David C. Chavern, the CEO of the Newspaper Association of America. Image Source: AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili

The president and CEO of the Newspaper Association of America (NAA) David Chavern issued an official press release earlier this Monday, August 8, voicing his views on the journalism piece featured on last Sunday’s episode of “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver”.

Chavern stated that he was initially pleased with the segment since he found it to be accurate on the account of local newspapers and print reporters being the cornerstone for all other media. However, he also voiced his concerns about John Oliver’s take on the issue of modern digital media.

The NAA’s CEO seemed to take personal offense at the spot’s approach, as he stated that rather than just joking about the issue, the host of the show should have contributed to the solution of the problem.

Chavern’s press release contrasts several pieces by different media outlets, which mostly praise the 19-minute segment for exposing an issue that could eventually affect the core mechanics of media content and publishing even further.

“He spends most of the piece making fun of publishers who are just trying to figure it out,” Chavern said, further categorizing Oliver’s perspective as “pointless, and ultimately harmful.”

‘Last Week Tonight’ turns the spotlight to the journalism industry

‘Last Week Tonight’ is an HBO late-night show characterized by its satirical approach towards news, current topics, and other themes. Last Sunday’s episode was no different, as the British comedian John Oliver hosted the show as usual and featured his signature long-format segment.

The former Daily Show correspondent is aware that he and his show are by no means a serious news show or a legitimate source for anything other than entertainment. He even said so at one point during the “Journalism” piece, recognizing and picking fun at the media reports that refer to them as such.

However, this self-awareness has granted him and the show’s staff the ability to cover the stories and subjects that they deem interesting or newsworthy. Needless to say, the state of the journalism industry has not been the first polemic theme choosing since the beginning of the show, and it probably won’t be the last either.

A short history of controversy

Among the pieces by John Oliver that have sparked heated discussion online and among the media are several ones ranging from Donald Trump to nutritional supplements. Most notably, the Jon Stewart collaborator has brought attention to issues like the lottery system in America, student debt, net neutrality, and the refugee crisis.

Moreover, in recent months he addressed the elephant in the room once it became almost imminent that Donald Trump would become the presidential candidate for the Republican Party. The video of the segment is now the most viewed on the show’s official YouTube channel, inspiring reactions even from Trump himself.

Source: Newspaper Association of America


  1. boo – hoo David Chevern. John Oliver’s piece was accurate and was a comment on the state of the “news” vs. profit. Oliver did nothing less than highlight the current lack of substance in the news.