Colbert, Trump, and Putin
On Monday evening CBS “Late Show” host, Stephen Colbert, blasted President Trump for his remarks to CBS “Face the Nation” host, John Dickerson. Whether staged or not, Colbert’s monologue was a tirade of the first order. At the end of his tirade, he told the President that the only thing his mouth was good for was…..well, you’ve all read the news and watched the video.
In his monologue, Colbert bluntly told the President, “When you insult one member of the CBS family, you insult us all.” This may have been a joke, but it was sweet music to my ears. It’s about time that somebody so forcefully told Mr. Trump that his insults are felt not only by the person he insults, but also by all those who are related to that person, and by those of us who trust our leaders to govern in a civil manner. I keep waiting for the other “Fake News” media, like the “Failing” New York Times, CNN, ABC, MSNBC, and time-tested, credible polling organizations, like the Pew Research Center, who deliver such “biased” reports on the public’s feelings about the Trump presidency, to respond in such a forceful way to his insults and bullying.
Stephen Colbert’s two-word comment at the end of his monologue, vulgar though it was, does not make him homophobic, as many are now claiming. Nor does it even begin to compare in scope to the scores of derogatory accusations that President Trump has made toward others, before, during, and after the Presidential campaign, and which he continues to make while in the Oval Office. Although sexually insulting, Mr. Colbert’s comment is as far removed as night is from day to equaling the sexually inappropriate and demeaning behavior that Mr. Trump has displayed for so many years.
I like political satire. Political figures need to understand that being the brunt of satirical jokes is part of the job. They need to understand that there is an element of truth in every piece of satire. They need to have enough self-awareness to parse out that truth and examine it in the light of day. They need to be able to roll with the jokes made at their expense, and they especially need to be able to make fun of themselves. Sadly, our President does not seem to possess any of these characteristics, which makes him a perfect target for late-night comedians.
I also like Stephen Colbert. I enjoy his satire. That said, his two-word insult Monday evening went beyond the bounds of political satire. It was vulgar; it was vicious; it undoubtably was untrue (at least in reality; figuratively is a question for another time); it was uncalled for, and it has no place on a national television network of any stripe. Mr. Colbert should apologize! And, he should do it humbly, sincerely, and SOON.
Last evening he did address his remarks by asking jokingly if he was still employed by CBS, and that, after listening to a tape of his monologue, he “would change a few words that were cruder than they needed to be.” But he also stated that he did not regret the “few choice insults” that he hurled at the President at the end of his monologue. THIS IS NOT AN APOLOGY. This is side-stepping a blatant error, a tactic that politicians have turned into an art form.
Colbert’s monologue was surely written in advance. The scriptwriter(s) and the editor who allowed this text to be used should be reprimanded as strongly as possible by their superiors at CBS, and Mr. Colbert needs to make a heartfelt, straightforward apology to the President and to Mr. Putin. Sooner rather than later, Stephen. Tonight would be a good time!