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HBO's John Oliver blasts media coverage of Freddie Gray

Satirist John Oliver took aim at media coverage of last week's unrest in Baltimore Sunday, gleefully playing clips of two national journalists interviewing hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons on the city streets.

Or at least, two clips of journalists who thought they were interviewing Russell Simmons.

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In fact, they were interviewing Baltimore native Kevin Liles, a Woodlawn High grad, music executive and founder of the Kevin Liles for a Better Baltimore Foundation.

"It has been a delicate situation handled by the media with all the deft, not-at-all racist touch that they've become known for," Oliver intoned. "Please watch as Geraldo Rivera greets someone as Russell Simmons who is absolutely not Russell Simmons."

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After showing case of mistaken identity #1, and reminding Rivera that "when African-Americans stand as one, that does not mean they're all literally the same person, " Oliver said in mock relief, "I suppose we should all be thankful that at least none of his colleagues made the same mistake."

With that, case of mistaken identity #2 was shown, with CNN reporter Brian Todd not only mistaking Liles for Simmons, but being rather insistent about it.

"I'm not sure I believe you," Todd said to a clearly bemused Liles. "We think this is Russell Simmons, Wolf."

Asked Oliver, "Why is everyone so insistent on finding Russell Simmons in the middle of this crowd?"

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Oliver then turned serious, taking note of the disparity between the bail set for the six officers charged in connection with the death of Freddie Gray – from $250,000 to $350,000 – with the $500,000 bail set for a teenager charged with smashing several car windows.

"Five hundred thousand dollars for breaking car windows!" Oliver said. "To put that in context, even Robert Durst had his bail set at just $300,000 after definitely not killing that guy in Galveston, Texas. That amount of money makes absolutely no sense! That kid's crimes were misdemeanors, he turned himself in. In fact, the only explanation for his bail being set that high is that, just like Geraldo Rivera and that guy from CNN, judges in Baltimore can't look at black people without seeing millionaire Russell Simmons."

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