FCC Will Not Take Action Against Stephen Colbert For Anti-Trump Monologue

Conservatives love to censor free speech, and late night talk show hosts who make fun of Republicans are a common target. This includes the attacks on David Letterman in 2009 when conservatives falsely accused him of making a joke about Willow Palin while she was a minor. Conservatives probably like his successor, Stephen Colbert, even less. Colbert tends to be much more political than Letterman. This includes this rant against Trump in his monologue following Trump’s interview with John Dickerson:

Mr. Trump, your presidency — I love your presidency. I call it ‘Disgrace the Nation.’ You’re not the POTUS — you’re the BLOTUS. You’re the glutton with the button. You’re a regular ‘Gorge’ Washington. You’re the presi-dunce, but you’re turning into a real prick-tator. Sir you attract more skinheads than free Rogaine. You have more people marching against you than cancer. You talk like a sign language gorilla who got hit in the head. In fact, the only thing your mouth is good for is being Vladimir Putin’s c**k holster. Your presidential library is gonna be a kids menu and a couple of ‘Jugs’ magazines. The only thing smaller than your hands is your tax returns. And you can take that any way you want.

Video of the full monologue follows:

Conservatives complained about the line, “the only thing your mouth is good for is being Vladimir Putin’s c**k holster” (with the potentially offensive word bleeped out when the show aired). Complaints were filed with the FCC, which reviewed Colbert’s monologue and found no violation of their rules: “Consistent with standard operating procedure, the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau has reviewed the complaints and the material that was the subject of these complaints. The Bureau has concluded that there was nothing actionable under the FCC’s rules.”

It was not expected that the FCC would take action against Colbert as it gives a lot of leeway between 10 pm and 6 am. Taking action against comedians mocking Trump would have a chilling effect on freedom of speech.

The election of Donald Trump has been great for the ratings of the late night talk show hosts, and has benefited the more political hosts such as Colbert as opposed to previous ratings leader Jimmy Fallon. Deadline reports:

Colbert’s CBS Late Show will win the 2016-17 TV season in total viewers – CBS’ first win over NBC’s The Tonight Show in overall audience with a season-long host since the 1994-95 TV season. The qualifier excludes the 2009-2010 TV season when NBC replaced Conan O’Brien with Jay Leno midway through the season.

Donald Trump Mocked For Claiming He Is Subject Of Greatest Witch Hunt In American History

Donald Trump, objecting to the appointment of a special counsel to investigate his administration, tweeted: “This is the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history!” The claim came after Robert Mueller was appointed to be special counsel after Trump fired James Comey. Comey is also saying that Trump was trying to influence his judgment about the Russia probe.

This resulted in responses from some of the late night comedians:

President Trump is having one heck of a week. The Justice Department appointed a special counsel to investigate ties between his campaign and Russia, which he did not like at all. But sources inside the White House say when he found out about it, he didn’t yell or scream. He told his staff, “We have nothing to hide.” He was calm. He punched Sean Spicer in the stomach a few times. Then this morning at 7:52 a.m. he got on Twitter and wrote: “This is the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history.” Even his witch hunts are the greatest in American history. –Jimmy Kimmel

It’s been a wild week for President Donald Trump. On Wednesday, the Justice Department appointed a special counsel to investigate Trump’s connections to Russia. Robert Mueller will be the special counsel. And today, Trump reacted by saying, “No fair, why does that guy get to be called special?” I’m kidding; Trump reacted by tweeting, of course. This morning, Donald Trump tweeted that he is the victim of “the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history.” The single greatest — even when he’s whining, Trump still has to be the greatest.–James Corden

Meanwhile, Trump started tweeting again. Today he criticized the Russia investigation, saying, “This is the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history.” Then one guy was like, “Do you still want to see my birth certificate?” –Jimmy Fallon

President Trump today called the appointment of a special counsel to investigate his campaign’s ties to Russia “the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history.” Though it didn’t help his case much when he flew away on a broom. –Seth Meyers

But the best response came from The Washington Post, which reprinted this story:

Nixon, Aides Believe Hearing Is Witchhunt

By Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein
Washington Post Staff Writers
July 21, 1973

President Nixon and his top aides believe that the Senate Watergate hearings are unfair and constitute a “political witchhunt,” according to White House sources.

Despite apparent bipartisan and public support for the hearings and the manner in which they are being conducted, the sources said that the President in the last weeks has expressed bitterness and deep hostility toward the two-month-old proceedings.

“The President,” one source said, “sees the hearings as an attempt to get Richard Nixon and do it just damn unfairly.” According to four separate sources, the hostility toward the hearings is also pervasive in the White House staff, especially among former assistants to H.R. Haldeman and John D. Ehrlichman, the deposed former top presidential aides…

We know how that “witchhunt” turned out.

