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John Oliver Unravels the Truth About Ads Disguised as Journalism

In this brave new world of media, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to tell the difference between actual editorial content and “native advertising” — i.e. the practice of ads being disguised to look like articles and listicles on sites like BuzzFeed. This makes John Oliver very, very angry.

Luckily, Oliver’s show is on HBO, which means he can freely tear native advertising a new one without the fear of alienating the show’s sponsors (which he quickly does to Mountain Dew Code Red). But while he acknowledges that everyone wants free journalism, journalism needs money — illustrated by a lovely comparison of Paul Krugman to a porn star — and to get the moneys, they’re willing to disguise their ads as clicky listicles and sponsored “articles.”

While executives at BuzzFeed and Time, Inc. claim that it’s a perfectly legitimate way to make money, Oliver cites a study that showed that “less than half” of readers could tell the difference between native advertising and actual news articles. “You’re like a camouflage manufacture saying, ‘Only an idiot could not tell the difference between that man and foliage.’ I mean, look — the camouflage clearly states ‘Not Foliage’ on the collar.”

“I’m sure the deer know the difference between the two things,” he added. “Deers are so smart.”

Watch below via HBO:

[Image via screenshot]

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