By now, many in America have heard, or are talking about Stephen Colbert’s nasty man rant on Donald Trump last week. The talk show host airs most of his monologue live on CBS. But this particular Trump diatribe prompted a protest by the Right, which of course, screams of hypocrisy given the Rightwing extremist smut that has been allowed to air on national public radio every day — for decades).
Back to Colbert: The conservative protesters called upon the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) to investigate the monolog. The bad news for Colbert is that head of the FCC, Ajit Pai, who was appointed by Trump, will be reviewing the complaint and “enforcing the law.” Bloomberg cites Pai in their report:
“We are going to take the facts that we find and we are going to apply the law as it’s been set out by the Supreme Court and other courts and we’ll take the appropriate action,” Pai said in an interview on talk-radio station WPHT-AM in Philadelphia. CBS, the broadcaster of Colbert’s “The Late Show,” could face a fine, he said.
Stephen Colbert is a long time political humorist who became well-known on Jon Stewart’s Daily Show with his character on The Colbert Report. In 2015, Colbert was asked to become the new Late Show host replacing David Letterman after the veteran comedian retired.
Colbert says he stands by his critique of Trump — he was triggered after Trump abruptly dissed the respected CBS journalist John Dickerson, of Face The Nation. Dickerson was asking Trump simple, specific questions, but when he asked Trump where he stood on his allegations about Obama wiretapping, Trump nervously said, “we have our own opinions” — “I don’t stand by anything.” When asked again, Trump cut off Dickerson within seconds, walked away and went to sit at his desk to shuffle papers leaving the journalist just standing there.
In defense of Dickerson, Stephen Colbert unabashedly tore into Trump. The comedian did say he probably could have been less crude with some of his language, more specifically his joke suggesting a sexual relationship between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin. That was the joke that apparently set off the Rightwing who called Colbert’s joke vulgar and “homophobic.” (I know, right? Perhaps they could get Mike Pence or Kim-County-Clerk to go hells-bells and interview some folks in the LGBTQI+ community to see if Colbert’s joke was homophobic and/or offensive. Of course, that would mean actually speaking to some of “them.”)
Back to Colbert. There are rules, Stephen!
The FCC regulates programming broadcast on television. Programs like “The Late Show” that air after 10 p.m. have looser rules, but they still are prohibited from including obscene content—overtly sexual, offensive and lacking serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value. It’s rare for the FCC to take action against a broadcaster under the rules, and Pai, who was selected by Trump to lead the agency, would face criticism himself if the FCC punished CBS.
So although it’s “rare” for the FCC to take action against a broadcaster, we have come to learn that in Trump’s America, only nice things can be said about him, and “very, very bad things” are simply “unallowed.”
Here is the Colbert monologue that is under review:
Below is a Think Progress video compilation of the Rightwing radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh during one of his many odious rants. The broadcast managed to get Limbaugh ignored by the FCC no matter how much the pubic did protest. He did suffer other consequences, but there’s a major difference here. Colbert was attacking a world figure and a very cruel and hateful man. Limbaugh viciously attacked a then-unknown college student Sandra Fluke who was advocating, in front of Congress, for mandatory insurance coverage on medicinal birth control pills. Limbaugh turned it into one of the worst cases of blatant slander many of us have heard on public radio.
Here’s the Rush Limbaugh clip:
If Colbert/CBS is fined for the comment, protestors on the Left are going to start pulling out examples from Rightwing broadcasts that are going to make the FCC dizzy. It would be best to let the Colbert thing go and move on to more important matters like ensuring the people have free/affordable access to the world via the internet.
And personally, I have no problem with Colbert’s rant against Trump. I’ve said worse. And as I see it, Trump deserves the same respect he gives, and that adds up to zero.
If you’re still hanging around, here is a pretty funny clip of Colbert going after Donald Trump, pre-election. They are lighter jabs at Trump, back when no one thought such a horribly ridiculous, pompous and scamming realty show could ever win. Those were the days.
Thank you, Stephen — back to you.