Sunday, April 30, 2006

Colbert KO's Bush

The White House Correspondents Dinner, where politicians, journalists and entertainers safely mock themselves in front of...each other, has always seemed toothless to me. That is, until I read the transcript (and watched some video) of Stephen Colbert's performance this year. (Here's the transcript, which includes a link to the pretty long video; it's faster to just read it, and I didn't get much more out of seeing it.) I doubt Colbert thought that his fake on-air persona (patterned after Bill O'Reilly) would really allow him to pass off these criticisms as jokes, so this took some guts. The video and reports from those who were there suggest the powers that be weren't pleased. Good.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is there anything sillier than the press's adoration of Colbert's criticism that they're too deferential to Bush? Are you kidding me?

Quick -- Is unemployment higher or lower than during Clinton's re-election campaign? (Answer -- lower: Clinton 5.1%; Bush 4.7%) Is the stock market up or down from Clinton's tenure? (Answer -- the Dow is on the verge of breaking its all-time high, set in 2000) Is the economy growing or shrinking? (Answer -- the GDP grew by 4.8% last quarter) Are crime rates up or down? (Answer -- down) Etc.

I think Colbert is hilarious. I thought he was the funniest thing about the Daily Show. And there's certainly plenty to criticize about Bush. But I think I can do without him lecturing me on the Bush tax cuts and Iraq. And if there's a quick way to lose credibility, saying that the media is too liberal is probably right up there with "the moon is made of green cheese" and "Kirstie Allie looks really good."

-- Comish

6:34 PM  
Blogger JMW said...

But surely you realize, Comish, that "the media is too liberal" is the opposite of what Colbert is saying. But leaving that aside, I can find room for agreement with you. I think partisan hatred is just a completely entangled part of our judgment now, which is unfortunate. I know this, because some in New York were comparing Bush to Hitler before he even took office, and many in Texas hated Clinton regardless of how the country was doing or even how moderate he was. Silliness. That said, this second term's been a doozy. I'm glad the economy's relatively strong and crime is down, but those are continuations of fairly mid- to long-term trends. Bush's stances on issues that make headlines -- education (evolution/ID), torture, those he's appointed (or tried to appoint) to positions of power -- have been either disingenuous or dumb. And I'm a pretty 9/11-influenced supporter of drastic changes to our role in the world, so I've been pretty open to being inspired by rhetoric, but Bush hasn't exactly gotten to me on that level.

11:01 PM  
Blogger JMW said...

Also, the press hasn't been adoring. Bloggers have gone kind of nuts about it, but seems the media has largely ignored it. (Not that they shouldn't; it's still just the correspondents dinner, no matter how inflammatory.)

11:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I went back and rewatched portions of the video today, and I think you're right. I don't know what my problem was yesterday. I'm an idiot. Colbert is funny. The media did not embrace his criticism (if anything, it mostly seems to have been greeted with stony silence). I do think one of his jokes relied on the assumption that the media was giving him too much of a break, but it was a joke. I need to get over myself.

-- Comish

3:48 PM  

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