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Sweet: My night with George Clooney (well, I did see him) TUESDAY UPDATE: Debate on STEPHEN COLBERT string

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Notes from the glamorous Saturday night White House Correspondents Dinner, where Hollywood meets Washington.

Find out where Condi Rice got her hair done before the dinner....

*George Clooney, the actor, writer, director drew a constant crowd of gawkers around him. He’s been in Washington to draw attention to the genocide in Darfur….He’s part of a Save Darfur rally on the mall today.
At the pre-dinner Newsweek party, Clooney was pinned in a circle of camera snapping admirers.

*The power couple of the evening were Valerie Plame, in a long white sleek gown and her dashing looking husband Joseph Wilson. Plame is the former CIA agent at the center of the leak probe being investigated by Chicago-based U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald.
(Fitzgerald has a policy of turning down invites for these kinds of dinners.)

*Self-deprecating political humor is the best. I’ve been to a bunch of press dinners with Bush, and he mocks himself the best.

The White House ordered two podiums for the head table ``stage’’ for President Bush and he shared the spotlight with a Bush impersonator, Steve Bridges. Bridges was Bush’s alter ego, his thought bubble, speaking what was really on his mind:
• Laura Bush? ``She’s hot!’’ and Caliente!’’
• ``I survived the White House shake-up.’’
• ``Why can’t I have dinner with the 36 percent that like me?’’

*Comedy Central’s Stephen Colbert, the keynoter, had his moments in a taped piece of schtick, a take-off of a real White House press briefing where he was the press secretary.

*Names make news….Secretary of State Condi Rice...who my buddy saw getting her hair done in the afternoon at the hair salon in the Watergate complex (she lives there).....people in the salon call her Dr. Rice......Education Secretary Margaret Spellings in a goofy skirt…Fired FEMA Director Michael Brown making the rounds…Henry Kissinger, still turning eyeballs…Actress Anna Deveare Smith… GOP advisor Mary Matlin…
….Former Chicagoan and Village Voice columnist Toni Schlesinger, author of the just published ``Five Flights Up: And other New York Apartment Stories’’….Director of National Intelligence John Negroponte…Actor/activist Joe Pantoliano…..Former Commerce Secretary Bill Daley…..Desperate Housewives' James Denton......RNC chief Ken Mehlman.... Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Peter Pace and Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito.
.....Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright....I'll be at a reporters breakfast with her on Monday, to talk about her new book released Tuesday, "The Mighty and the Almighty: Reflections on America, God, and World Affairs."

24 Comments

why is henry kissinger still turning eyeballs? you mean people are rolling their eyes at him or he has charisma, or he's still a cowboy, ala orianna fallaci's interview...
i'll take clooney any day!!

You are so out of touch. Colbert ruled the night. All of America knows that -- to see the press so frightened was a real eye opener.

DARFUR:
MY QUESTION TO THE "WE WANT MORE" FROM THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION.....WHAT EXACTLY DOES "MORE" MEAN? TROOPS? MONEY? MORE U.N.? WHAT'S THE SOLUTION?

BUSH HAS AND IS DOING HIS BEST, BUT SOMEHOW THEY WANT "MORE"? UNLIKE THE CLINTON ADMN THAT DID NOTHING ON RWANDA BUT THEIR "I'M SORRY QUIVERING LIP EXCUSE" WAS ACCEPTED AND ALL FORGIVEN!

HEY, WHAT'S CLOONEY TRYING TO DO...TAKE A PAGE OUT OF BONO'S BOOK???

Ms. Sweet: Certainly you have more to say on Stephen Colbert's performance. He stood there for ten minutes and blistered the president with the type of political satire that we have not seen in a generation, and the only comment you have is his (rather long) press conference video. I am interested to hear your thoughts on the performance.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Lynn Sweet reply: You want more?Ok. Given the potential material, I expected better.