Late Night Comedians On Donald Trump Declining To Throw First Pitch

This might not be the most important way in which Donald Trump has varied from the norms for a president, but it did receive attention when he declined to throw the ceremonial first pitch. The Washington Post reported:

Presidents have regularly thrown out the ceremonial first pitch on Opening Day for Washington’s major league team going back more than a century, but the tradition will not resume this year. The Nationals invited President Trump to do the honors on Monday afternoon, when the team opens its 2017 season at Nationals Park against the Miami Marlins, but the White House declined the invitation on Tuesday, citing a scheduling conflict, according to Nationals spokeswoman Jen Giglio.

Late night comedians responded:

“President Trump turned down a chance to throw out the opening day pitch for the Washington Nationals. Turned it down! For some reason, Trump doesn’t want to be surrounded by a bunch of large Hispanic men holding baseball bats.”–Conan O’Brien

“The White House says President Trump will not throw out the first pitch at the Washington Nationals game. Apparently Trump was afraid of hurting his tweeting arm.” –Jimmy Fallon

“Donald Trump does not know how to throw a baseball. That’s what’s going on here…Which is weird. He also doesn’t know how to run a country but he’s not embarrassed to try that….

“I bet a Trump pitch would get about as far as his healthcare bill. You know, just drop halfway down to the plate. And then he’d blame Paul Ryan.”–Trevor Noah

“Today we learned that Trump is violating another norm because he won’t throw out the first pitch at the Washington Nationals’ opening day. I don’t know why. Maybe he’s worried his hands are too small to palm a baseball…

“Here we go, America! Trump won’t throw out the first pitch. What else? He won’t go to the Correspondents’ Dinner. He won’t release his tax returns. He won’t put his business in a blind trust. He doesn’t want to live in D.C. What presidential tradition will Trump abandon next? This Thanksgiving, those turkeys better run.”–Stephen Colbert

Late Night Comics On The Trump Press Conference

After yesterday’s bizarre press conference from Donald Trump, which has me now wondering if Trump has gotten to the talking to pictures on the White House walls stage yet, it was inevitable that the late night comics would concentrate on it. It would have been comedic malpractice if they had not. Here are the highlights:

Stephen Colbert changed his monologue to cover the press conference for obvious reasons.

Jimmy Kimmel played the highlights.

Seth Meyers took A Closer Look.

Jimmy Fallon gave his impression of the press conference for his cold open.

James Corden gave his break down of what occurred.

Or perhaps the funniest commentary of all comes from the right wing which took Trump seriously. For example, Michael Goodwin wrote, Sorry, media — this press conference played very differently with Trump’s supporters. 

The president proved once again that he is the greatest show on Earth. Lions and tigers and elephants are kid stuff next to his high wire act.

Next time, the White House ought to sell popcorn.

Amid feverish reports of chaos on his team and with Democrats fantasizing that Russia-gate is another Watergate, Trump took center stage to declare that reports of his demise are just more fake news…

He did it his way. Certainly no other president, and few politicians at any level in any time, would dare put on a show like that.

In front of cameras, and using the assembled press corps as props, he conducted a televised revival meeting to remind his supporters that he is still the man they elected. Ticking off a lengthy list of executive orders and other actions he has taken, he displayed serious fealty to his campaign promises.

Or there is the laughable claim from Rush LimbaughTrump Triumphs Over Press.

To be fair to conservatives, many do see through Trump. For example, David Brooks wrote, What a Failed Trump Administration Looks Like. He began:

I still have trouble seeing how the Trump administration survives a full term. Judging by his Thursday press conference, President Trump’s mental state is like a train that long ago left freewheeling and iconoclastic, has raced through indulgent, chaotic and unnerving, and is now careening past unhinged, unmoored and unglued…

Quote Of The Day: Jimmy Fallon On The DNC Hack

“The Democratic National Committee was actually hacked because one of its directors clicked on a fake email to change his password, which gave Russia access to his account.

Then Hillary said, ‘I can’t believe you’d be so careless with your email!'” –Jimmy Fallon

Late Night Comics Post Trump Victory

colbert-trump

Trump doesn’t even believe in the existence of global warming, having tweeted: “The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive,” and calling global warming “very expensive BS.” Of course, “Very Expensive BS” is also the motto for Trump University.  –Stephen Colbert

(The New York Times reports that Donald Trump has agreed to settle the lawsuits over Trump University for $25 million.)

Trump is now receiving the classified daily intelligence briefing known as “the book,” making it the only book he owns that doesn’t have his picture on it. –Stephen Colbert

Experts say one of the biggest threats facing Donald Trump’s presidency could be North Korea. Evidently, Kim Jong Un is so incompetent and unstable, they’re worried Trump will give him a Cabinet post.  –Conan O’Brien

(Actually the problem isn’t so much that his top picks are incompetent as that they are racist and extremists.)

