May 14, 2006

It Took Colbert to Criticize Bush

If the government that governs best is the one that governs least, then the Iraqi government is the best in the world right now. This is just an example of the comic genius of Stephen Colbert, present at the White House correspondent’s dinner. To hear most media, including Fox News, report on it, however, you would have thought that Colbert had completely bombed. This is simply not the case: rather, it’s the traditional news media that has failed to realize how disconnected they are from the public. Stephen Colbert only helped to highlight that.
Colbert managed to do within his 24 minute speech what others haven’t been able to do in 6 years, and that was to criticize every single important aspect of the Bush presidency. He managed to cover everything from Iraq, to Katrina, to the NSA wiretapping, to the environment, and even Dick Cheney’s shooting of an old man in the face. Bush’s character and beliefs were held up to the fire, and it was all done in a satirical and ironic tribute to Bush’s “accomplishments.” There is no doubt that Colbert’s speech was a biting satire, one that left Bush’s supporters angry but impotent.
So then why would something that managed to be a biting and funny at the same time be so forgotten by news outlets, especially when Colbert was the featured reporter? It’s simply because that such traditional media is unable to handle criticism of itself. Colbert also spent much of his time criticizing media practices such as “the most powerfully staged photo ops in the world.” While at the same time giving them sardonic praise for their coverage of NSA wiretapping and secret prisons in Eastern Europe, he manages to attack failures, such as the media’s failure over Iraq, tax cuts, and global warming. His harassment of Fox News was especially strong. Not surprisingly, Fox News’ criticism of Colbert was pretty strong too.
Part of it is also probably because Colbert did what the media didn’t. In his speech, he managed to deliver the angers of the American people directly to the President, something that hasn’t been done by any major media outlet. Colbert wasn’t just making fun of the President; he was voicing the frustrations of the people angry with him. Unable to stand the criticism and the fact that they themselves couldn’t pull it off, the media chose to ignore Colbert entirely.
So it clearly wasn’t Colbert being unfunny. It was the media ignoring him with a blackout. The problem with this blackout is that it shows just how out of touch the media, both liberal and conservative, is with America. They can’t discuss the issues that most Americans want to be discussed. They can’t report on what Americans want to know. And they certainly don’t want to be reminded of it by a comedian. Colbert managed to do more than just roast the President; he highlighted once again that the media truly is out of touch with America.

1 comment:

  1. God, I love colbert and I hate bears.

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