Didn't Bush's alter ego (Bridges) make you feel like he was coming too close to the truth? After a few lines, the joke became the message: "the truth doesn't matter - and neither do you" - meaning the press corps.

It's so telling the mainstream media, including you, Lynn, failed to see the humor in Stephen Colbert's performance. I thought he was magnificent.

Ms. Sweet.

You expected "better" of Stephen Colbert.

It was the most electric and searing comic performance in a decade. You are insensate inside, because you are part of a compromised clique of individuals in the mainstream press. Free yourself, before you lose every shred of your intellectual dignity.

Colbert told the truth. Maybe you didn't find that too funny. Maybe you prefer truthiness to the truth.

Lynn,

You are doing a poor job of covering up your lack of reporting on Colbert's disassembly of the press corps and Chimpy McFlightsuit.

But since you refuse to do your JOB as a "journalist", for the benefit of your blog readers, here are some of Mr. Colbert's "not as good as Lynn Sweet would have expected" performance:

"I believe that the government that governs best is a government that governs least, and by these standards we have set up a fabulous government in Iraq."

"When the president decides something on Monday, he still believes it on Wednesday -- no matter what happened Tuesday."

Colbert complained that he was “surrounded by the liberal media who are destroying this country, except for Fox News. Fox believes in presenting both sides of the story — the president’s side and the vice president’s side."

Colbert, who spoke in the guise of his talk-show character, who ostensibly supports the president strongly, urged Bush to ignore his low approval ratings, saying they were based on reality, “and reality has a well-known liberal bias.��?

Judging by the near-complete and self-imposed media blackout on Colbert's performance, you can notch this up as reason # 12,533 that theres NO SUCH THING AS "THE LIBERAL MEDIA".

Note to "M.WATOR":

See that key sandwiched neatly between the [tab] key and the [shift] key? That's known as the "Caps Lock" key. Do not fear it, it is your friend.

Typing in all caps does not lend any credibility to your defense of the criminal Bush administration.

But you did play the Right's favorite "last resort" card. When what Preznit Chimpy does is indefensible, BLAME CLINTON!! lmao

So Ms. Sweet thinks that the KEYNOTE speaker's incendiary (and deserved) comments towards the President and the Press weren't important enough to mention, but finding out where Condi "Oil Tanker" Rice gets her hair done IS?!?!?

Now that's what I call investigative journamalism....
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Lynn Sweet reply....it's journalism.

"Lynn Sweet reply....it's journalism."

Umm, no. Journalism is the actual investigation of newsworthy events. No to be confursed with "cutting copying and pasting" White House press releases.

That's a different animal altogether. Hence, the term "journamalism".

To read your column, it would seem that Bush was the sole entertainment at
the White House Correspondent's Dinner. Even these days, when journalists
seem more interested in being in the "in" crowd than they do in raising
awkward truths, the complete media blackout of Stephen Colbert's biting
critique of this president and press corp is stunning.

I'm not surprised that you and the rest of your media colleagues would find
Colberts take on the cozy relationship you enjoy with the President
uncomfortable. The fact is, however, that judging by Bush's approval
ratings, the message underlying Colbert's monologue resonates with far more
people than does your "isn't Bush just a regular guy" whitewashing.

I know you'll say that you didn't find it funny, or that you found it
disrespectful, but that is precisely because under this administration, it
is almost unheard of that the President would come so close to anyone who
disagrees with him. Add in the fact that the media itself was the target of
Colbert's send-up, and one can begin to understand the discomfort in the
room. I suppose I can understand that, but what I can't understand is how
you could write an entire column without even mentioning the most
fascinating dymanic of the evening: that someone actually stood beside this
president and in front of the press corp and presented a take on their
relationship that made both incredibly uneasy.
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Lynn Sweet reply: my remark had nothing to do with Colbert taking on the WH press corps. fine with me.
the reason i did not dwell on Colbert in my piece....is that you could see it for yourself on C-Span....which i am guessing you did.....because i was there....i thought i would try to mention things that you may not have seen for yourself. colbert was just one element in a long evening...

