Stephen Colbert, brilliant satirist of late night TV and multi award-winning comedian, is facing a fall out from the Asian community over a comedic tweet on twitter. The tweet, considered politically incorrect, fits in line with the show that is indeed far from politically correct. The benefit of being in the late night cable realm is you have a relatively less stringent set of rules productions get to work from. The tweet was created after Colbert said a racially tinged joke on his broadcast. But with anything in the social media world, very few research the context of a controversial quote before setting the internet ablaze. Colbert has suffered the backlash for the satirical quote that fed the twitter feeds with thousands of calls to the offices of Comedy Central.
The Colbert Report is a spin-off of the hit Comedy Central headline news satire show, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Stewart is an executive producer of the rival show that appears each weeknight after his own daily hit The Daily Show. Stephen Colbert portrays the character of a staunchly Republican bigot who follows the teachings of “Papa Bear” Bill O’Reilly. In his nightly broadcast he regularly offers a satirical spin on the daily news of the world. A talented musician and comedian, Colbert often declares his lack of racism by insisting he is color-blind and says, “I don’t even know what color I am,” a phrase usually used in conversations with a racial tone, such as the critical bit that inspired the politically incorrect tweet. A backlash for the Colbert twitter post is as ridiculous for the lack of not knowing who sent the tweet as it is for not understanding the show before rallying in protest.
The tweet came from @ColbertReport which if anyone actually paid attention is not associated with Colbert or The Colbert Report. The official Stephen Colbert twitter handle is @StephenAtHome, but that doesn’t seem to make a difference to Suey Park, a young blogger who uses her Critical Spontaneity page to express opinions on racism. Park has declared a protest under the hashtag #CancelColbert with the goal to end the late night hit show. Even as @ColbertReport tweeted a response semi-apologizing for the confusion, the campaign to have his show canceled has spread like wildfire across the twitterverse. The bit actually had nothing to do with the Asian community or anything called the “Ching-Chong Ding-Dong Foundation.” The piece involved the ongoing argument against the Washington Redskins keeping the racially charged name. In the satirically spun bit, Colbert sided with the Redskin owner, Dan Snyder’s, stance that the name should not change and the American Indian community should just accept it. For anyone actually watching the hilarious bit one could understand the point of the intended race baiting within the context.
A blogger is not usually concerned with responsible reporting as a blog is simply an opinion based forum. However, when you use your forum to instigate activism, one should hold at least a slight sense of responsibility to report the complete facts to its readers. One would hope that after a better understanding of the issue at hand that those currently riled up by the non-controversy would take to twitter to defend Stephen Colbert. As he signed off the bit he included where the real protest should lie, at the doorstep of the Washington Redskins owner. The current backlash and barrage of hate should be aimed where it belongs, at Dan Snyder.
Opinion By Kimberly Beller