The White House Press And The Colbert Curse

Last year Stephen Colbert delivered what will probably be the most memorable comic presentation that the White House Correspondent’s Association will ever see. He showed up in character as the bombastic pundit that presides over his Colbert Report. And throughout the routine he pounded the media just as much as he did the president. Here’s an excerpt:

“But, listen, let’s review the rules. Here’s how it works: the president makes decisions. He’s the decider. The press secretary announces those decisions, and you people of the press type those decisions down. Make, announce, type. Just put ’em through a spell check and go home. Get to know your family again. Make love to your wife. Write that novel you got kicking around in your head. You know, the one about the intrepid Washington reporter with the courage to stand up to the administration. You know – fiction!” [Transcript] [Video]

Apparently the Colbert experience was too much for the WHCA. This year they have elected to go with the comfort food of comedy, Rich Little. The lasting legacy of Colbert’s performance may be that the WHCA may never have another poignant and provocative guest speaker. But not only did they book Little this year, they have also instructed him to layoff of the President. Says Little:

“They don’t want anyone knocking the president. He’s really over the coals right now, and he’s worried about his legacy.”

The latest salvo in this feud has Steve Scully. president of the WHCA, denying that any conditions were imposed on Little. If true, that would make Little a liar. But Scully’s statements have there own inconsistencies. After explaining to Little that the dinner is attended by, “people who live and eat politics,” he later critiques Colbert as being, “very sophisticated and if you’ve not seen his show you may not get it.” With Little, Scully added, “you don’t have to explain his humor.”

So Scully’s opinion of his White House press colleagues is that they are immersed in politics but incapable of understanding sophisticated political humor without an explanation. His opinion suggests that, despite going to all of the right congressional hearings and cocktail parties, they still don’t have a clue as to what’s going on.

Come to think of it, that’s my opinion of them too.