Thursday, October 18, 2007

Colbert's Publicity Gambit Pays Off

The problem with the news media these days is too much media and not much news.

Which explains why Comedy Central's fake right wing pundit Stephen Colbert has gotten so much press for "announcing" that he will run as a favorite son presidential candidate in the South Carolina primary.

Honestly, why would any serious newspaper devote an inch of space to such a nonstory? (Yes, yes, you can ask the same thing about the Curmudgeon; but by now you know we have a double standard, so get over it.)

At the very least, newspapers (and websites, like CNN) ought to tell the truth in their reporting of this "story."

Here's how the ostensibly serious Washington Post started its story yesterday: "Stephen Colbert announced his candidacy for president on 'The Colbert Report' on Tuesday night, tossing his satirical hat into the ring of an already crowded race."

A more fitting intro would've been this: "Desperate to draw publicity for his new book, comedian Stephen Colbert made a gag last night of pretending that he would run for President. Colbert, whose Comedy Central television show, The Colbert Report, has dragged out for about as long as possible a joke in which he poses as a right wing political commentator, obviously is looking for a way out of the show and into something new and--one hopes--fresh."

Now that would be a bit more honest. Better yet would be a statement, inside Style, saying that "As a serious newspaper, we are not covering anything that has to do with Britney, Lindsay, Jenna Bush or Stephen Colbert. We will no longer serve as a conduit for authors and publishers to promote new books, other than via serious book reviews where we trash these pieces of celebrity garbage."

Oh, in case you were wondering, Colbert's book, "I Am America (And So Can You!)" is number 2 on bestseller lists.

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