Just the description of the following clip will be enough to tell you how obnoxious it is:
Appearing at a Winthrop University panel Thursday, MSNBC host and NBC White House correspondent Chuck Todd ripped into Stephen Colbert and his not-yet-official run, suggesting that Colbert might have some ulterior motives in the way he’s almost throwing his hat into the GOP primary ring:
"Is it fair to the process? Yes, the process is a mess, but he's doing it in a way that it feels as if he's trying to influence it with his own agenda, that may be anti-Republican. And we in the media are covering it as a schtick and a satire, but it’s like, 'Well wait a minute here...' he's also trying to do his best to marginalize the candidates, and we're participating in that marginalization."
Todd said that the "mainstream media" (his quotes) has a responsibility to exercise some caution and question what Colbert's agenda is. "Is it to educate the public about the dangers of money in politics and what's going on?" He asked, "or is it simply to marginalize the Republican party? I think if I were a Republican candidate, I'd be concerned about that."
But you have to watch this clip all the way to the end to appreciate the full extent of its awfulness -- you have to get to the part where Todd says:
... I worry we're going to trivialize our institutions, make people more cynical, raise an entire generation that's even more cynical than they are now, to the point where we have already demonized institutions that, frankly, I do idolize. I idolize the institution of the United States Senate and the United States House. I'm sorry that there are a lot of people there that don't idolize that the same way.
OK, fine, Chuck -- I understand having reverence for what our institutions of government have been at their best, and over our entire history. But you idolize them now? You idolize Congress as it exists today? If so, you're nuts.
And I'm not sure how on earth this connects to Stephen Colbert mocking the 2012 presidential election, which now features four Republicans and one Democrat, three of whom used to be in Congress and aren't anymore, and one of whom has never been in Congress. But no, that's a separate point -- somehow, according to Todd, if voters take a comedy candidacy seriously, and prefer to vote for the comic rather than for any of the "serious" candidates, it's the comic's fault, even though the comic is just tapping into a disillusionment that already exists.
And no, I don't know how the hell Todd arrives at the conclusion that Colbert can possibly marginalize an entire major political party just by making jokes about it.
Todd concludes by saying:
But I also think that this ideological fight sometimes between the two parties is a good thing for the system. You know, yes, we're still trying to figure out how to cover it in this new way of covering things, and I think the minute-by-minute certainly isn't healthy for the system. But over time it has worked, and you know, I just worry about this overparodizing [sic] of the process, where -- and we wonder -- we complain now that we feel like the most qualified people decide not to run because they don't want to be the butt of jokes. Well, I think this is going to exasperate [sic] the process.
Oh, right. It's not the endless need to fundraise; it's not the super PAC corruption; it's not the Fox-fueled, talk-radio-fueled ideological war to the death that takes place as our country goes down the crapper -- no, none of that is why "the most qualified people" won't run, according to Chuck Todd. The reason is one guy who tells jokes. Colbert's the whole problem.
(Clip via Huffington Post.)