"Stephen Colbert's 'testimony' before Congress last week was a clear sign that ironic rot (if you’ve got a better term, let me know) is sinking into the foundation of our political system," says Jonah Goldberg at the National Review. In a broader cultural sense, the condition started with the "detached mockery" of David Letterman, "Saturday Night Live" and "Seinfeld." It reached a more advanced stage with Jon Stewart's sometimes brilliant "fake news program" "The Daily Show." An excerpt:
"The Daily Show" begat "The Colbert Report," in which Colbert plays a jingoistic, know-it-all borderline bigot whose standard for veracity can be summarized with the word “truthiness.”
In other words, he pretends to be what many liberals claim Bill O’Reilly is. That’s the joke. Get it?
It was this Stephen Colbert who was invited to testify before a House judiciary subcommittee on immigration and labor. It was an excruciatingly inappropriate spectacle. "This is America," Colbert inveighed. "I don’t want a tomato picked by a Mexican."
But who, exactly, is Colbert parodying here? O’Reilly doesn’t talk like that. Nor does Sean Hannity or any of the usual targets Colbert’s supposed to be lampooning. The real upshot of Colbert’s shtick is that he’s mocking people who disagree with him — or with the left-wing base of the Democratic party — on the complicated issue of immigration.