The furor this past week over Stephen Colbert's performance at the White House Correspondent's Association dinner last weekend has been most interesting. Even more interesting is the furor over the non-furor by the mainstream media (MSM)! I feel like I'm one of the swiveling heads watching a tennis match as the balls bounce back and forth across the net. This time, however, it is barbs, not balls, and most are going out of bounds, flying this way and that, never quite on target. Dan Froomkin, as always, has nailed it in his post today:
The way I see it, the Washington press corps is still appropriately embarrassed that they screwed up in the run-up to war. Now, as Bush's approval ratings fester, they are getting bolder in challenging the official White House line on any number of issues. They're justifiably proud of a handful of great investigative pieces. But they still haven't addressed the central issue Colbert was raising: Bush's credibility. As it happens, the public is way ahead of them on this one: For more than a year, the polls have consistently been showing that a majority of Americans don't find Bush honest and trustworthy. And yet, as I've chronicled time and again in this column, (see, for instance, my Feb. 3 column, It's the Credibility, Stupid ) the mainstream press — the very folks in that ballroom on Saturday night, the ones who actually have access to the president and his aides — have allowed that fundamental issue to go unexplored. What Colbert was saying about the guy sitting a few feet away from him — and I think this is what made so many people in that room uncomfortable — was: Don't believe a word he says.
This is why I haven't posted anything about this until now — I can't do it justice. Froomkin, however, can and DOES! Yes, "it's the credibility, Stupid"!
Froomkin quotes Joan Walsh (Salon):
This is a battle that can't really be won — you either got it Saturday night (or Sunday morning, or whenever your life was made a little brighter by viewing Colbert's performance) or you didn't. Personally, I'm enjoying watching apologists for the status quo wear themselves out explaining why Colbert wasn't funny. It's extending the reach of his performance by days without either side breaking character — the mighty Colbert or the clueless, self-important media elite he was satirizing. For those who think the media shamed itself by rolling over for this administration, especially in the run-up to the Iraq war, Colbert's skit is the gift that keeps on giving. Thank you, Stephen Colbert!