of dollars in unregulated money...