On Monday’s edition of The Colbert Report, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman pitched his case for a much more massive "stimulus" of government spending. He said "Things are getting worse more slowly. We were losing, you know, we were losing 700,000 jobs a month. We’re probably now at this point going to be losing 300,000 a jobs a month." When Colbert challenged him to say something more cheerful, he unloaded on the stupid and crazy people of the Bush administration:
KRUGMAN: Let me say something positive. We do actually have people in the White House who understand this stuff. I think they’re not forceful enough, but these are not stupid people. These are not crazy people.
COLBERT: You’re saying that they understand what they did wrong, then.
KRUGMAN: They understand what the problems of the economy are. You know, as I say, they’re not stupid, they’re not crazy, which is a big improvement on previous management. [Whoops and applause]
Meghan McCain was again provided with a national outlet for her "moderate" Republican views with her appearance on "The Colbert Report" on May 18. Host Stephen Colbert said to her, "You're more liberal than President Obama. Is that how you see the future of Republican Party going?"
"I'm liberal on social issues," McCain responded
Later in the interview McCain explained her views: "All I'm trying to say is it can be a party for a 24-year-old pro-sex woman. It can be. I just think that we have people that are in this party that are hijacking it and - trying to make it more extreme."
A self described "pro-sex, pro-life and pro-gay marriage" Republican, McCain would prefer the Republican Party stray away from abstinence only education and drop its support for the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy.
"Nation, I've been so inspired by Glenn Beck's call to action that I'm launching my own democratic experiment - the 1031 project," Colbert said. "It's organized around 10 principles, 31 flavors, four seasons, ten lords a leapin' and 525,600 minutes."
Colbert continued his charade by imitating the Fox News host's sometimes emotional crying outburst he does on his shows.
Christmas is coming, which means it’s time for Comedy Central to begin besmirching the holiday. This year’s first salvo is “A Colbert Christmas,” hosted by the clueless-ultraconservative buffoon persona played by Stephen Colbert. Colbert is so busy manufacturing his O’Reillyesque right-wing jerk that it’s impossible to tell where the real man and the cartoon diverge. His adoring entourage in the secular press tries to smooth over his satires of Christianity by insisting he’s a Sunday school-teaching Catholic family man. Colbert told the Associated Press that he thinks his Christmas special is “sincerely strange, but strangely sincere.”
Why do men like this say such insincere things when promoting their shows? That claim of sincerity vanishes within the first 30 seconds, when Colbert proclaims in his white cardigan and red turtleneck that he’s so excited for his Christmas special he’s "sporting a Yule log" and gets out a baseball bat and promises to provide a "freshly hobbled Tiny Tim." I’m guessing that slogan is also ruined by the scene where he tongue-kisses a bear under the mistletoe.
New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman let his power lust just flow throughout the studio of The Colbert Report on Comedy Central on Thursday night. Promoting his book Hot, Flat, and Crowded, Friedman discussed his concept of America becoming "China for a day," so that his dream of a green revolution -- all those allegedly planet-saving taxes and regulations and product bans -- can be permanently enacted.
When Colbert lived up to his conservative character enough to insert that China has a totalitarian regime, Friedman simply replied "It is a measure of the frustration a lot of people in the green movement have – certainly me," that our democratic system (stuffed with troublesome believers in freedom of enterprise) blocks the passage of a eco-leftist agenda.
COLBERT: Now you have a concept called, you talk about "China for a day." What is China for a day?
The Pew Research Center conducted a survey to see what the audiences of the various political shows knew about politics, and what they found goes against the conventional wisdom about whose audience is better informed about current events. With a simple three-question survey about politicians in high office, it turned out that the audiences of Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity answered more questions correctly than fans of the "Colbert Report," "The Daily Show," and CNN.
The quiz asked the names of two of the world's leaders and one party in power to determine what audience is most well informed. Survey participants were asked the names of the Secretary of State, the British Prime Minister, and the name of the party currently controlling the House of Representatives.
MSNBC host and former Republican Congressman Joe Scarborough appeared on the October 8 edition of "The Colbert Report" to declare John McCain the loser and use Democratic talking points to blame his own party (or former party?) on the current economic situation. An astonished Stephen Colbert exclaimed "look at how MSNBC has changed you!" In response the employee of the Keith Olbermann and Chris "thrill up my leg" Matthews network just replied "I know. I know"
In fairness, Scarborough asserted that if Iraq and the War on Terror were the top concern, McCain would be ahead in the polls. Then taking a shot at liberal elitism he added "I know it’s hard for Manhattan and Georgetown to figure out."
In an interview in the October 3, 2008 issue of Entertainment Weekly, liberal comedian Stephen Colbert explained what an emerging critique of Barack Obama might be: "He's a hope-ronaut. He's in a rarefied level of hope where the rest of us have to take tanks up with us." Interviewer Josh Wolk skeptically replied, "Is that really a comedic take? Seems more like a compliment."
