Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Colbert Conspiracies Continue

The non-story that wouldn't die. At the annual White House Correspondents' Association dinner, Bush and a Bush impersonator got all the headlines but no one wrote up Stephen Colbert's speech. To most people, this is how it should be. Bush is the President, Colbert is the host of a basic-cable, late-night comedy show. Also Bush's bit was funnier than Colbert's. You can see Colbert's routine here. See if you think it is any funnier than the attendees did.

So what's the problem? It seems that, since Colbert made some jokes at Bush's expense and some more at the press corps expense, some far lefties think that this is big news. ("My God, someone finally said this to Bush's face and no one is reporting it!!!!") For the last couple of weeks people have been insisting that there is some sort of conspiracy of silence. For example, last Friday
Eric Boehlert guest-posted in Eric Alterman's column pointed out that the press covered last year's routine which included Laura Bush and the 2004 routine which included a hunt for WMDs.

For those keeping score at home, when Bush joked about the missing WMDs, the press rushed to defend the president, insisting the jokes were funny.  But when Stephen Colbert joked about Bush's (and the media's) incompetence, the press rushed to defend the president, insisting the jokes were not funny.  What more do you need to know about the Beltway media mindset?

They also covered Bill Clinton's speeches. In fact, this is about the only event where a sitting president regularly makes fun of himself and he does it in front of the press. If they don't give it good coverage then he might not do it again.

But what is the deal here? Pointing out that it was not Colbert's best effort suddenly puts you in the same class as Downing Street Memo deniers. (again from Boehlert).

(Note that the same Beltway crowd that last year was telling us the Downing Street Memo was not news, is the same crowd insisting Colbert was not funny.)  What I think is interesting is that none of this should have come as a surprise.  Meaning, the press has always advertised its strongest sycophantic urges at these silly, springtime Beltway ritual dinners.

Other people have decided that it doesn't matter if Colbert was funny or not (good thing). The important thing was that he spoke truthiness to power (I'm really sick of that phrase).

So what is the deal here? Why are so many people taking this so personally? What do they want? Yes, Colbert made some jokes at Bush's expense. They were pretty mild compared to a Leno monologue. I've watched the clip a couple of times and I still haven't seen the big denouement that the far-left sees.

Maybe they think that it is a big deal because Bush lives in a bubble with no one who will say uncomfortable truths to his face. Again, there wasn't that much to Colbert's routine. It was nothing compared to Coretta Scott King's funeral. In that case, it did make the news when speakers insulted Bush to his face. No cover-up there.

The only conclusion is what I said the last time I wrote about this - liberals expect a partisan press instead of a biased one. A different example, again from Boehlert, is the way the press treated the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth.
By the time the Swift Boat story had played out, CNN, chasing after ratings leader Fox News, found time to mention the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth--hereafter, Swifties--in nearly 300 separate news segments, while more than one hundred New York Times articles and columns made mention of the Swifties. And during one overheated 12-day span in late August, the Washington Post mentioned the Swifties in page-one stories on Aug. 19, 20, 21 (two separate articles), 22, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, and 31. It was a media monsoon that washed away Kerry's momentum coming out of the Democratic convention.
In fact, most MSM mentions of the Swiftboat Vets were mildly negative and many of the charges held up under close scrutiny. The left was not interested in the truth - they knew it in their gut so they didn't need to look it up. The Swift Boat charges must be false and, by covering the ads without launching an all-out attack, the press must be Bush's lapdogs.

As far as the left is concerned, if the press is not actively working for them then it is against them. (I thought that only Sith lords dealt in absolutes.)

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