John Oliver called out the media for relying too much on the police when reporting on crime stories, leading to a two-word phrase frequently heard in TV news segments: “the police say.”
“Yes, ‘the police say,'” Oliver said. “It’s a phrase you constantly hear from journalists. It’s up there with “this just came in,” or “back to you,” or “I apologize for the actions I took on Cinco de Mayo.”
He said that while it’s important to talk to police to cover a story, many news reports simply repeat what’s in a police press release.
And this can turn out to be a big mistake for one simple reason.
“The police lie,” he said bluntly. “And they lie a lot.”
He recapped some of the stories that have appeared only on “Last Week Tonight” over the years.
“They lie to get search warrants to do raids and to get confessions during interrogations,” he said. “And they even lie under oath, in fact, often here in New York it became known as ‘testiling.’
This means that the police’s word should be treated with “immense skepticism” by the media… and Oliver had the receipts with some real-life examples of cops offering “complete horseshit” to the media: