Back in 2014, John Oliver recruited his fans to help save the internet. Now he's asking for their help again.
The Last Week Tonight host once again addressed net neutrality in Sunday's episode, the topic which helped launch his show in its fifth episode three years ago (even Oliver admits the segment got a "weird amount of attention"). Back then, Oliver explained what was at stake in the debate over net neutrality -- the principle that Internet service providers (ISPs) should give consumers access to all legal content and applications on an equal basis, without favoring some sources or blocking others. He encouraged fans to comment on the Federal Communications Commission's website in favor of net neutrality rules -- and they went on to crash the site in the process.
Oliver is bringing it up again because, he says, "once again, net neutrality is in trouble," under the Trump administration.
"It seems that the Trump era will basically control-Z everything that happened on Obama's watch," Oliver said by way of introduction. "I genuinely would not be surprised if one night Trump went on TV just to tell us that he personally killed every turkey that Obama ever pardoned."
The host poked fun at new FCC chairman Ajit Pai, a former lawyer for Verizon, who Oliver notes likes to tweet quotes from The Big Lebowski and has a giant Reese's Peanut Butter Cups novelty mug that he uses during press conferences, and who, as Oliver showed in the clip, has said that the Obama-era net neutrality regulations' "days are numbered."
"So sadly, it seems once more we the people must take the matter into our own hands," Oliver said. "Because the FCC are again going to invite public comment on their website — and conveniently for them, the process is actually a lot more complicated this time than it was three years ago."
After describing the complicated process someone would go through to comment on the issue, Oliver helpfully mentioned that the show had created the URL "gofccyourself.com," which takes you more directly to the page to leave a comment.
“Do not tell me you do not have time to do this,” Oliver implored his fans. “If the internet is evidence of anything else, it’s evidence that we all have too much time on our hands.”
However, last week during an interview with NPR, Pai deflected the question of whether public opinion could sway the FCC to maintain the current rules. “We have to make a decision based on what is called substantial evidence. That is the aim that we have under this FCC, is to make sure that we proceed in a way that preserves the free and open Internet and preserves that incentive to invest in networks. Those are the twin goals we are going to be focused on,” he said.
Watch the full segment above.
Contributing: Mike Snider