"the reason i did not dwell on Colbert in my piece....is that you could see it for yourself on C-Span....which i am guessing you did.....because i was there....i thought i would try to mention things that you may not have seen for yourself."

So by your logic, you never, ever write about anything that your readers can learn about elsewhere.

Hogwash... Lame Excuse... Try Again... Or maybe just admit that your readers are on to something here.

Come clean, Lynn. America is BEGGING for honest journalism.

Or, continue your mission as a BushCo/NeCon apologist.
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Lynn Reply..... regarding this comment....
So by your logic, you never, ever write about anything that your readers can learn about elsewhere....
.....no. not the case. i dont have hard and fast ``rules.'' you were addressing the Saturday dinner....and why i wrote what i did. i explained.
as for your other comment..it's a positive if readers are on to something... ...i hope readers are on to something. .....the point of a blog is to have the readers add their comments....and just where does this bushco/neocon stuff come from?

Lynn,

First off, thanks for addressing my comments head on. The majority of commentators would much rather ignore the proverbial "elephant in the room".

"you were addressing the Saturday dinner....and why i wrote what i did. i explained. "

That doesn't jibe with your print column for today. Your print column details the funny, but mild "Bush's twin brother" part of the dinner but doesn't even mention Colbert in passing. Are you suggesting that Bush's schtick wasn't viewable on CSPAN? To be clear, my issue is not with your blog entry about the dinner, it's with your print column, which has a much wider viewership.

"the point of a blog is to have the readers add their comments"

Don't tell that to the most popular right-wing blogs, like Powerline and Malkin. No comments allowed. But I digress...

"just where does this bushco/neocon stuff come from"

As a native Chicagoan and reader of the Sun Times for 20+ years, it isn't exactly a secret which side of the political spectrum you cheerlead for on an almost daily basis.

As mentioned by a reader above, you are one of those "journalists" that pushses the "everyday man" Bush persona, while going out of your way to poke fun at something as benign as Howard Dean misplacing his wallet in an airport (remember that one?). This is evidenced by your decision to enlighten readers with the location of Condi's hairdresser. Which is located in the Watergate hotel. Which is the location of a quickly developing "hookers for money" scandal involving only Republican lawmakers. Which, as juicy and "made for TV" as this story is, you have avoided like the plague.

CONTEXT: http://www.mediainfo.com/eandp/news/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1002425356

Now I know you're more of an opinion columnist than a journalist, but haven't you started to get the feeling yet that you and the rest of the fawing press corps have been taken for a ride?
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LYNN SWEET REPLY...
re the print column...let me try to demystify the process here..... .the colbert item in the blog.. ..was cut out of the print column because there was no space to print the whole thing. that decision on space was not made by me.... by an editor in chicago....i did not know the colbert item was deleted in the print version..... no conspiracy.

"...and just where does this bushco/neocon stuff come from?"

Perhaps you can use some of your impressive investigatory skills and find the answer to this question. Then you can not tell us that too.

RESUBMITTED WITH SPELLING CORRECTIONS.

Lynn,

First off, thanks for addressing my comments head on. The majority of commentators would much rather ignore the proverbial "elephant in the room".

"you were addressing the Saturday dinner....and why i wrote what i did. i explained. "

That doesn't jibe with your print column for today. Your print column details the funny, but mild "Bush's twin brother" part of the dinner but doesn't even mention Colbert in passing. Are you suggesting that Bush's schtick wasn't viewable on CSPAN? To be clear, my issue is not with your blog entry about the dinner, it's with your print column, which has a much wider viewership.

"the point of a blog is to have the readers add their comments"

Don't tell that to the most popular right-wing blogs, like Powerline and Malkin. No comments allowed. But I digress...

"just where does this bushco/neocon stuff come from"

As a native Chicagoan and reader of the Sun Times for 20+ years, it isn't exactly a secret which side of the political spectrum you cheerlead for on an almost daily basis.

