On Sunday’s episode of “Last Week Tonight,” John Oliver tackled two topics: the Republican National Convention and Kenosha, Wisconsin.
In the segment, Oliver argued that the rhetoric of the “conservative media ecosystem,” exemplified by speakers at this week’s RNC and described by Oliver as a “steady diet of barely disguised racial panic,” was directly connected to the actions of 17-year-old Jacob Rittenhouse, who was arrested and charged with first-degree intentional homicide after allegedly shooting and killing two people during protests in Kenosha.
The host zeroed in on remarks at the RNC by Mark and Patricia McCloskey, a Missouri couple who gained notoriety by aiming guns at Black Lives Matter protesters in front of their St. Louis home.
“They want to abolish the suburbs altogether by ending single-family home zoning,” Patricia McCloskey said during the RNC. “This forced rezoning would bring crime, lawlessness, and low-quality apartments into now-thriving suburban neighborhoods.”
Oliver, who noted that as St. Louis residents, the McCloskeys themselves are not suburbanites, drew a comparison between McCloskey’s words and the actions of Rittenhouse, who illegally carried a firearm across state lines from his home in Illinois to the Kenosha protests.
“I don’t know if [Rittenhouse] saw the McCloskeys speak the night before he drove to a city he didn’t live in to defend property he didn’t own,” said Oliver. “What I do know is he was an avid Trump supporter, even sitting front row at a rally back in January, and Trump and his media ecosystem have been delivering essentially the same message as the McCloskeys for years now.”
Oliver then brought up a clip of Tucker Carlson, who suggested on his show that Rittenhouse’s actions were an unsurprising result of “looting and arson” being met with no consequences by law enforcement.
“How shocked are we that 17-year-olds with rifles decided they had to maintain order when no one else would?” Carlson said during the segment.
“Well, you don’t seem to be shocked, and that alone should actually be pretty f****** shocking,” Oliver responded. “Because let’s be clear, a 17-year-old vigilante with a rifle cannot maintain order because a 17-year-old with a rifle trying to maintain order is himself the definition of disorder. Except, of course, if you’re a regular viewer of Tucker Carlson, a show that exists to teach its viewers precisely three things: Property damage is violence, homicide is order, and pillows are for sale.”
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