Why Kill Someone Who Won’t Know They’re Dead?
Back in 2005, a producer for CNN’s Crossfire called me about having my boss on the show. For those who don’t remember Crossfire it was a cantankerous show with famed Democratic strategists James Carville (the man who made me love politics) and Paul Begala representing the left and the late conservative writer Robert Novak and pundit Tucker Carlson representing the right. INSERT SHOUTING!!
Crossfire, in my opinion, solidified the current trend of setting up every conversation as right vs. left. There were times during Crossfire when conclusions were drawn but mostly there was a lot of talking “at” each other. The interviews were priceless.
The most well-known Crossfire interview was with Daily Show host Jon Stewart. The results were, shall we say, disastrous.
I remember watching the Stewart episode (back in 2004) over and over again thinking how do you prepare someone for a talk-at-you show like Crossfire and how do you prepare them for an unpredictable-and-potentially-embarrassing turn on Jon Stewart’s show?
By the time it was my job to work with someone on debate prep, I had my answer: There are some people who simply won’t come off well in those environments, but the best preparation is to arm the person you’re coaching with messages rather than fleshed out talking points. My boss appeared. He did fine but was slightly dug into the ground by Carlson on a point in which Carlson was [shocker] completely correct.
There’s a new age of television now. Looking at Glenn Beck almost makes Crossfire seem quaint in retrospect. And in 2010 I’d be way more worried about preparing someone for Stephen Colbert than Jon Stewart. My best advice would be not to try to outdo Colbert at his own game, but beyond that either the rope is there for Colbert to hang you as a guest or it isn’t. It’s the risk you take.
Over the 4 years that Colbert has aired on Comedy Central , the host has devoured the positions of many guests. And those people that Colbert are mocking (the extreme right, specifically Bill O’Reilly, and, to a degree, flamboyant pundits of all kinds) seem to be just as willing to visit his show as those who would probably be considered fans. But they also seem the most unaware that they have been, for lack of a better word, SERVED.
I not surprised that some people who appear on Colbert leave the show and think they came out smelling like roses. Ta-Nehisi Coates described D’nesh Dsouza’s appearance on Colbert Report saying “I don’t think he realized he was bleeding until a week later.” Unbeknownst to the conservative thinker, he’d been eviscerated. Recently, Laura Ingraham (in the clip below) appeared on Colbert’s show. I’m still wondering if she understands (or even cares!!) how much the depth of her hypocrisy was revealed in just under 6 minutes in front of Colbert. Her base is so firmly in her corner, it kind of doesn’t matter when she’s exposed as a fraud.
|The Colbert Report||Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c|
I know that people who watch Colbert like to think that when he gets the best of someone who is outrageously self-righteous and full of shit, an angel gets her wings and some small dent in the stupidity of America is made. But I’m not sure.
This is a question that applies to almost all liberal media. The Professional Left (c) Robert Gibbs, works overtime to debunk every lie the other side spews. Sure it feels really really good in the moment–especially when it’s expertly executed the way Colbert does; but what’s the point in killing someone if they don’t realize they’re dead?