Macleans has published an article about Stephen Colbert's now famous/infamous speech at the White House Correspondents' Dinner, stating that "with one speech, he went from popular late-night cable comedian to instant folk hero".
Much has been written about Colbert's performance, and I needn't repeat it all here. If you've been living under a rock and haven't seen the video yet, watch it or read the transcript. Bottom line: Colbert's speech was laden with satire, and attacked both the Bush administration and the mainstream media that has, until recently, done little to disclose the backroom activities of the government. Some people loved the speech; others hated it. The mainstream media largely ignored it, but the blogosphere was on fire with commentary.
The Macleans article examines the online reaction to Colbert's speech, and how the buzz promted mainstream media to report on the speech, if belatedly.
"Bloggers reacted with fury to mainstream journalists, whom they accused of burying the real story of the night: that a President notoriously resistant to criticism (and reporters who can be almost equally insulated) had been forced to sit and listen to harsh criticism in the form of comedy. Colbert's speech got broad exposure through new media channels: before Youtube.com pulled the speech for copyright reasons, it had been viewed more than 700,000 times.
[W]ith blogs, email and video-sharing sites, people were able to force the Colbert speech into the news. The New York Times finally wrote about the speech, focusing on bloggers and their passionate reaction to Colbert's routine. The online media had made a major story out of something that, according to the mainstream press, wasn't a story at all.
It might seem improbable that a comedy routine could be a political issue, but in a time when many people feel that reporters are, in Stoller's words, "pathologically weak and irresponsible, too frightened to point out that the emperor has no clothes," people may be looking to Colbert the way they looked to comics like Lenny Bruce and Mort Sahl in the '60s. To Colbert's fans, he's not just a guy who plays a fake journalist: he's the satirist who, one Saturday night, told the real journalists what they're doing wrong."
Read the rest of the story here.
Technorati tags: Stephen Colbert, politics, comedy, satire, Bush, White House Correspondents' Dinner USA, Macleans
Posted in: politics on May 17, 2006