New York Times Runs Article on Colbert Blogstorm

Posted on May 3, 2006

The New York Times is finally reporting on the growing blogstorm over Stephen Colbert's speech at the White House Correspondents Dinner. This is definitely another incident where bloggers motivated the mainstream media to report on something. It is possibly proof that if bloggers can post enough on a topic the mainstream media will eventually be forced to report on it. Thousands of blogs have discussed Colbert's speech over the past four days. You can some of the coverage in a post we made on Monday about the developing blogstorm. Since that post Colbert posts have increased and are now running nearly 4,000 posts per day. The Technorati graph on the right shows the increasing number of posts. A website called "Thank You Stephen Colbert" now has over 32,000 thank yous. The Times reports that Stephen Colbert was selected as the WHCA speaker by Associated Press reporter Mark Smith.

Mark Smith, a reporter for The Associated Press who is president of the White House Correspondents' Association, acknowledges that he had not seen much of Stephen Colbert on Comedy Central before he booked him as the main entertainment for the association's annual black-tie dinner on Saturday night. But he says he knew enough about Mr. Colbert -- "He not only skewers politicians, he skewers those of us in the media" -- to expect that he would cause some good-natured discomfort among the 2,600 guests, many of them politicians and reporters.

What Mr. Smith did not anticipate, he said, was that Mr. Colbert's nearly 20-minute address would become one of the most hotly debated topics in the politically charged blogosphere. Mr. Colbert delivered his remarks in character as the Bill O'Reillyesque commentator he plays on "The Colbert Report," although this time his principal foil, President Bush, was just a few feet away.

Smith says he found Colbert very funny and never thought about pressing pause on his performance. He tells the Times, "There was nothing he said where I would have leapt up to say, 'Stop.'"

The Times article neglected to list specific blogs but they did cite a Gawker poll that gave voters only two choices: "One of the most patriotic acts I've witnessed of any individual" or "Not really that funny?"

Those two choices show how most either found Colbert very funny and heroic or simply not funny. As we mentioned on Monday some in the "not funny crowd" even call the speech disrespectful and think Colbert owes the President an apology. This is not really a divided issue as the Times article appears to suggest. If you browse through the posts on Technorati you will find considerably more bloggers that found the speech funny than those who did not.

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