As mentioned by a reader above, you are one of those "journalists" that pushses the "everyday man" Bush persona, while going out of your way to poke fun at something as benign as Howard Dean misplacing his wallet in an airport (remember that one?). This is evidenced by your decision to enlighten readers with the location of Condi's hairdresser. Which is located in the Watergate hotel. Which is the location of a quickly developing "hookers for favors" scandal involving only Republican lawmakers. Which, as juicy and "made for TV" as this story is, you have avoided like the plague.

CONTEXT: http://www.mediainfo.com/eandp/news/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1002425356

Now I know you're more of an opinion columnist than a journalist, but haven't you started to get the feeling yet that you and the rest of the fawning press corps have been taken for a ride?

BTW, we can all thank Mr. Colbert here:

http://thankyoustephencolbert.org/wordpress/archives/3


Dear Ms. Sweet,

You neglected to mention what was easily the most controversial aspect to the White House Correspondents Dinner: Steven Colbert's blistering satirical attack on the administration and the press.

Why the omission?
Karen
Naperville
==================================
LYNN SWEET REPLY
omission? please send along the quotes that back-up your point. i was looking at the event as a whole. Colbert was one element. His poking fun at the press corps and the president--must have seemed tougher to you than it did to me. i was in the room, attended the dinner and wrote what i wrote to give more of a sense of the entire event. by the way...i write a lot of serious stuff that never gets this much attention.

Colbert's comments were funny, but a bit meanspirited for this kind of occasion.

Colbert's comment were on target...sometimes the truth hurts ...and it was definately the right context and occassion. I have not seen or heard such eviscerating truth since seeing Rev. Joseph Lowery at Coretta Scott King's funeral. It is about time the press got some back bone. Kudos to Colbert for his courage to speak truth....with wit.

Bush ...and America need a reality check. The cornerstone of a Democracy is a free Press...one that is able to present multiple persepctives and ideas. We have not had that in a long time.

Lynn,
I think your comment about "serious stuff" betrays the sort of thinking that would cause you to view Colbert's comments as no big deal. To many, Colbert's evisceration of the president and the press was exactly the sort of critique that's been missing for a few years now. Instead of writing about it, you noted the president's self-deprecation, as if we should be honored to have a president who can do a "Who's dumber?" routine with an impersonator. The president wasn't making jokes, he is one. And Colbert did his best to zing the whole sycophantic room. Which is why it seems more than a little suspicious when those syncophants with columns don't even acknowledge his presence.
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LYNN SWEET REPLY...My blog item did note Colbert....but did not, as you and others note, deal with his comments.

What Colbert's speech and this blog have in common are the ability to speak 'truthiness' to power, in Colbert's case, to a person who has nearly infinite power (by his own designation) and who has chosen to live in a self-protective bubble that brooks no disagreement. In Lynn's case, it is a person who has a bully pulpit, but who still answers to editors and does make a concerted effort to turn the loam to add some air. While she may or may not have been in on the DS or Colbert Report Emperor's new clothes reporting, it's not fair to equate the two on an equal level. Take a hint from the Comedy Central duo and lighten up a bit.

IMHO:
Mark Twain,
Will Rogers,
Stephen Cobert.

Ms. Sweet's complete silence on the charge of the syncophancy of the press towards the Bush administration speaks rather loudly, don't you think?

The 10th anniversary of the press first pulling out its kid gloves for then-Gov. Bush's presidential campaign is not that far off. Will you be covering that party, too, Ms. Sweet? Of course, I must not get ahead of myself: the White House needs your help feeding lies to the American people again for another ill-advised war in the Middle East!

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on May 2, 2006 8:42 AM.

Immigration: Senate is trying again. was the previous entry in this blog.

McClellan: Reacts to Sun-Times story on gang members in the U.S. military in Iraq. Bush talks to President Bushir of Sudan on Darfur genocide. is the next entry in this blog.

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