Bob Somerby's analytical skills are often at their lowest ebb whenever he tries to play Bismark, The Honest Broker, and takes on the perceived perfidy of the liberal blogosphere. In addressing the Colbert appearance at the White House Press Cwhore dinner, Somerby quotes a reader e-mail posted at an (unnamed) liberal blog which compared the relative lack of press coverage of Colbert to the greater coverage of Don Imus' remarks at the 1996 Radio and Television Correspondents' Dinner. Somerby bravely advises the losers and rubes (that might be you) that the latter was a news story because "the press corps" "felt" Imus was rude to Clinton, citing the fact that "[t]he committee that organized the event has issued a formal apology to the president."
Leaving aside Somerby's conflation of the dinner's organizing committee with "the press corps," and of the issuance of an apology with sincere feeling, there's certainly no dearth of whiners who think Colbert was rude to Bush. (Including perhaps Somerby, who calls Colbert's material "inaapropriate" and thinks Colbert acted in bad faith because he signed a contract -- a contract, dammit! -- to do only funny and appropriate material.) More fundamentally, Somerby doesn't quote "the press corps" stating that they don't think Colbert was rude to Bush. Accordingly, Somerby doesn't make the case he claims to make: that the difference in coverage was due to "the press corps"' differing evaluations of the rudeness of the respective performances.
You become more and more like the others, Bob. Not we.
But the main point of this post is Somerby's quotation of this contemporaneous account of the '96 dinner:
"ABC's Cokie Roberts says she will never -- repeat, never -- be a guest on the Imus radio show again."
Of course, never is a long time when you've got a column to peddle. And no one actually expects you to follow through with a declaration of principle anyway.
But I'd guess what really got Cokie's peeve on ten years ago wasn't the Clinton Astroturf gags, but rather this direct hit:
"My favorite moment on World News Tonight was when Peter threw it to Cokie Roberts who we were told was standing outside the Capitol building, remember that when they chromo-keyed Cokie outside the Capitol."
There's nothing as funny as the truth.
And now Cokie can "never" appear on The Daily Show, as they stole one of her best bits.