Not Funny: A Nice White House Press Corps
The White House press corps last week found itself embroiled in controversy -- a controversy over its efforts to avoid controversy at an event whose guests include President Bush.
One of the purposes of the White House press corps is to provide a kind of scathingly loyal opposition. Journalists who do not question, investigate, and otheewise trouble the Chief are not doing their job, and as recent failures of critical journalism (think WMD in Iraq) prove, complacent journalists do not serve the public either. Traditionally, the annual press corps dinner has been a venue for at least a gentle roasting of the sitting president. According to this story in the Washington Post, Stephen Colbert hurt the presidential feelings last year, and this year everyone wants to make sure that Bush doesn't feel like throwing his toys out of the pram. Solution? Replace Colbert with Rich Little.
Little is, of course, a great comedian. If he were a rock band, he would rank right up there with the Beatles. And he won't mention Iraq, not because he was restrained from doing so, but because he doesn't find any humor in the subject. His signature imitations have always been more or less apolitical. Content does not signify - Little can imitate anybody, with hilarious results. He is perhaps a fitting choice for a press corps whose output is usually innocuous, if not downright nice.And that is not funny-not in the least.