Investigating Investigative Journalism

  • Aired:  01/14/13
  •  | Views: 145,132

John Oliver discovers that pretend news is the media's sole remaining home for intrepid investigative journalists. (6:02)

( CHEERS AND APPLAUSE )

>> Jon: WELCOME BACK.

INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM.

WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THAT?

JOHN OLIVER INVESTIGATES IN HIS NEW INVESTIGATION, INVESTIGATING INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM

>> Reporter: IN THE POST 9/11 WORLD I VITALLY IMPORTANT THAT AMERICANS ARE EDUCATED ABOUT

WHAT'S HAPPENING OVERSEAS.

THAT'S WHAT MAKES REPORTERS LIKE CNN'S INDISPENSABLE.

A NAVY SEAL RESERVIST HAS TRACKED PIRATES OFF THE COAST OF INDONESIA, CRAWLED THROUGH DRUG

TUNNELS IN MEXICO AND JOURNEYED TO WHEREVER THE [BLEEP] THIS IS

>> IF YOU WANT TO KNOW WHAT'S GOING ON IN THE WORLD, YOU ACTUALLY HAVE TO GET OUT INTO

THE WORLD.

YOU CAN'T DO IT FROM BEHIND A DESK.

>> Reporter: WHAT HAVE YOU GOT COMING UP NEXT?

>> WEST AFRICA.

YOU HAVE AN ENTIRE GOVERNMENT THAT'S EFFECTIVELY BEING RUN BY DRUG CARTELS FROM SOUTH AMERICA

>> Reporter: YOU CAN LOOK FORWARD TO THAT STORY AIRING ON CNN VERY SOON.

>> I'M NOT WORKING AT CNN ANYMORE.

CNN ELIMINATED ITS ENTIRE INVESTIGATIVE UNIT

>> Reporter: WHAT?

THEY'VE ELIMINATED THE DEPARTMENT THAT I WAS WORKING FOR WHERE I WAS DOING THOSE

INTERNATIONAL INVESTIGATIVE REPORTS

>> Reporter: CNN, THE WORLDWIDE LEADER IN NEWS, HAS ELIMINATED ITS INVESTIGATIVE NEWS DEPARTMENT?

>> YES.

Reporter: I'M JUST LETTING THAT SINK IN A SECOND.

IT'S TAKING A WHILE.

IT'S JUST GOING IN.

HOLY [BLEEP].

YET LAST SPRING CNN DISMISSED ALMOST THEIR ENTIRE SPECIAL INVESTIGATIVE DOCUMENTARY

DOCUMENTARY UNIT.

I SPOKE TO PROFESSIONAL MEDIA ANALYST BRAD ATGATE WHO OFFERS IN FAVOR OF TALKING HEADS OVER

BOOTS ON THE GROUND REPORTING CNN IS FINALLY RAISING ITSELF UP TO MEET THE LOW STANDARDS OF ITS

COMPETITORS

>> SAD TO SAY INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM IS ON THE WAY OUT.

IT'S USUALLY THE FIRST ONE TO GO BECAUSE IT'S NOT A PROFIT CENTER

>> Reporter: LET'S SAY I KNEW AN INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALIST DOING AN INVESTIGATION ON A HAVEN FOR

DRUG SMUGGLING.

DOES THAT SOUND INTERESTING?

>> NO.

Reporter: THAT DOESN'T SOUND LIKE AN INTERESTING STORY

>> YOU COULD STAY IN THE UNITED STATES AND DO THAT

>> Reporter: RIGHT.

BUT IT'S A GOOD STORY, BRAD

>> YEAH, BUT, YOU KNOW, THERE ARE A LOT OF GOOD STORIES OUT THERE THAT WE'LL NEVER KNOW.

>> Reporter: WE'LL NEVER KNOW BECAUSE PEOPLE LIKE YOU SAY THEY'RE NOT PROFITABLE.

>> EXACTLY.

Reporter: BECAUSE YOU'RE SAYING EXACTLY LIKE THAT'S A GOOD THING

>> YEAH.

BUT WE DON'T HAVE TO FLY TO SOME REMOTE LOCATION, YOU KNOW, TO INTERVIEW SOMEONE.

YOU CAN JUST SIT AND YOU SKYPE AND SAVE MONEY THAT WAY.

>> Reporter: BUT, BRAD, I DON'T KNOW HOW MANY CHILD SOLDIERS IN SIERRA LEONE YOU SKYPE

>> TRAVELING AROUND THE WORLD FOR INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM, THOSE DAYS ARE GONE.

