BROOKE GLADSTONE: On Wednesday, Stanley Kurtz, contributing editor of The National Review Online, wrote that the liberal media's biased coverage has, quote, "inclined us to dismiss reports about problems in Iraq that are real. In the end, the media bear fundamental responsibility for this." Got that? By reporting so much bad news, the liberal media are to blame for us not believing all that bad news.
Stephen Colbert, host of Comedy Central's Colbert Report, made much the same point more succinctly at the 2006 White House Correspondents Dinner. STEPHEN COLBERT: And reality has a well-known liberal bias. [LAUGHTER] BROOKE GLADSTONE: Only, he was kidding. Kind of kidding. From his very first show, Stephen Colbert has told the sharpest truths by skewering the very idea of truth. [GONG-LIKE SOUND] STEPHEN COLBERT: Truthiness! [LAUGHTER] Now, I'm sure some of the word police, the wordinistas over at Webster's are gonna say hey, that's not a word. BROOKE GLADSTONE: Not anymore. In fact, truthiness was named Merriam Webster's 2006 Word of the Year. With a single word, Colbert summed up our bewildering political climate where facts have no special status. With a single word around which he has constructed a devastating character, Colbert slays the tribunes of truthiness. STEPHEN COLBERT: Do you know you have more nerve endings in your stomach than in your head? [LAUGHTER] Look it up! [LAUGHTER] Now, somebody's gonna say, I did look that up, and it's wrong. [LAUGHTER] Well, Mister, that's 'cause you looked it up in a book! [LAUGHTER] Next time, try looking it up--in your gut. [LAUGHTER] BROOKE GLADSTONE: On Charlie Rose earlier this month, Colbert observed that his comedic colleague Jon Stewart deconstructs the news. "By contrast," said Colbert, "I falsely construct the news." Every night Stewart tells us that the emperor has no clothes. Every night Colbert assumes the role of the emperor.
STEPHEN COLBERT: The-- [LAUGHTER] --truthiness is anyone can read the news to you. I promise to feel the news, at you. [LAUGHTER] [APPLAUSE] BROOKE GLADSTONE: That's why Stephen Colbert was anointed Man of the Year by so many insider websites, like iwantmedia and Media Bistro. Time Magazine may have wimpily awarded all of us that distinction, but the other night when Colbert held up that issue of Time with the mirror on the cover and said: STEPHEN COLBERT: Now, it's impossible for Time to bestow this honor directly on each of you, individually. So we'll need to elect a spokesman. I nominate me. [LAUGHTER] So, I humbly accept this Person of the Year Award on behalf of everyone else. BROOKE GLADSTONE: The troubadour of truthiness once again spoke truth. He spoke on our behalf, just as he's been doing all year. And he should have won the prize. Well, actually, he did win it--in our gut. And that's the truth. [MUSIC]
BOB GARFIELD: That's it for this week's show. On the Media was
produced by Megan Ryan, Tony Field, Jamie York, Mike Phillips and Mike Vuolo, and edited by Brooke. Dylan Keefe is our technical director and Jennifer Munson our engineer.
We had engineering help from Rob Christianson and other help from Michael McLaughlin and Alicia Rebensdorf. Our webmaster is Amy Pearl. BROOKE GLADSTONE: Katya Rogers is our senior producer and John Keefe our executive producer. Bassist/composer Ben Allison wrote our theme. This is On the Media from WNYC. I’m Brooke Gladstone. BOB GARFIELD: And I’m Bob Garfield.
BROOKE AND BOB (SINGING): Fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la. [MUSIC TAG]