John Oliver on Civil Asset Forfeiture

John Oliver did a long segment about civil asset forfeiture, something I’ve been railing against for a long time. He’s really proving to be a terrific journalist along with being a brilliant comedian. Video below the fold.


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  • Mr Ed

    How come our best journalist are comedians?

  • vilstef

    A better question would be why are our worst comedians politicians?

  • corporal klinger


    Spot on!

  • pocketnerd

    Thus Spake ZaraMr Ed, #1:

    How come our best journalist are comedians?

    Because the corporate media is entirely profit-driven, so important news must take a backseat to sensationalism. Who cares about police abuses when NORTH KOREA, EBOLA and MUSLIMS?

    Making it funny is the only way you can get real news on the air — and then only for them snooty cable-havin’ Obama-lovin’ Iv’ry tower eggheads.

  • dingojack

    pocketnerd – “Making it funny is the only way you can get real news on the air — and then only for them snooty cable-havin’ Obama-lovin’ Iv’ry tower eggheads”

    That not entirely correct, the Right tries to do comedy as well — they just happen to really, really suck at it.


  • ArtK

    @ pocketnerd

    I think that it’s a bit more than that. A good comedian must be a keen observer. They have to see through the BS in order to make fun of it. They also aren’t held to the (wrong-headed) “fair and balanced” requirement for modern journalists. They’re able to poke fun where a journalist would have someone whining “you’re not being fair to them.”

    As an example, take coverage of the vaccine “controversy.” I’m sure that we still see articles that either state or imply that there is something to the anti-vax side. A comedian can say “Jenny McCarthy is a moron” and get away with it; a journalist may have a much harder time doing that.

  • eric

    How come our best journalist are comedians?

    The jester can often get away with saying things about the king that none of the courtiers would dare say.

    A pretty clear and obvious example (IMO) of this is Stephen Colbert’s “better know a district.” Conservative politicians will consent to an interview with him, when they probably wouldn’t allow a “serious” liberal journalist to interview their dog. The political rule of “say something bad about me, and you won’t be invited to cover me anymore” doesn’t seem to apply to comedians. So they can be more honest and upfront about the people they cover.

  • Daniel Schealler

    @Mr Ed

    How come our best journalist are comedians?

    Because the goal of satire and the duty of journalism are the same: To comfort the afflicted by afflicting the comfortable.

    The problem is that so much of what passes in ‘journalism’ in America is so intensely politicized that it can’t function as journalism any more – it becomes propaganda.

  • Dark Jaguar

    With Colbert and the two Jons, we’ve got this stuff covered. They’re great. I actually had no idea about this civil forfeiture thing. I can understand the original reasoning, and can actually support it in some very limited cases (I think it’s probably okay to take a cache of guns someone was carrying around in a duffle bag at a sporting event). However, there’s GOT to be oversight. There’s got to be some clear and obvious reason why the items in question are going to be used in some illegal crime, and grabbing furniture, cash, and basically whatever an officer fancies isn’t it. At the very minimum, at the absolute least, cops shouldn’t be able to keep ANY of what they get from these things, at all, under any circumstances except as evidence locked away and unusable.

    … Oh it’s such a shame Colbert is leaving his show. I can’t imagine that he’s going to be confronting many social issues on something as plain and/or jane as the Tonight Show (or whatever one he’s taking over, they all basically have the same name so I can’t even keep them straight).

  • dingojack

    “…Where be your gibes now? your gambols? your songs? your flashes of merriment, that were wont to set the table on a roar? …”


  • Dan Robinson

    As I recall it was Reagan who brought this crap to us during the massively racist crack scare of the 80’s.

    Tell me again what republicans say about freedom?

  • D. C. Sessions

    Tell me again what republicans say about freedom?

    Law! Order! Dirty fucking hippies! Crack-smoking niggers jazz musicians!