John Oliver attends the 11th Annual Stand Up for Heroes Event in New York City in November. Photo: Bryan Bedder / Getty Images for Bob Woodruff Foundation.

John Oliver is getting ready to launch his fifth season of “Last Week Tonight” on HBO, a show that combines comedy with well-researched takes on the biggest news stories.

Why he matters: His show’s deep-dive segments on topics like corporate consolidation, net neutrality, the Sinclair-Tribune merger, the decline of local newspapers, vaccines and the Flint water crisis have triggered large public responses and even a few remarks from policymakers — although he says he's pretty sure President Trump doesn't watch the show. He answered reporters' questions in New York on Monday.

On striking a balance of Trump coverage: “There are other things happening in the world. It’s hard to remember that just because [Trump] is all consuming…. What you don’t want to do is just narrate things that he said.… You want to show in aggregate that [what he says] is actually more important than in isolation.” 

On preserving the line between comedy and journalism: “I’m not a journalist. We have people working on the show who are journalists” to get the facts right.

On cable news dominating journalism: “Just because cable news is the loudest doesn’t mean it’s the only voice. There’s lots of good stuff out there.”

On the response from the people and companies who are the subjects of his segments: “We’re in constant contact with the people we’re talking about…Lots of the time they’re not going to be happy with the conclusions that we come to, but we definitely want to make sure we agree on the underlying facts….Normally the silence is pretty complimentary…It’s fine to have a different opinion on the solution to the problem as long as you agree on the ingredients of that problem.”

On whether his show will change if AT&T succeeds in purchasing Time Warner, parent of HBO:  “I f***ing hope not. I guess it’s hard to say. I do not anticipate the ground shifting, but if it does, that will be a problem and we will go down screaming."

On how he feels about AT&T’s cellphone service: “I made it pretty clear what I think about that.”

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Updated 23 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 32,471,119 — Total deaths: 987,593 — Total recoveries: 22,374,557Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 7,032,524 — Total deaths: 203,657 — Total recoveries: 2,727,335 — Total tests: 99,483,712Map.
  3. States: "We’re not closing anything going forward": Florida fully lifts COVID restaurant restrictions — Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam tests positive for coronavirus.
  4. Health: Young people accounted for 20% of cases this summer.
  5. Business: Coronavirus has made airports happier places The expiration of Pandemic Unemployment Assistance looms.
  6. Education: Where bringing students back to school is most risky.
Mike Allen, author of AM
3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Biden pushes unity message in new TV wave

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What he's saying: The ad — which began Friday night, and is a follow-up to "Fresh Start" — draws from a Biden speech earlier in the week in Manitowoc, Wisconsin:

Trump prepares to announce Amy Coney Barrett as Supreme Court replacement

Judge Amy Coney Barrett. Photo: Matt Cashore/Notre Dame University via Reuters

President Trump is preparing to nominate federal appeals court Judge Amy Coney Barrett of Indiana, a favorite of both the social conservative base and Republican elected officials, to succeed Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Republican sources tell Axios.

Why it matters: Barrett would push the already conservative court further and harder to the right, for decades to come, on the most important issues in American politics — from abortion to the limits of presidential power. If confirmed, she would give conservatives a 6-3 majority on the high court.