Take Your Daily Dose of ‘Truthiness’
‘I don’t like unions and I don’t need writers,’ announced the archconservative alter-ego of satirist Stephen ‘I am America’ Colbert. ‘Which brings me to tonight’s Word.’ But Colbert never came to his Word. That would have taken a writer.
Monday marked the enthusiastically-awaited and hotly-debated return of Jon Stewart’s ‘Daily Show’ and Colbert’s ‘Report’ to Comedy Central. Thanks to the strike of the Writers Guild of America, the late-night hosts are ad-libbing their way through their no-longer-scripted segments.
Nine weeks after the start of the writers’ strike, Hollywood writers are still AWOL partly because the networks still aren’t paying them for their piece of the Internet revenue pie. Scripting the shows now violates the strike rules of the writers’ guild, according to Frazier Moore for Time Magazine.
‘All our Daily Show clips were pulled off YouTube by [American media super-conglomerate] Viacom, who is suing them for a billion dollars,’ said Daily Show writer John Oliver. ‘That was not at [the writers’] instigation; we were happy for people to watch the clips. But instead they wanted to set up a Web site where they can sell advertising.’
‘So they’re clearly making money on that,’ Oliver opined. ‘They’re also clearly making money because they’re suing YouTube for a billion. So that seems quite strange when they’re saying, ‘Well, there’s no money to be made off the Internet but we’re suing YouTube for a billion dollars.’ That takes spectacular balls.’
‘We would like to return to work with our writers,’ Stewart and Colbert stated. ‘If we cannot, we would like to express our ambivalence, but without our writers we are unable to express something as nuanced as ambivalence.’ That ambivalence was apparent when their access to airtime became both an obstacle to the strength of the strike and an opportunity for them to use their early episodes as publicity platforms for it.
Stewart and Colbert may be unsure, but their conservative critics are anything but ambivalent. ‘They serve as a branch of the Democratic Party,’ said a user with the screen name ‘iveseenitall’ on the conservative media criticism Web site NewsBusters.com. ‘They are immature jerks