Comedy Central's Stephen Colbert on Tuesday actually moderated a debate about global warming.
In fairness, it was less of a debate and more a vehicle for him to make fun of his guests Joe Bastardi of Accuweather and Brenda Ekwurzel of the Union of Concerned Scientists.
Regardless of the comedic intent on the part of the host, there were indeed some wonderful moments, in particular Bastardi pointing out that we're going to know in the next five to ten years whether there really is a connection between increasing levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and global temperatures (video follows with highlights and commentary):
Is it possible to be so wrapped up in a media culture that one could minimize a sacred religious holiday in a shoddy attempt to write a clever headline? Mediaite's Tommy Christopher and his editors seemed to have pulled this feat off.
Christopher, who has had a much-publicized run-in with Andrew Breitbart, has a new hero, former American Enterprise Institute scholar David Frum. Christopher elevated Frum to messianic status in a Good Friday April 2 post headlined "Did David Frum ‘Die' For GOP's Sins?" specifically praising the former AEI scholar for his appearance on Comedy Central's April 1 "The Colbert Report."
Unsurprisingly, the Washington Post granted editorial-page space on Saturday to leftist Jim Wallis to vent against Glenn Beck for opposing "social justice." But here's the weirdest part:
Journalists, cable and radio talk shows, and even Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert have reported on or spoofed Beck's attempt to discredit this concept.
Even the left-wing comedians have spoofed Beck? And yet, I don't recall Wallis the Outraged Christian saying anything about Colbert's Christmas special, which joked that the Christians would like to murder the ACLU in their beds, and that Christians are just like Muslims in believing in a "dark and spiteful God."
Good Morning America co-host George Stephanopoulos appeared on Tuesday’s Colbert Report and had to deal with questions about his past as a Democratic operative. Comedian Stephen Colbert bluntly explained, “You’re a Democrat, okay? You worked for the Clintons. I cannot imagine it must have been easy to sit there for the past year and watch Democrats get hammered so mercilessly by the Republicans.”
Colbert jokingly followed-up: “Did you ever want to just jump across the table to one of the Democrats and say, 'Fight back! Fight back, you fools! They’re eating you alive'”? (NewsBusters readers will know that Stephanopoulos has hardly hid his affection for Democrats since joining the show.)
Colbert even quizzed the ABC journalist as to whether taking the morning show job was simply a way for him to become anchor of World News. The comedian grilled, “Is it like, ‘Yeah, I’ll do GMA for a few years and flip the blueberry pancakes and then I get the chair?’ Is there a quid-pro-quo here with you and ABC News?” (Video below the fold - h/t Story Balloon)
The media's hate parade against the former governor of Alaska hit a disgraceful peak Monday night when comedian Stephen Colbert said on national television, "Sarah Palin is a f**king retard."
In a five minute segment bashing the former vice presidential candidate for her remarks at Saturday's National Tea Party convention, as well as her use of crib notes -- surprise! -- the Comedy Central star ended with the controversy surrounding White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel's "retard" comment.
After playing a clip of Palin telling Chris Wallace on "Fox News Sunday" that Rush Limbaugh's use of the word was acceptable because it was satire, Colbert concluded, "It is okay to call someone a retard if like Rush you clearly don't mean it" (video embedded below the fold with partial transcript, vulgarity alert):
CNN analyst Paul Begala sure likes creating what liberals call a "climate of violence." A week after insisting Barack Obama should deck Scott Brown on the basketball court – "throw him an elbow under the hoop" – he appeared on Comedy Central’s Colbert Report and joked about how Obama’s "going to clock John Boehner right in the face."
In addition to that Republican-punching vision, Begala strangely insisted that Taco Bell workers speak Spanish in talking about bipartisanship: "I say gracias to the guy at Taco Bell. That doesn't make me bilingual."
Even more strangely, Begala insisted Obama hasn’t been blaming the Republicans for the faltering economy: "The Republican economic philosophy ruined this country and this poor president inherited it and is trying to fix it."
When Colbert asked what the Democrats were going to do next, Begala offered his familiar formula of always offend, never defend:
On The Atlantic website, former Chicago Tribune Washington Bureau Chief James Warren recounted a recent liberal panel discussion at a celebration of the Second City comedy troupe in Chicago. Comedy Central host and mock-conservative Stephen Colbert insisted Glenn Beck was too impossibly stupid to satirize:
As for Glenn Beck, the panel discussed the challenge of maintaining a separation between reality and satire when so many TV pundits are simply, premeditatedly over-the-top.
"I said, 'Let's start doing some Glenn Beck stuff but in praise of Glenn Beck,'" said Colbert. "But every time we do one, he will have done something dumber. He raised the stupid bar and now it's nearly inapproachable."
"I worry that if we use that as a model....if somebody doesn't believe what they're saying, it's very hard to out-stupid them," said a decidedly analytical Colbert. "Because then there's no place to sink our hook into, there's no mountain to climb there. I can't climb Glenn Beck since there's nothing there."
Appearing as a guest on Comedy Central’s Colbert Report on Thursday, CBS News correspondent Lara Logan defended America’s continued war effort in Afghanistan, and argued that it is "crap" that some have made comparisons between Afghanistan and the Vietnam War. Logan: "You know, the ridiculous thing about all these comparisons – it’s the graveyard of empires, it’s Obama's Vietnam – it’s all that crap, right?"
Logan, who has spent years in the field covering the wars in both Afghanistan and Iraq, went on to make a strong case in favor of staying in Afghanistan and continuing the fight against Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaeda terror group because of the threat the group still poses, as she cited bin Laden's stated desire to attack America's homeland with weapons of mass destruction:
The truth is that when the Vietnam War ended, the Viet Cong didn't follow the U.S. back home. And that's the big difference. You don't have to listen to one President or another President. It's not political. Listen to bin Laden. Go and read what he has said: We will follow the United States, we will attack the homeland again, we will use nuclear weapons, we will use biological warfare. I mean, it's very simple. Everything al-Qaeda has ever said they were going to do before, they've done. There is no reason to doubt his intentions.
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.