01 May 2006

Not your monkey

The White House Correspondents' Dinner is a who's who of Washington—the President is always the guest of honour—and it's traditionally a funny, good natured roast of the President. The legendary, very funny little video "Bill Clinton: The Final Days" was made for the Dinner.

This year, they invited Stephen Colbert to speak. He's funny and does The Colbert Report, which is a goof on journalism and politics, right?

But this represents a failure to learn the lesson of Jon Stewart's super-cool appearance as a guest on Crossfire. As Atrios said about that:

[The journalists] seem under the impression that the Daily Show is a satirical take on politics and politicians. It is that, a bit, but mostly it's a parody of the news media.
Colbert's speech did not go over well. The satire was actual satire, which was a little too sharp for them. By the middle of Colbert's talk, most of the laughter had died. Kos has a transcript. Colbert went after the President ...
I stand by this man. I stand by this man because he stands for things. Not only for things, he stands on things. Things like aircraft carriers and rubble and recently flooded city squares. And that sends a strong message, that no matter what happens to America, she will always rebound—with the most powerfully staged photo ops in the world.
... but then he also went after the press ...
As excited as I am to be here with the president, I am appalled to be surrounded by the liberal media that is destroying America, with the exception of Fox News. Fox News gives you both sides of every story: the president's side, and the vice president's side.

But the rest of you, what are you thinking, reporting on NSA wiretapping or secret prisons in eastern Europe? Those things are secret for a very important reason: they're super-depressing. And if that's your goal, well, misery accomplished. Over the last five years you people were so good—over tax cuts, WMD intelligence, the effect of global warming. We Americans didn't want to know, and you had the courtesy not to try to find out. Those were good times, as far as we knew.

... and boy, there wasn't a lot of laughter in that room. Not even when Colbert showed a video of a little thriller with himself as White House Press Secretary being stalked by Helen Thomas asking him again and again, "why did we go to war with Iraq?"

YouTube has video AOL (!) has video, Peter Daou observes that you cannot expect the media to cover its own embarassment, and Shakespeare's Sister concludes some spicy comments with a well-deserved award for Mr. Colbert:

1 comment:

Kate said...

Brass balls, indeed! The man's speech was memorable. GW's lack of "sense of humor" pervaded the room. Or perhaps the "truth" hurts too much to laugh.