Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Colbert's White House Correspondents' Dinner Speech

From Julie Hilden at Findlaw:

"Stephen Colbert's April 30th keynote address to the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner continues to spark commentary even now, more than a week later - with the video and the transcript still widely circulated on the Internet. Why?

One reason the story has had "legs," it seems, is the contention that Colbert crossed an invisible line, and the retort that either such a line shouldn't exist, or that Colbert was entitled to cross it...

Despite the caustic nature of Colbert's satire, it is clear that given the extent to which the Bush Administration, elected officials, the news media, pundits, and the public have continued to talk about and debate his keynote -- more than a week after Colbert delivered it - Colbert...has enriched our political discourse.

That he did so with the president as a captive audience may have defied protocol, but in light of the protocols regarding public debate that this president has defied, it should be viewed as fair play.

In the end, we shouldn't so automatically accept contentions like ... "He is the president of the United States, and he deserves some respect." Respect ought to be based on what one does and says, not on the office one occupies. And even when the president deserves respect, he must also be accountable. Seeking to hold a president accountable through use of a caustic parody that exploits politically embarrassing events is in the best tradition of the First Amendment and encourages the robust public debate democracy requires."

She's not a big fan of the president then. I had read the transcript but it is difficult to fully appreciate the impact without seeing the video. (Colbert starts about 55 minutes in). President Bush was looking pretty grim by the end of it.

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