IT'S JUST TOO COSTLY

>> Reporter: IT'S TRUE.

SPENDING THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS ON AN INVESTIGATION IN AFRICA IS WAY TOO EXPENSIVE.

ESPECIALLY WHEN YOU'RE ALREADY SPENDING THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS ON VITAL REPORTING TOOLS LIKE

HOLOGRAM JOURNALISTS.

>> JESSICA YELLIN WORKS AT CNN.

WHY DO THEY NEED A HOLOGRAM OF HER?

>> Reporter: THAT WAS THE STUPIDEST QUESTION I'VE EVER HEARD.

BECAUSE THE HOLOGRAM IS COOLER.

LOOK AT YOU RIGHT NOW.

ARE YOU A HOLOGRAM?

>> OH, NO.

Reporter: YOU'RE A REAL REPORTER.

THAT'S MUCH LESS GOOD.

IT SEEMS THERE'S NO PLACE FOR HIM IN THIS MODERN NEWS LANDSCAPE.

TODAY HE SUPPLEMENTS HIS INCOME AS A TRAINER WAITING FOR THE OPPORTUNITY TO WORK WITH ANOTHER

NEWS ORGANIZATION.

>> I ACTUALLY HAVE AN EXTRAORDINARY JOB

>> Reporter: THAT'S GREAT.

WHERE IS THAT?

>> I WORK AT NEWS ROOM Reporter: WHICH ONE?

THE NEWS ROOM.

THE HBO SHOW ABOUT THE NEWS INDUSTRY.

AND I PITCH THEM IDEAS ABOUT INVESTIGATIVE STORIES.

AND THEN THEY TAKE THOSE REAL-WORLD IDEAS AND THEY INJECT THEM INTO THE PLOT LINES OF THE SHOW.

>> Reporter: NO, NO, NO.

THIS CAN'T BE RIGHT.

PLEASE TELL ME THAT THE ONLY NEWS ROOM HIRING PEOPLE LIKE HIM IS NOT A PRETEND ONE.

EXCUSE ME.

>> WHO THE HELL ARE YOU?

Reporter: SORRY TO INTERRUPT BUT I HAVE TO CHECK SOMETHING.

DO YOU KNOW WHO THIS IS IN

>> HE WORKS HERE Reporter: REALLY?

I HAVE A FOLLOW-UP QUESTION THEN.

ARE YOU REAL?

BECAUSE I REALLY NEED YOU TO BE REAL.

>> ARE YOU ALL RIGHT?

NOT REALLY Reporter: EXECUTIVE PRODUCER McKENZIE, RIGHT?

>> NO, I'M EMILY.

THAT'S TRUE.

SHE WAS IN SHUTTER ISLAND

>> Reporter: SHUT UP THIS IS STAGE 7.

IT'S THE SET.

LOOK UP.

THERE'S NO CEILING.

>> Reporter: THERE IS NO WAY I'M LOOKING UP THERE.

OUR NEWS IS FROM A YEAR AGO.

LOOK AT THE MONITORS.

ROMNEY LOSING GROUND TO SANTORUM.

HOLY [BLEEP].

THAT IS DEPRESSING.

LOOK, BEFORE WE LEAVE, WOULD YOU MIND DOING AN INSPIRATIONAL SORT OF SPEECH OVER SOARING MUSIC

JUST TO MAKE ME FEEL LIKE THERE'S AT LEAST SOME HOPE.

>> SURE.

JUST BECAUSE NEWS NIGHT ISN'T REAL DOESN'T MEAN IT CAN'T BE.

TELEVISION NEWS IS A STRUGGLE BETWEEN REPORTERS WHO SEE JOURNALISM AS A SACRED BLESSING

AND A CORPORATE CULTURE THAT EXPLOITS THE WORST IN HUMAN NATURE, DUMBS DOWN THE NATIONAL CONVERSATION.

BUT IF YOU KEEP DOING WHAT YOU'RE DOING, IT WON'T MATTER IF YOU'RE ON CNN, FOX OR YOU-TUBE,

PEOPLE WILL FIND YOU.

>> Reporter: WOW.

WOULD YOU MIND GIVING ME A HUG?

>> GET OUT.

YOU CAN LEAVE THROUGH THE OPEN SPACE WHERE THERE'S SUPPOSED TO BE A WALL.

>> Reporter: MAKES SENSE.

LET'S GO.

DON'T WORRY, AMERICA.

IN THE FICTIONAL WORLD INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM IS ALIVE AND WELL.

IT'S ONLY IN THE REAL WORLD WHERE IT'S COMPLETELY [BLEEP].

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