The Beat Of The Drumpf Is Only So Loud

Last time I checked, almost 14 million people had watched on YouTube the stunning takedown of Donald Trump from Sunday’s edition of “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.” That’s easily more than 20 times the number that watched Oliver’s brilliant show in its regular Sunday HBO time slot.

The show’s lacerating 22-minute report—which featured, among other bits of brilliance, Oliver comparing the leading candidate for the GOP presidential nomination to a likely cancerous “back mole” that America needed to excise before the whole country goes down the drain—has already been seen by more than three times the audience that usually catches up with Oliver on YouTube and other digital platforms on a weekly basis.

Up until last Sunday, Oliver has eschewed taking aim at The Donald, resisting the Trump ratings crack that has had cable news on the glass pipe for months—and that has made the candidate, especially after Super Tuesday, the odds-on favorite for the Republican nomination.



Clearly, Trump is a master media virtuoso, who has played the 24/7, bottom-line-driven, multichannel, multiplatform universe to stunning political advantage. With the GOP nomination within his tiny-fingered (Oliver’s words) grasp even before Super Tuesday, the HBO host obviously had had all he could stand. So, in a frighteningly funny manner, he presented a devastating investigative report, noting Trump’s bankruptcies, diuretic untruthiness, anti-immigrant rants and dog-whistle signals to David Duke and other racists that he felt their discriminatory pain.

Noting that Trump could be truly funny and entertaining in his takedowns of Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and others who would cross him, Oliver deftly used humor to fight humor.

Confirming that Trump had a regal name, Oliver suggested that the way to undercut The Donald’s brand was a campaign to get him to change that name back to its German origins: Drumpf. “Let’s make Donald Drumpf again,” he proclaimed, and even launched the website, pitching signature red baseball caps with the slogan #MakeDonaldDrumpfagain emblazoned on them. Meanwhile, #letsmakedonalddrumpfagain made a gleefully enormous amount of noise on Twitter.

Many in the media punditocracy have decried the fact that satirists and investigative journalists have not done nearly enough to derail Trump’s White House run. Insightful media savant Michael Hirschorn took to Facebook and speculated that if Jon Stewart hadn’t taken early retirement from “The Daily Show” with Steven Colbert also departing from the Comedy Central fold to swim in the mainstream of CBS' “Late Show,” maybe they would have used their collective chops to expose the would-be Emperor Trump.

While I miss Stewart and Colbert in their former roles, I’m not sure they would have stopped this “Washington Apprentice” reality show from becoming a massive hit. Certainly, the one-two of Stewart/Colbert did pack a mighty satiric punch that is greatly missed from the conversation, although Colbert does still land a blow for freedom now and then. Still, a lot of what they did and Colbert still does is preach to an amen chorus.

I’d argue that their British brother-in-arms Oliver has taken searing political satire to even higher, more insightful heights, thanks to his preference and his platform. He’s also better at playing the viral multiplatform game—something  Beltway politicians might want to keep in mind if they too wish to derail the Trump bandwagon.

But even with all those YouTube views, and numbers increasing daily, I don’t know if there’s a multimedia mugging that can derail Donald Drumpf from grabbing the GOP nomination—especially after watching him keep his bravado and tack to the middle in his Super Tuesday victory speech/press conference. Still, I will keep watching Oliver and his multiplatform stats, and hope for more investigative, funny truthiness to come. That mole is only gonna get bigger.

11 comments about "The Beat Of The Drumpf Is Only So Loud".
Check to receive email when comments are posted.
  1. Douglas Ferguson from College of Charleston, March 2, 2016 at 1:28 p.m.

    John Oliver is indeed brilliant. Too bad that he was on vacation during Trump's rise. Maybe the next time we have early primaries, the comedians can report back to work a little faster.  

  2. Dean Fox from ScreenTwo LLC, March 2, 2016 at 1:40 p.m.

    The John Oliver takedown of Donald J. Drumpf, and went a long way to undercut his lies and propaganda about what a great businessman he is.  I only wish his regressive and resentful supporters knew about his many business failures and ever-changing opportunistic political opinions. As the saying goes, "if you have to constantly tell people you're smart, successful or a gentleman, you're probably not!"

  3. Virginia Suhr from Lobo & Petrocine Marketing, March 2, 2016 at 1:45 p.m.

    I would love to see a debate with both parties moderated by all the comic pundits from both the left and the right side. The question is who would be funnier - the candidates or the comics?

  4. David Mountain from Marketing and Advertising Direction, March 2, 2016 at 2:21 p.m.

    Samantha Bee has also been terrific on her TBS show. I don't mind Trevor Noah, and Larry Wilmore does good work, but Comedy Central really missed the boat by not holding on to their best assets.

  5. Don Klos from KMC, March 2, 2016 at 2:34 p.m.

    Our politicians are being selected by the same people who choose to keep the Kardashians making hundreds of millions, and the Duck Dynasty people making noises. 

  6. Randall Tinfow from CLICK-VIDEO LLC replied, March 2, 2016 at 8:08 p.m.


  7. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, March 2, 2016 at 10:06 p.m.

    Wouldn't it be terrif if one of the networks would rebroadcast this show on primetime ? Yeah, we know that answer.

  8. Tim Brooks from consultant, March 3, 2016 at 12:29 p.m.

    I understand you're passionate about your beliefs, but why is this political vitriol appearing on a site that's supposed to be about media?

  9. Richard Potter from American Jewish University replied, March 3, 2016 at 1:45 p.m.

    For the most part, Tim, he's representing what others - primarily Oliver - have said. That the tone seems to be approving doesn't bring it to the level of vitriol. And that is done within a discussion of the role that satire plays in a digital, multiplatform public sphere. His argument is that although digital platforms can significantly amplfy a voice like Oliver's (by a factor of 20, to about 14 million views), he believes it won't be significant enough in this case to prevent Drumpf from winning the Republican nomination. The connection to media is clear enough for me.

  10. J. Max Robins from Center for Communication replied, March 3, 2016 at 3:44 p.m.

    I'm a firm believer that there's the news -- in this case a unique and important  White House race -- and that there's always an important story about how the media covers the news. In every national election cycle there is a great deal to be learned about how the media works.  For example, we're seeing the power of multiplatform messaging, as Richard Potter noted in his reply to you, in John Oliver's ability to reach millions of viewers beyond his HBO home base.  There's much to be learned by all in the media business from how Oliver and his savvy team tell a story and sell it.  I must say Tim,  I'm not sure what you mean by "political vitriol."  This is an opinion column/blog that I hope conveys an informed, transparent point of view. BTW: a number of people have noted Oliver's Trump takedown has been almost as popular with Republicans as it has been with those on the other side of the aisle.  I hope you keep reading Tim. Great to hear from you. 

  11. Chuck Lantz from, network, March 3, 2016 at 5:43 p.m.

    In reply to Tim Brooks:  In my opinion, this particular column is definitely all about media, very specifically the balance between how the various news and comedy media outlets are handling the recent election situation. 

    The importance of that balance has become even more important these days, now that - again, in my opinion - any real search for something close to complete truth must now include both the "real" as well as the comedic versions of current events.  The way I see it, this turn of events is the result of the legitimate news media's fairly recent reluctance to offend anyone, which naturally moves them at least slightly Right of center*, and the flexing of brand-new muscles in the equally brand-new political comedy media sphere, which has gleefully stepped-in to fill the vacuum created by the former.

    (* - I sincerely hope that this comment needs no explanation on a site devoted to media)

Next story loading loading..