Last Week Tonight‘s goal is not to merely raise awareness surrounding important issues that affect viewers; it’s to spur those viewers into action and convince them to make a difference.
The show clearly accomplished this three years ago, when Oliver poked fun at the Federal Trade Commission and directed viewers to the FCC’s website, where they were asked to share their thoughts on net neutrality. His efforts were incredibly successful; his fans almost instantly crashed the page.
NPR later reported that the FCC website received over 45,000 net neutrality comments following Oliver’s bit on Last Week Tonight. The FCC failed to directly acknowledge the fervor caused by the show, but its Twitter page did concede that there was a major slow-down.
We’ve been experiencing technical difficulties with our comment system due to heavy traffic. We’re working to resolve these issues quickly.
— The FCC (@FCC) June 2, 2014
Oliver’s efforts proved successful in 2014, but they’re even more needed now in light of recent concerns regarding the future of net neutrality. Despite his best efforts to convince the public that he’s a lovable but clueless dork intent on drinking from his weird Reese’s mug, the current FCC chief clearly has a vested interest in weakening the organization’s enforcement of net neutrality, as established under the Obama administration.
After highlighting Ajit Pai and his ridiculous mug, Oliver once again appealed to the internet and its many trolls in hopes of uniting them under the umbrella of the one issue they agree on. He offered an easy path to commenting on the FCC’s site (a process that has become infinitely more complicated since 2014): simply visit www.gofccyourself.com. It didn’t take long for his pleas to make their mark, as evidenced below:
— Sachin B. (@sachb21) May 8, 2017
John Oliver clearly knows what’s needed to get viewers out of their seats (or rather, more firmly planted in their seats) and taking action. His efforts have already made a difference, but that’s just the beginning. We’re glad he’s calling even more attention to this imperative issue, and we hope that viewers will continue to advocate for net neutrality, with or without his urging.