This Sunday, following a short summer break, John Oliver returned to Last Week Tonight with an extra dose of empathy for his flagship exposé goals. In an attempt to reach out to the numerous people who believe conspiracy theories about the coronavirus pandemic, Oliver has picked several famous actors, including Alex Trebek, to film compassionate and sensitive public service announcements about the risks of spreading false claims online.


“Jeopardy, if no-one ever answered questions! That would be a very, very, very strange show, wouldn’t it? “As part of his PSA, Trebek said a sense of empathy mirrored in recent videos featuring Paul Rudd, Catherine O’Hara, Billy Porter, and John Cena.

Before the videos were unveiled, which Oliver also released online via the https:/ website, the Last Week Tonight host carefully explained the science behind conspiracy theories and even admitted to one of his own groundless beliefs: that Princess Diana was murdered. (They didn’t.)

“Sorry, I am not safe. There’s a part of me, embarrassingly, that thinks the royal family murdered Princess Diana, “Oliver said. “I know they didn’t, because there’s absolutely no proof they did, but the thought still lingers because it was too massive an unfortunate occurrence to be. There must have been some motive there. Experts would say that the conspiracy theories are in fact a big draw. They help to explain a chaotic, uncertain world and appeal to the human impulse to what is called proportionality bias which is the tendency to assume big events must have major causes.

John Oliver : In the months after the coronavirus pandemic started crippling life across the globe, conspiracy theories about its source and spread have proliferated rapidly online, most notably with Plandemic, the short film. Yet, Oliver said, a big explanation why the public is so keen to believe false claims is that “one of the most influential hoax spreaders on Earth is the new US president.”

“He’s been spreading them all over for years, often the excuse that people are telling them and that he’s just asking questions,” Donald Trump added. “Something he did on bogus statements like Obama was born in Kenya, Antonin Scalia was assassinated, and millions of fake votes for Hillary Clinton were cast. Conspiracies are like ugly buildings and profoundly tragic adult children, because Donald Trump loves to unleash them into the world and then refuses to take responsibility for them again and again.

John Oliver : And while voicing vitriol against the president, Oliver found out that it’s always easier to use a carrot than a stick when arguing with people who believe conspiracies.

“It’s totally normal to just want to yell at them, ‘Why do you believe this nonsense, you fucking titanic idiot? “‘Oliver said, before adding,” Experts say that the most effective way to approach someone is not to shame them for believing or counter-evidentially overwhelming them. But to try to be empathetic, meet them where they are, and encourage them to think more objectively. “And who better than Alex Trebek to nudge?

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