Not backing down, Colbert's Comedy Central colleague Jon Stewart made clear that this "attack" on the Democratic nominee would be different then that of the harsh jibes at Republicans: "Even if you're satirizing how wonderful they are, that hyperbole is setting them up for an expectation to fail, especially within the American political system now, where authenticity — and apparently mediocrity — are the manna that the populace feeds upon." Earlier in the piece, Stewart derided, "You 'good values people' have had the country for eight years, and done an unbelievably s---ty job. Let's find some bad values people and give them a shot, maybe they'll have a better take on it."
Not that it counts for much but who are the most influential political media figures? It's an interesting question, one that for the most part is hardly a provable assertion. How can one measure influence, after all?
You probably can't but you can at least measure how famous (or infamous) a pundit is. New York Magazine attempted to do just that by creating an index that looks at a given commentator's mentions in Google, blogs, newspapers/magazines, TV shows and then computes a "popularity score" based on the rankings for each category.
The top figure in the survey? Former Bush top aide Karl Rove with a score of 67.79. He's followed very closely by radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh with 67.35.
Liberals regularly wink and nod at the conservative audience watching Fox News and says a conservative crowd guarantees a conservative bias. Using that method of analysis, a new study suggests "The Colbert Report" on Comedy Central has a strong tilt to the left, despite its faux-conservative host Stephen Colbert. Bob Cusack reports in The Hill newspaper:
Democratic politicians enjoy a major spike in political contributions after appearing on Comedy Central’s "The Colbert Report," according to a new study.
Political scientist James Fowler of the University of California, San Diego found that Democrats receive a 40 percent increase in contributions in the month after appearing on the fake-news show. But Republicans, Fowler concludes, "essentially gain nothing," according to a release.
A New York Times article reveals that late night comics are having a hard time making jokes about Sen. Barack Obama. From the article:
What’s so funny about Barack Obama? Apparently not very much, at least not yet.
On Monday, The New Yorker magazine tried dipping its toe into broad satire involving Senator Obama with a cover image depicting the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee and his wife, Michelle, as fist-bumping, flag-burning, bin Laden-loving terrorists in the Oval Office. The response from both Democrats and Republicans was explosive.
Comedy has been no easier for the phalanx of late-night television hosts who depend on skewering political leaders for a healthy quotient of their nightly monologues. Jay Leno, David Letterman, Conan O’Brien and others have delivered a nightly stream of joke about the Republican running for president — each one a variant on the same theme: John McCain is old.
Mr. Carter explains why so little jokes about Obama:
The guest on Tuesday's episode of "The Colbert Report" was Will Smith, who had already expressed support for Barack Obama on "The Today Show" earlier this week. Colbert joked that perhaps he wants Obama to win so he can play him in a movie. The fake news anchor then goes on to make a tasteless joke about John McCain. Here's the partial transcript:
STEPHEN COLBERT: As an actor wouldn't it be more of a challenge to play John McCain for you. That would be a stretch.
WILL SMITH: That is a stretch. I can give that a shot.
STEPHEN COLBERT: That's Oscar territory because I don't know if you've heard him give speeches, he seems mentally challenged.
Comedy Central is usually the network that rips on President Bush -- including its nasty cartoon "Lil Bush." But it's not the network that tries to present equal satire on Hillary Clinton. Stephen Colbert hosted Hillary on "The Colbert Report" on Thursday night, and as he often does, he did a terrible job of even pretending to be a conservative as they portrayed Hillary as ultra-competent. Did they steal that from "Saturday Night Live?"
MRC's Melissa Lopez offers the transcript below the fold. Hot Air has the video.
STEPHEN COLBERT: "Anyway, the big news is last night's Democratic debate which took place here in Philadelphia.... What just happened? Jimmy, the rear screen is down! Where's my Liberty Bell?"
JIMMY: "Sorry, Stephen, it's just technical difficulties. We're not used to this studio."
COLBERT: "Well, get the technicians in here to figure it out!"
Stephen Colbert called it "an announcement." Chris Matthews went on the Comedy Central show last night and, responding to the host's importuning to declare his candidacy for US Senator from Pennsylvania, ultimately stated: "I want to be a senator."
Over on MSNBC, Morning Joe played a clip of their colleague's appearance, then chewed it over.
STEPHEN COLBERT: There's a lot of talk that you might be running for Arlen Specter's seat.
Eric Alterman was the latest in a long conga line of liberal authors plugging their books on Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report on Monday night. He began by confusing the audience about God. Liberals refuse to take orders from God (since he doesn’t exist, or isn’t important enough to take orders from) or the Fatherland (conservatives-are-Nazis jokes always work with the stilted studio audience). But in the next breath, Alterman was claiming Jesus for the liberal side:
ALTERMAN: To be a liberal, Stephen, just means you believe in the truth. You don't take -- you don't take orders from God. You don't take orders from the Fatherland, you don't take orders from --
COLBERT: But God is truth. Jesus said I am the way, the truth and the light [sic]. What part of that don't you understand?
