September 24, 2010

DISTRACTION: So, yesterday reader John Mark Williams suggested that the Colbert testimony was intended to distract from coverage of Christopher Coates’ testimony about the Justice Department’s racism scandals. If so, it’s worked. Front page of Daily Caller: Colbert. Drudge led with Colbert until the news of the Klein & Zucker firings came out. Limbaugh led off today talking about Colbert. NRO has covered Colbert at The Corner, but not Coates. Washington Examiner headline: Colbert. Looking around other sites, I see more about Colbert than Coates. Hot Air and Power Line did better.

But let me quote the Power Line treatment: “Coates’s testimony is a bombshell. It exposes a couple of Obama administration scandals at once. One involves the Obama administration’s attempt to cover up the rationale for burying the case against the NBPP. The other involves the Obama administration’s support for the racially based administration of justice. Coates’s testimony is suggestive of other scandals as well. You probably won’t be hearing much about it on the broadcast news tonight or in the papers tomorrow, but we all should do everything we can to get the word out.”

I expect the usual JournoList types to provide cover (it’s not like this is a scandal involving a Republican Justice Department, after all, which would be news), but I’m kind of surprised to see so many people who should know better taking the bait on a non-story about a fictional character.

UPDATE: Reader Trent Nix disagrees:

I’m hearing lots of reporters and members of the intelligentsia bemoan Colbert’s testimony as “making a mockery” of the hearing, but I can’t say I see it that way. It’s certainly unfortunate that he’s distracting a few talking heads from the DOJ-Black Panther brouhaha, but he’s also doing an important work as well. He’s exposing the ridiculous nature of these hearings and the circus that our political class indulges in. I’ve got a feeling that even Colbert thinks it was absurd that he’s testifying and is fully committed to exposing how deeply absurd it really is. I’d like to say the man and his bit is a work of genius if all of this weren’t so obvious what would happen from the outset.

Sure, he’s doing a bit, but so is most everyone else in the room whether it’s the brain-dead Congresswoman who invited him, the corrupt and contemptible John Conyers who decided this absurdity was beneath him, the flaccid Republicans who are trying to create “serious” soundbytes bemoaning the circus they so often happily perform in, or the reporters/shills who thought he was on their team. At least he’s honest about his bit. I can’t say the same for the rest of those losers.

Well, as I mentioned before, it’s the presence of a professional clown among a bunch of amateurs. And reader Bill McConnell writes:

If Colbert’s testimony was meant to distract what a price they paid!!! All the reviews of his testimony are negative and a lot of Democrats are going to wish they’d never heard of Colbert before this is over.

Well, that may be true. But still . . .

ANOTHER UPDATE: Jim Treacher is on the ball.

MORE: Reader Mark Linder writes:

You and John Mark Williams are right to suppose that the administration and its supporters are much happier with people talking about Colbert and not Coates. As ridiculous as Colbert makes Congress look, and perhaps Mr. Nix is correct that Colbert’s point is to expose them, the worst that will happen is people thinking “There they go again” while going on with their daily lives. If Mr. Coates’s testimony and what it means for this administration’s attitudes about law and the use of the Federal Department of Justice became the topic, it would shake the basic attitude toward federal power of many people who are generally open to the suggestion that a powerful government may on the whole be something we can live with. I think that many more people would begin to regard the state at any level with a lot more wariness, and that the bargain that’s been on offer, i.e., you can trust us with power because we’ll provide what you need fairly, will be rejected by an even greater proportion of the voting public.

Indeed. Whether the distraction was planned, or accidental, it’s a mistake to be distracted here.

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