Here are the two final clips from Stephen Colbert’s final episode. I thought it was a good ending, somewhat sentimental but avoiding the trap of being sappy. And you can amuse yourself by seeing how many people you can identify. The list unfortunately includes some of the dregs of politics and journalism and at least one war criminal. You can see a comprehensive list here.
(These clips aired on December 18, 2014. To get suggestions on how to view clips of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report outside the US, please see this earlier post. If the videos autoplay, please see here for a diagnosis and possible solutions.)
When Colbert blasted the media in his celebrated 2006 White House Correspondents Association dinner speech for being essentially stenographers for the Bush administration, they were displeased. He had been on the air only a year or so and thus had not as yet become so well known. But the presence of so many of those derided journalists at the farewell shows that they now realize how influential he has been, more so than they could eve hope to be.
It would seem obvious that what Colbert was doing on his show was satire. But apparently not everyone gets the joke and it turns out that the more conservative you are, the more likely that you think that he genuinely shares your views and it even increases their conservatism. The same thing was true back in the days of the TV show All in the Family where many people thought that Archie was the person who ‘won’ each episode with his bigoted views.
The reason for this may be that both Colbert and Bunker are not portrayed as mean and these viewers found that having someone on TV say what they would say resulted in them bonding with the characters and thus wanting to believe in them.
I am going to miss the show but as they say, it is better to leave the stage with people wanting more than to overstay your welcome.