ALTERMAN: Jesus was a liberal. There he is [on the Alterman book cover], right next to Willie Nelson.
Appearing on the March 12 edition of "The Colbert Report," Washington Post media critic Howard Kurtz discussed the media’s fawning coverage of Barack Obama, noting Chris Matthews famous "thrill going up my leg" comment when hearing Senator Obama. Kurtz comically stated "we don’t know how high that thrill went." Host Stephen Colbert replied "that thrill is what you call ‘the hardball.’ [see video here]
Kurtz noted the mainstream media’s excitement over Obama and felt they got a little bit tougher when "Saturday Night Live" parodied the pro-Obama bias. When Colbert noted the press probably loved to talk about the potential bias because they got to talk about themselves. Kurtz conceded "we are a very self absorbed profession."
Amy Menefee also wrote on the Kurtz interview noting that the big three networks are still relevant and opining that journalists put their "feelings aside."
Who's watching the watchers? Well, the Media Research Center, and Washington Post media critic Howard Kurtz says he's "sort of like the internal affairs cop." But just how tough is he? You can be the judge reading his column.
"We try to hold them accountable, exactly what they do to politicians - why did you do that? Why did you make that mistake? Why did you jump the gun?" said Kurtz, who's also the host of CNN's "Reliable Sources," in a March 12 appearance on "The Colbert Report." Kurtz was on to plug his new book, "Reality Show," about television news.
Host Stephen Colbert baited him: "The three big anchors still really matter, and I agree. ...Who are they, again?"
Stephen Colbert, the liberal comedian who portrays a conservative TV talk show host, recently launched a similarly fake presidential campaign. Trouble for him and his network, the fact that Colbert's PR stunt is funded by Viacom (Comedy Central) and Doritos may make it illegal:
With its snack-food sponsorship, Democratic and Republican affiliations [MS: isn't that somehow a violation of Colbert's conservative schtick?], and Sen. Larry Craig as a possible running mate, Stephen Colbert's run for the presidency is hardly serious business.
But the joke could be on Colbert if federal election officials decide his candidacy is for real. [...]
Last night on the Colbert Report, Stephen Colbert took CNN's marketing team to task, pointing out the hypocrisy of putting a "six foot square poster in each of the 2.3 million copies of today's the USA Today. That's 13.8 million square feet of ‘Planetary Peril.'" Planet in Peril a program airing next week on CNN. Colbert who could barely keep himself from laughing went on to say,
"Now the paper is recycled but hopefully that glossy ink isn't going to biodegrade anytime soon, so awareness of this threat is going to be around for centuries. Brilliant marketing CNN, you have strategically insured the planet will still be in peril by the time your special airs next week."
Correction (July 31 | 14:40): Colbert's wrist was broken. He injured it running around his studio before a show. I regret the error.
Bob Shrum, the Democratic political strategist who has only slightly fewer losses on his resume than the Philadelphia Phillies, appeared on the Colbert Report last night to tout his book, “No Excuses: Confessions of a Serial Complainer,” err, I mean, “No Excuses: Confessions of a Serial Campaigner.”
Colbert, who was pretending to be gravely hurt and wearing a fake cast on his arm, was ushered in by wheelchair. Shrum, not missing an opportunity to shill for the Democrats, quipped:
“I hope all the suffering has made you more inclined to support national health insurance, so everybody can get the same kind of risk care you do.”
Clever as ever Mr. Shrum. But that was only the beginning.
Colbert immediately turned his attention to what Shrum, the Susan Lucci of political campaigning, is best known for, losing.
A transcript of Colbert and Shrum’s conversation follows. Colbert’s show is designed as a satirical homage to Bill O’Reilly and usually makes fun of conservatives and certainly Shrum knows this. Even so, he’s dead serious about his Bush-stole-Ohio charge.
Wednesday night on "The Colbert Report," author Charles Kaiser was on the show to plug his book, The Gay Metropolis. Hoping to get the Colbert bump, Kaiser talked about how his book chronicles the history of gay culture and society in New York starting from 1940. One of his claims is that homosexuals and African Americans are “both more interesting than straight white people.” He also discussed being open with who you are or else you become like Mark Foley: “You become a congressmen who sends nasty notes to teenagers over the computer.” He lastly implies but denies that J.Edgar Hoover is gay.
Stephen Colbert constantly pointed out when Kaiser was stereotyping people, whether it is dance choreographers, white straight people or Republican congressmen. “I wish I could stereotype but I’m not allowed to. I’m not gay. I have to play by the rules you make but don’t live by,” Colbert stated after Kaiser put the label on dance choreographers being gay. Kaiser jumped into the interview trying to show how exciting and interesting minorities are compared to straight white people: