Off Topic Messages

Colbert Lampoons Bush at Correspondents Dinner

Tue May 02, 2006 7:35 pm

Did anyone see this? Colbert is hilarious.



Colbert Lampoons Bush at White House Correspondents Dinner -- President Not Amused?

By E&P Staff

Published: April 29, 2006 11:40 PM ET updated Sunday

WASHINGTON A blistering comedy “tribute” to President Bush by Comedy Central’s faux talk-show host Stephen Colbert at the White House Correspondent Dinner Saturday night left George and Laura Bush unsmiling at its close.

Earlier, the president had delivered his talk to the 2,700 attendees, including many celebrities and top officials, with the help of a Bush impersonator.

Colbert, who spoke in the guise of his talk-show character, who ostensibly supports the president strongly, urged Bush to ignore his low approval ratings, saying they were based on reality, “and reality has a well-known liberal bias.”

He attacked those in the press who claim that the shake-up at the White House was merely re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. “This administration is soaring, not sinking,” he said. “If anything, they are re-arranging the deck chairs on the Hindenburg.”

Colbert told Bush he could end the problem of protests by retired generals by refusing to let them retire. He compared Bush to Rocky Balboa in the “Rocky” movies, always getting punched in the face — “and Apollo Creed is everything else in the world.”

Turning to the war, he declared, "I believe that the government that governs best is a government that governs least, and by these standards we have set up a fabulous government in Iraq."

He noted former Ambassador Joseph Wilson in the crowd, just three tables away from Karl Rove, and that he had brought " Valerie Plame." Then, worried that he had named her, he corrected himself, as Bush aides might do, "Uh, I mean ... he brought Joseph Wilson's wife." He might have "dodged the bullet," he said, as prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald wasn't there.

Colbert also made biting cracks about missing WMDs, “photo ops” on aircraft carriers and at hurricane disasters, melting glaciers and Vice President Cheney shooting people in the face. He advised the crowd, "if anybody needs anything at their tables, speak slowly and clearly into your table numbers and somebody from the N.S.A. will be right over with a cocktail. "

Observing that Bush sticks to his principles, he said, "When the president decides something on Monday, he still believes it on Wednesday -- no matter what happened Tuesday."

Also lampooning the press, Colbert complained that he was “surrounded by the liberal media who are destroying this country, except for Fox News. Fox believes in presenting both sides of the story — the president’s side and the vice president’s side." In another slap at the news channel, he said: "I give people the truth, unfiltered by rational argument. I call it the No Fact Zone. Fox News, I own the copyright on that term."

He also reflected on the alleged good old days for the president, when the media was still swallowing the WMD story.

Addressing the reporters, he said, "Let's review the rules. Here's how it works. The president makes decisions, he’s the decider. The press secretary announces those decisions, and you people of the press type those decisions down. Make, announce, type. Put them through a spell check and go home. Get to know your family again. Make love to your wife. Write that novel you got kicking around in your head. You know, the one about the intrepid Washington reporter with the courage to stand up to the administration. You know -- fiction."

He claimed that the Secret Service name for Bush's new press secretary is "Snow Job."

Colbert closed his routine with a video fantasy where he gets to be White House Press Secretary, complete with a special “Gannon” button on his podium. By the end, he had to run from Helen Thomas and her questions about why the U.S. really invaded Iraq and killed all those people.

As Colbert walked from the podium, when it was over, the president and First Lady gave him quick nods, unsmiling. The president shook his hand and tapped his elbow, and left immediately.

Those seated near Bush told E&P's Joe Strupp, who was elsewhere in the room, that Bush had quickly turned from an amused guest to an obviously offended target as Colbert’s comments brought up his low approval ratings and problems in Iraq.

Several veterans of past dinners, who requested anonymity, said the presentation was more directed at attacking the president than in the past. Several said previous hosts, like Jay Leno, equally slammed both the White House and the press corps.

“This was anti-Bush,” said one attendee. “Usually they go back and forth between us and him.” Another noted that Bush quickly turned unhappy. “You could see he stopped smiling about halfway through Colbert,” he reported.

After the gathering, Snow, while nursing a Heineken outside the Chicago Tribune reception, declined to comment on Colbert. “I’m not doing entertainment reviews,” he said. “I thought the president was great, though.”

Strupp, in the crowd during the Colbert routine, had observed that quite a few sitting near him looked a little uncomfortable at times, perhaps feeling the material was a little too biting -- or too much speaking "truthiness" (Colbert's made-up word) to power.

Asked by E&P after it was over if he thought he'd been too harsh, Colbert said, "Not at all." Was he trying to make a point politically or just get laughs? "Just for laughs," he said. He said he did not pull any material for being too strong, just for time reasons. (He later said the president told him "good job" when he walked off.)

Helen Thomas told Strupp her segment with Colbert was "just for fun."

In its report on the affair, USA Today asserted that some in the crowd cracked up over Colbert but others were "bewildered." Wolf Blitzer of CNN said he thought Colbert was funny and "a little on the edge."

Earlier, the president had addressed the crowd with a Bush impersonator alongside, with the faux-Bush speaking precisely and the real Bush deliberately mispronouncing words, such as the inevitable "nuclear." At the close, Bush called the imposter "a fine talent. In fact, he did all my debates with Senator Kerry." The routine went over well with this particular crowd -- better than did Colbert's, in fact, for whatever reason.

Among attendees at the black tie event: Morgan Fairchild, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, Justice Antonin Scalia, George Clooney, and Jeff "Skunk" Baxter of the Doobie Brothers -- in a kilt.

E&P Staff ( ...

Find this article at: ... 1002425363

© 2006 VNU eMedia Inc. All rights reserved.

Tue May 02, 2006 7:41 pm

We had a snatch of Bush alongside the impersonator on our news !

Had to look twice to see which was which !

Tue May 02, 2006 7:57 pm

I seen bits and pieces of it, great stuff!

Tue May 02, 2006 8:27 pm

Here's a video link:

Tue May 02, 2006 8:55 pm

I love Presidential humor regardless of party affiliation, but honestly, I didn't find Colbert to be all that amusing. The Bush impersonator, on the other hand, has always been quite a trip to watch. Side-by-side was an extra special treat...

Tue May 02, 2006 9:07 pm

ColinB wrote:We had a snatch of Bush alongside the impersonator on our news ! Had to look twice to see which was which !

Complete version.

Check Related Videos for Colbert.

Did the idea come from The Dean Martin Celebrity Roast?

Tue May 02, 2006 10:36 pm

Colbert wasn't funny.

Wrong again, Doc.

But that ugly old newslady who participated in the "video" chase was hilarious.

Tue May 02, 2006 11:04 pm

Go get 'em Stephen. Jon Stewart tapped into why some of the material didn't go over that well with the crowd. "He thought they hired him to do what he does every day on television." Silly Stephen. Next time do some cheap wife jokes and vague cracks at other countrys and some jokes about the president's choice in clothes.

Tue May 02, 2006 11:28 pm

Melanie wrote:Complete version.

Thanks !

Tue May 02, 2006 11:44 pm

I was flipping through the channels and came across it and ended up really enjoying most of Colbert's comments, and I normally don't find him that good but perhaps I was too quick to judge. He really stayed in character and given the lapdogs in the audience, it was good he was the "fly in the soup."

On one hand, it seemed Colbert's comments were "too rude" (certainly a bit below the belt) in front of a sitting U.S. President, but then he really did stick it to him - and them. We need that sometimes.

I was laughing and I can't deny it. Given the state of things, I'd say he has it coming.

I just watched one of the Youtube versions and have to say it was quite a rip!

Wed May 03, 2006 7:27 pm

Interesting commentary on the Colbert "attack" on Bush:

The Colbert Blackout

By Dan Froomkin
Special to
Tuesday, May 2, 2006; 1:21 PM ... 55_pf.html

The traditional media's first reaction to satirist Stephen Colbert's uncomfortably harsh mockery of President Bush and the press corps at Saturday night's White House Correspondents Association dinner was largely to ignore it.

Instead, the coverage primarily focused on the much safer, self-deprecatory routine in which Bush humorously paired up with an impersonator playing his inner self.

The result, however, was a wave of indignation from the liberal side of the blogosphere over what some considered a willful disregard of the bigger story: That a captive, peevish president (and his media lapdogs) actually had to sit and listen as someone explained to them what they had done wrong; that the Bush Bubble was forcibly violated, right there on national television.

Now the mainstream media is back with its second reaction: Colbert just wasn't funny.

Yes, it turns out Colbert has brought the White House and its press corps together at long last, creating a sense of solidarity rooted in something they have in common: Neither of them like being criticized.

See yesterday's column for more about the Colbert and Bush performances. YouTube has the video and Daily Kos has the transcript of Colbert's speech.

The Second Wave

Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts write in The Washington Post's gossip column: "The reviews from the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner are in, and the consensus is that President Bush and Bush impersonator Steve Bridges stole Saturday's show -- and Comedy Central host Stephen Colbert's cutting satire fell flat because he ignored the cardinal rule of Washington humor: Make fun of yourself, not the other guy.

" 'You have to have a great deal of confidence to do self-deprecating humor, especially when you're being attacked day in and day out,' said Landon Parvin, who helped Bush and Bridges write the jokes contrasting Bush's public voice with his supposed inner thoughts."

It's not entirely clear from whom, besides Bush's own joke-writer, Argetsinger and Roberts divined what they described as the consensus view. But it's a safe bet that, at a minimum, they were speaking for The Washington Post newsroom.

Paul Bedard writes for U.S. News: "Comedy Central star Stephen Colbert's biting routine at the White House Correspondents Association dinner won a rare silent protest from Bush aides and supporters Saturday when several independently left before he finished.

" 'Colbert crossed the line,' said one top Bush aide, who rushed out of the hotel as soon as Colbert finished. Another said that the president was visibly angered by the sharp lines that kept coming.

" 'I've been there before, and I can see that he is [angry],' said a former top aide. 'He's got that look that he's ready to blow.'

"Colbert's routine was similar to what he does on his show, the Colbert Report, but much longer on the topic of Bush, suggesting that the president is out of touch with reality. Aides and reporters, however, said that it did not overshadow Bush's own funny routine, which featured an impersonator who told the audience what Bush was thinking when he spoke dull speech lines."

On MSNBC, Keith Olbermann asked Washington Post political columnist Dana Milbank if Colbert crossed the line.

Milbank: "I don't think he really crossed the line. I just think he wasn't terribly funny. And he had the misfortune of following Bush, who actually did put on one of the better performances of his presidency."

He added: "The president's used to getting abused. He didn't get anything worse than he got at Coretta Scott King's funeral, which was certainly a bit more outlandish than this. So I think he probably comes out ahead in this whole thing."

CNN and Washington Post media critic Howard Kurtz mocks the outraged liberals: "What's more, you may be interested to know that there's a MEDIA COVERUP of the Colbert performance. The MSM don't want you to know about how the Comedy Central man made them look bad! (Never mind that the thing was carried on C-SPAN and the video is widely available online. I played two clips of Colbert on my CNN show, so apparently I didn't get the memo.)"

Frank James writes in the Chicago Tribune's Washington blog: "I sensed a lot of uneasiness in the audience during Colbert's routine. It would make Republican partisans uneasy for obvious reasons.

"But I also had the sense that Colbert's toughness on Bush made people squirm because it raised that age-old question that goes back to the republic's start. How do you criticize the president without disrespecting the presidency?"

Scott Collins writes in his Los Angeles Times column: "[O]verall, the routine could've used some judicious editing; watch the performance again and you'll see that Colbert never really builds to any high point. It's just a hodgepodge of hit-or-miss gags."

But Collins also suggests that coverage of the night should have given ample play to both Colbert and Bush's performance. And he writes: "The crowd included many of the same people who've built Colbert up into the hottest thing to hit the Beltway since Karl Rove. Now he comes and pokes fun of them and most of them sat there in their finery looking stone-faced and glum. Did they find Colbert's routine as messy as I did? Maybe. But it seems a lot more likely that the D.C. journos are proving humor-impaired when anyone points out their performance in the run-up to the Iraq war. Hey, you invited Colbert. If you don't want to yuk it up, do a raffle."

Noam Scheiber writes in the New Republic: "My sense is that the blogosphere response is more evidence of a new Stalinist aesthetic on the left -- until recently more common on the right -- wherein the political content of a performance or work of art is actually more important than its entertainment value."

Greg Mitchell at Editor and Publisher points out that in 2004, journalists howled in laughter as Bush, at the Radio and Television Correspondents Association, poked fun at his inability to find the weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

Over at Comedy Central

Lisa de Moraes writes in The Washington Post: "Comedy Central's faux news show host Stephen Colbert stupidly delivered a stingingly satirical speech about President Bush and those who cover him at Saturday's White House Correspondents' Association Dinner because 'he was under the impression they had hired him to do the thing he does on TV every night,' Jon Stewart quipped last night on his 'Daily Show.'

"At this annual black-tie dinner, Stewart explained to his viewers, the White House and the correspondents who cover it 'consummate their loveless marriage.' . . .

"Colbert called it 'the greatest weekend of my entire life.' What some reported as a tepid reception to his patter was actually 'very respectful silence,' Colbert joked on his show last night. 'The crowd practically carried me out on their shoulders' -- albeit before he was ready to leave, he added."

Stewart also said he had "never been prouder" of Colbert, for delivering what he called "a 20 minute keynote address that I can only describe as balls-alicious."

When Colbert made his regular appearance on Stewart's show to promote his own, Stewart congratulated him on an "amazing weekend."

Colbert: "Thank you, Jon, I'm sure are you talking about all the weight I lost."

Stewart: "Is that because you had to run from Washington?"

Colbert: "It's like an ultramarathon, about 250 miles. In wing tips."

More From The Web

Playwright Chris Durang writes for "The media's ignoring Colbert's effect at the White House Correspondents Dinner is a very clear example of what others have called the media's penchant for buying into the conservative/rightwing 'narrative.'

"In this instance, the 'narrative' is that President Bush, for all his missteps, has a darling sense of humor and is a real regular guy, able to poke delightful fun at himself and his penchant for mis-using and mispronouncing words.

"Who cares if he lied to start a war? (Or chose to ignore all contrary opinion, which as far as war-starting goes, is pretty crummy.) Who cares if he declares he's above the law, and according to the Boston Globe yesterday there are something like 750 laws he's decided don't apply to him as 'Commander-in-Chief'? . . .

"Colbert's was a brave and shocking performance. And for the media to pretend it isn't newsworthy is a total bafflement. And a symbol of how shoddy and suspect the media is."

Michael Scherer writes in Salon that Colbert's "imitation of the quintessential GOP talking head -- Bill O'Reilly meets Scott McClellan -- uncovered the inner workings of the ever-cheapening discourse that passes for political debate. . . .

"It's not just that Colbert's jokes were hitting their mark. We already know that there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, that the generals hate Rumsfeld, or that Fox News lists to the right. Those cracks are old and boring. What Colbert did was expose the whole official, patriotic, right-wing, press-bashing discourse as a sham, as more 'truthiness' than truth."

Meanwhile, over at , there are more than 20,000 thank-yous and counting.



Wed May 03, 2006 11:56 pm

If you didn't think that was funny, you don't have a sense of humor, that was HILARIOUS!

Thu May 04, 2006 12:08 am

I don't know...I actually enjoy Colbert's show but didn't think his appearnace at this event was all that great. There were a few one liners, such as the Hindenburg comment, that were sort of funny...but I didn't find it of the same calibre as his Comedy Central show.

Thu May 04, 2006 12:35 am

I'll have to check out his Comedy Central show again because I felt the opposite. It made me think that I've been missing something. Usually I think of him as just a guy who sort of apes (and misrepresents) Bill O'Reilly. He's clearly a talent and had Bush pegged in so many ways.

Thu May 04, 2006 1:16 am

Misrepresents O'Reilly? He nails him. O'Reilly is funnier even though he's not aiming for humor. He reached his apex last week when on an incredible roll he said- FOX News does not have a right wing agenda, that the right wing doesn't smear and that there's a left wing cabal running NBC news. All signs that he had gone officially off the deep end.

Colbert is dead on in his critique on O'Reilly's abuse of the truth. It even extends to O'Reilly's own career like his claim that he won the prestigious Peabody Award (unlike Stephen Colbert who did win one on the Daily Show) for his work on Inside Edition. Some people investigated and found that O'Reilly was never awarded a Peabody. After the scandal hit, O'Reilly was forced to admit that Inside Edition had never won a Peabody Award but had won the less prestigious Polk Award. O'Reilly played it off that the awards were in equal prestige and as an understandable mistake while forgetting to inform viewers that Inside Edition had won the award for a report done a year after O'Reilly left the show.

Last week O'Reilly listed his television audience at 6,000,000 million viewers. Nielsen reports though showed O'Reilly's audience had topped out somewhere between 2.2 million and 2.7 million. He allegedly revels in truth but wouldn't recognize it if it hit him in the face.

I don't necessarily think he always deliberately lies I think he just says whatever happens to pop in his head on the idea that it could be true.

Would you buy a used car from this man?

Thu May 04, 2006 6:46 pm

Absolutely not. He's totally cringe-worthy many times and I can't watch it too often or at least not all of it.

But then would I buy a car from the mostly unfunny, uncompelling and O'Reilly-obssessed Keith Olbermann, his also-ran MSNBC competitor in that time spot? No, again.

I'm no "O'Reilly fan" for many of the (quite familiar) reasons you've cited but on some issues, I really think he "nails it": protecting kids from sexual perverts and also on illegal immigration and some cultural issues.

We can agree to disagree on such things but I think he can be a forceful advocate for such issues. If you disagree as you do, you're not going to get any of that.

As you know, my view (shared by many) is that Democrats continually fall on their sword for their inablity to relate with average Americans, mainly cultural but also so-called "law and order" issues. On so many issues, they are the natural ally, but on others, you can see why the GOP swoops down and wins every time - to a fault.

The notion that O'Reilly is "wrong" on everything is silly, although it is one's option if that is your political stripe. It's not just Republicans who think he does a bang-up job on hammering some of the excesses of the left.

One shouldn't watch him without a critical eye. Likewise, as talented as a Colbert is, I also know enough to ask: what is his agenda and what things does he ridicule? As with any caricature, Colbert is not going to leave in any of his postives, which, I'm sorry to report, actually do exist.
If you're opposed to 70% (or more) of O'Reilly's stands, naturally a comedian who sends him up is going to be appealing and make people say he "nailed him."

I've enjoyed Jon Stewart as well, but I take the yuks he gathers with a grain of salt. It all depends whose oxe is being gored anyway.

I personally see no such liberal figure (comedian, commentator or, more importanly politician) who also is not without blindspots.

That you have apparently found those who meet the faultless criteria is no doubt pleasing - for you. :wink:

Fri May 05, 2006 7:48 am

I am not saying other commentators are faultless but that O'Reilly is close to meritless. He's dumb, a bully and makes things up when it suits his arguments. That's why Colbert's satire of him is so spot on. Sometimes he hits an issue but when your mouth 24/7 you're bound to say something right by accident.

As we've discussed in the past, I don't believe the Dems problem is an ability to make contact with the common man (whoever that may be). I think it's problem is overrating the power and impact of people like O'Reilly and believing that his audience somehow represents the common man. Even if O'Reilly has six million faithful viewers, which he doe not, that's still 286 million people who don't watch or using the correct figures 290 million people. The mistake the Dems is trying to cater to this far right demographic that would never for them even if the country was in flames from Bush initiated nuclear war. This makes a lot of apathetic and voters who believe the Dems don't have a platform.

How anyone could think that the Republican Party represents the common with a spoiled rich kid president and his multi-millionaire oil mogul VP is beyond me? O'Reilly is even worse. He has contempt for the common man. Perhaps the common man missed the shows where O'Reilly claimed the poor in America are lazy, stupid and addicts.

Fri May 05, 2006 5:38 pm

Yes, we've all covered FoxNews' Bill O'Reilly and some of the issues he focuses on quite a bit already: ... ht=oreilly ... ht=oreilly ... ht=oreilly ... ht=oreilly ... hlight=sex

But since you want to get into it again about him, last I checked, FoxNews' Bill O'Reilly still wins his time slot for cable news. I'm not really sure, but he's got numbers others would sure like to have.

I will concede that he's probably peaked and also seems like he's losing steam, not the least of which are some credibility problems, especially as the foreign and economic policies he's championing are so often leading us astray.

That's he's allegedly "dumb" is your take, but as somone who fancies himself with a brain, I say he speaks with uncommon passion about sexual predators (yes, I've heard about his hitting on an employee, etc.) that way too many liberals just don't get. The pressure he brought to bare against that Vermont Judge who let a child predator free after 14 days was one such "who could not agree?" moment.

If that was the only thing he made sense on (and it's not), that would be fine by me. There was a time when I was more relaxed about crime and punishment, particularly involving kids ("let's not rush to judgement; let's rehabilitate the offender; etc.") but being a parent changes one opinion.

Given how much of a Bush lackey he was and can be (he's mostly supportive on the war on Iraq), it can be easy to forget but I think he's got the right idea about other aspects of the war on terrorism. This can be the spectacle of a American-turned-Talbian warrior like Johnny Walker Lyndh or Yale University admitting a Taliban spokesman as a "student" (with a fourth-grade education) or the very real threat of Islamic radicalism, and on and on.

Also, the "bully" charge against O'Reilly is a an over-ripe cheap shot. It is by and large coming from those who don't know how to give as good as they get. The show isn't NPR and frankly is more entertaining as a result.
It's part of the spectrum of news and entertainment and those who want long, drawn out perspectives can certainly tune in "McNeil-Lehrer" or the like quite readily.

I admire anyone (right or left) who is able to pick up when someone is not answering the question, as he calls it, "bloviating." O'Reilly, for all his real faults, does that rather well and one can make up their own mind whether they agree or not. Another secret to his apparent charm is his ablity to make fun of himself -as well as his viewers. Even his "I'm so right" arrogance is somewhat tongue-in-cheek and part of his anti-charm.

I'm not surprised that someone who doesn't agree with any of his stands would not find any of this appealing. I personally keep an open mind and find it refreshing to read and watch conservatives in action. I've turned around on some issues and think more should get out of their "he's one of them" approach to politics.

O'Reilly's combative ways can be enjoyable even when I disagree. If anything, the "opposition" on so many issues (be it those who think a Spanish version of the American Anthem is just fine or those who openly call for an open borders policy) are regularly given a real platform for their views, probably the biggest bullhorn they'll ever have.

And they often get their point across quite well, no matter what O'Reilly or oneself may think. That so many other issues don't get play (the sins of the Bush Adminstration or corporate America) is the main problem. I don't waste anytime looking for that from American television, quite frankly.

The best guests (Al Sharpton and other liberals like Norm Siegel of the ACLU) know how to engage in a spirited debate. It's a non-issue. Nothing is more boring than people sitting around and agreeing with each other and it seems to me both right and left should learn to be combative and fast on their feet when debating. Call it today's version of the old "Crossfire" (surely an inspiration) but it's not meant to be for everybody. I recall that you wrote here about the "triumph of the mean spirit" and I'll grant that there's a meaness to this show. It's also why I like it.

Elections in the U.S. are still decided by "swing voters" (independents) who indeed are more conservative on some issues. It is this audience, whether you like it or not, that have indeed made "The Factor" (and the rest of the Foxnews line-up) such a popular show -and made CNN wise-up and start beating a similar drum, as does Lou Dubbs on illegal immigration and increasingly the rest of the CNN's line-up.

Finally, I don't think working class people gain by voting for Bush for his economic policies alone (let that be clear), but there is a reason why he got (or "stole") two terms in office: his apparent ablity to speak "the language" (culturally and otherwise) of so-called "mainstream Americans."

Urban liberals on the coasts will fume, but Peoria and the suburban sunbelt still decide the nation's direction, rightly or wrongly. Some kind of centrist candidate who can bring it all together as Clinton did for a time will win future presidential elections.
Last edited by Gregory Nolan Jr. on Fri May 05, 2006 7:22 pm, edited 4 times in total.

Fri May 05, 2006 6:23 pm

Good points about O'Reilly Greg. He also gets points in my book for criticizing big oil.

Now then, a question for all you liberal/democrats who are bustin' a gut and practically salivating over Colbert's lambasting of Bush. Did you have yourselves a similar laugh when Don Imus did the same to Clinton? I've a sneakin' suspicion you probably didn't.

Fri May 05, 2006 6:44 pm

I like Don Imus, too, by and large, going to back to when he was just a WNBC disc jockey in New York, but even he says that he bombed / went too far with his comments on and in front of then-President Clinton.

I forget the content of what he said, but it it seemed much more personal and about Bill & Hillary's relationship.
Colbert spoofs O'Reilly

I think Colbert's riff on the current President was in its way even deeper because it tore the mask off of the Bush approach to facts and "gut sense" but at least it wasn't about his wife.

I'm still not sure where they are going with these annual correspondent dinners as it's not really supposed to be a true "roast" but they are turning into one. Kings had their court jesters but I think they could cut their head off if they went too far. :shock: :lol:

Fri May 05, 2006 7:29 pm

Your comments about O'Reilly might stick a little more if I hadn't actually seen the show. He's a bully because he picks on people that can't fight back. I didn't make the things up he said poor people and Katrina Victims. The comparison to Lou Dobbs, is not valid, as Lou Dobbs' show is actually concerned with the plight of middle and lower class Americans.

As for his guests there are 100 they could appear on where the host might actually listen to what they say and not talk over them. And what's more his position of a "No spin zone" might actually play a little better if every second of the show wasn't spin. What's worse is that he actually he has no respect for anything resembling a fact which brings every argument that is ever made on his show into dubious territory.

How about his baseless accusations against George Clooney's 911 telethon? With no evidence at all O'Reilly went on the air and lambasted the fundraising effort and said 9/11 victims would never see the money etc. All it did was make it that much harder to raise money the next time out. All because he wanted to score points against the "limousine liberal" (what a phrase) Clooney. He's a worm.

You give him and his tiny audience way too much credit. This is not American Idol here. This is 2 million people out of 292 million. It is extreme overstretch to think this somehow taps into the mainstream of American thought.

To be perfectly honest I can't recall Imus' speech or really the speech of any correspondents' speaker. But it is genuinely annoying that some folks constantly insist on equating Clinton's personal scandal with the current president lying us into an unnecessary war, wire tapping American citizens without a warrant, outing a CIA operative (in the words of Bush Sr. one of the worst offenses a person can commit against his country) and mismanagement of the worst natural disaster in United States history. It's an insult to the thousands of lives this man has lost by chalking it all up to political maneuvering.

Fri May 05, 2006 7:45 pm

I'd have to see proof that he "picked on poor people and Katrina victims" but no doubt O'Reilly is a "pull yourself up by the bootstraps" conservative. I disagree with such economics, but I hardly think that means someone is picking on them. Those who hew to the "free hand of the marketplace" tend to start sputtering when it comes to issues of hard core poverty, corporate disinvestment or off-shoring, as well as governmental disaster relief. Self-help has to be one element of fighting poverty, anyway. Like his Fox-cohorts and owner Roger Ailes, they clearly don't want to embarrass Bush's "you're on your own" Katrina policy. There's as much (or more) to make one shout at the TV during "The Factor" as to cheer. I like that dichotomy.

That whole "talking over"thing might just be a New York thing, too. I think he uses it mainly when when they fail to stay on topic. I, for one, appreciate that. It's a fast-moving show at its best. The best guests know how to roll with it. It's just one show anyway.

To say he doesn't appreciate facts and that it's all spin turns everything on its ear . He undoubtedly is promoting his viewpoint but what show does not, particularly in this realm? Also, to be sure, I'm not recommending his show as one's sole source of news and commentary.

Again, O'Reilly remains a big reason why FoxNews has displaced CNN, all of which have a big part to play in shaping political tendencies, as well as reflecting them.

Despite my comments, do know that I agree that Bush is quickly living up to the prediction on the latest issue of Rolling Stone by Sean Willentz.

Sat May 06, 2006 12:19 am

likethebike wrote:To be perfectly honest I can't recall Imus' speech or really the speech of any correspondents' speaker. But it is genuinely annoying that some folks constantly insist on equating Clinton's personal scandal with the current president lying us into an unnecessary war, wire tapping American citizens without a warrant, outing a CIA operative (in the words of Bush Sr. one of the worst offenses a person can commit against his country) and mismanagement of the worst natural disaster in United States history. It's an insult to the thousands of lives this man has lost by chalking it all up to political maneuvering.

As far as I'm concerned it's open season on this administration. And yes there's a world of difference between Clinton's sexcapades and the Bush administrations flaws and failings. But what I was trying to get across is that that there is a double standard at work here. It's ok to lambast the President of the United States - as long as he is of the opposing party, but take any humerous shots at our guy and we'll be gnashing our teeth in outrage at the insolence!

Sat May 06, 2006 12:38 am

Well, Pete, that salvo from Imus was really the beginning of the White House correspondents' dinner becomig more bold - and public. I don't think anyone ever even heard of it much before then. It's not only now live on C-Span but also CNBC if not others.

And the common charge going back to even before Clinton is that we've become a more course and dispectful culture, be it morals or respect for those in power or those who "hold the office."

In that sense, Colbert certainly was part of that trend.

Sat May 06, 2006 1:33 am

Greg- I'll send you stuff verifying the comments which have been made on more than one occasion. Virtually every time he's on the air- radio or tv- he throws some ridiculous non-fact that he pulls out of the air. You literally have to verify every single word he says. He abuses the truth that much.

Even on the issues where he appears in the right he oversimplifies them. Like child abuse for instance. Last night he had on show that convicted sex offenders are working at McDonald's and that McDonald's has no prohibition on these employees. Leaving scare tactics aside, he doesn't realize that there are hard questions here. If we let these people out of prison and we don't let them work what are setting up? Maybe the sentences should be life penalties and is that a fair system? Also did you know that many victims' rights groups are against minimum sentencing standards because they could result in fewer convictions of pedophiles forcing more trials which not only traumatize the victim further but also increase the chance of a perpetrator walking. It's much easier to take a free ride on lame brain judge who lets someone walk. It's good he's bringing this to attention but his lack of interest in actually creating better law that he uses it for cheap political capital a shot at the left who somehow don't have children and actually desire them to be molested according to O'Reilly's brand of thinking.

These are hard questons. Immigration is a hard question. As President Bush, in one of his few moments of lucidity, said you can't arrest 12 million people. You can't really grant them amnesty either. These are hard questions and all O'Reilly is interested in is cheap shots.

The Katrina thing was emblematic and really disgusting. Deflecting criticism is one thing but to blame the citizens of New Orleans is something else. Many of the people on those roof tops were working two jobs to make ends meet. But that didn't matter to O'Reilly they were "lazy" "stupid" etc and got basically what they deserved. The pull yourself up by your bootstraps gang has got to realize that because something is possible doesn't mean it's likely.

Pete- My comment was aimed at my distaste for equating Clinton's personal miscues with GW's professional ones. Personally, I don't mind humor aimed at anyone's expense including myself and Elvis.

I really haven't paid that much attention to the correspondents' dinner. I know the president usually does some routine but that's about it. I've always been befuddled by Don Imus' popularity though. He always seems more like a crank to me and struggles to make a point. I remember at one time Mary Matalin and some liberal (not Carville her husband) had a crossfire type tv show and it was going off the air. Imus had them on his show and he's urging them to stay together telling them they don't wind up like the Righteous Brothers. Like most Imus, it left me scratching my head.