Donald Trump said the transition is going well and he has spoken to “many foreign leaders.” Then someone had to explain to Trump that Barack Obama is not a “foreign leader.” –Conan O’Brien

There are reports that Bill Clinton encouraged Donald Trump to run for president. When asked about it, Bill Clinton said, “It hasn’t been this tense around my house since … well, you know…”  –Conan O’Brien

While President Obama met with Donald Trump, Michelle Obama met privately with Melania Trump. Michelle said, “It’s a pleasure to welcome you and Donald to the White House.” Melania said, “It is a pleasure to welcome you and Donald to the White House.” –Jimmy Fallon

Hillary underperformed among women, African-Americans, Hispanics, and young voters. Really the only place she did very well was among pollsters. –Jimmy Kimmel

Late Night Comics On Donald Trump

Conan Photo
In an interview, Newt Gingrich accused Megyn Kelly of being more interested in sex than public policy. Then Kelly explained that everyone is more interested in sex than public policy. –Conan O’Brien

Donald Trump’s campaign has to be getting a little worried because of some of the new poll numbers. Even Trump himself actually admitted that he’s somewhat behind in the polls but not by much. But remember, this is a guy that thinks a million dollars from your dad is just a small loan. –Jimmy Fallon

On Friday, a massive cyber-attack brought down several websites for 11 hours, including Twitter. Experts say it was the best thing to happen to Donald Trump’s campaign in weeks. –Jimmy Fallon

Trump has received his first and only endorsement from a major newspaper — the Las Vegas Review-Journal said that Trump does not represent the danger his critics claim. Which is not exactly a ringing endorsement. That’s like a restaurant review that says this place probably won’t even give you food poisoning. –James Corden

Many news outlets are saying Donald Trump will almost certainly pivot to media and launch his own TV network after the election. Which means as early as next year we could see Trump TV filing for bankruptcy. –Seth Meyers

Quote of the Day: Jimmy Fallon On The Second Presidential Debate

This Feb. 21, 2013 photo released by NBC shows Jimmy Fallon, host of "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon," on the set in New York. The program was nominated for an Emmy award for outstanding variety series, Thursday, July 18, 2013. (AP Photo/NBC, Lloyd Bishop)

Last night was the presidential town hall debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, and the audience was made up of undecided voters — or as they’re also known, the worst people to be in line behind at Baskin-Robbins.

A man in the audience asked Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump to say one positive thing that they respect about each other. At this point, both candidates claimed their microphone was broken.

Trump later tried to downplay the comments, saying it was just locker-room banter. People didn’t know what was crazier, his excuse or the idea that Trump’s ever been to a gym. –Jimmy Fallon

The Two Worst People In America Debate

trump-clinton-debate

The two worst people in America debated last night. Donald Trump was not intellectually capable of challenging Hillary Clinton’s long history of bad decisions and poor judgement throughout her career. Clinton was better prepared, and it didn’t take much to out-debate a buffoon like Trump. It is a shame that Jill Stein and Gary Johnson weren’t allowed to participate and provide a more meaningful challenge to Clinton.

George W. Bush and Barack Obama both recovered from poor debate performances to win reelection. Sanders did better against Clinton as the debates went on. Maybe Trump will do better in future debates, but I’m not sure that he has the ability to improve. He did start out looking like he had a chance, trying to look calm and presidential in the first half-hour. Watching Donald Trump trying to remain calm was like watching Bruce Banner, wondering when he would turn into the Hulk. It didn’t take long for Trump to repeatedly interrupt Clinton and look foolish making faces while she was speaking.

The debate was primarily a contest based upon such superficial matters, with limited consideration of the issues. Without Stein or Johnson present, nobody was going to look at the issues which neither major party candidate has any interest in, such as ending the state of perpetual warfare started after 9/11, or curtailing the surveillance state.

The initial polls, such as from CNN, showed Clinton to be the winner, but I doubt that many supporters of either candidate will change their minds based upon the debate. The debate might help Clinton with some undecided voters, but McClatchy found Clinton to lose some support among swing state voters in their focus group.

NPR has the full transcript with fact checking.

I also noticed a reversal in the red/blue partisan color coding at this debate. Donald Trump wore a blue suit while Hillary Clinton wore a red pantsuit. Next debate, Donald Trump should be required to wear the red pantsuit.

A farce like this provided a lot of material for the late night comedians. Jimmy Fallon had this to say: There were actually 1,000 people in the audience tonight and they were instructed not to applaud or cheer during the debate. As people watching were like, “What about sobbing? Can we quietly sob?”

Jimmy Kimmel summed up the entire election campaign: This was expected to be the most-watched debate ever. The ratings were expected to rank up with the finale of “Cheers,” the finale of “M.A.S.H.” Makes sense, in a way this election feels like the series finale of America.

The difference in the debate was preparation, as Stephen Colbert explained: Hillary was so prepared, my new nickname for her is Preparation H.

Below is the video of Colbert’s coverage of the debate:

Seth Meyers took A Closer Look at the debate. Video below. He even fact-checked Clinton: Ahead of tonight’s debate, Hillary Clinton posted an article on Twitter pointing out that no living president has endorsed Donald Trump. Nice try, Hillary, but it just so happens that Vladimir Putin is living.

Late Night Comics On Hillary Clinton

Jimmy Fallon

Hillary Clinton said this weekend that she’s going to be at all the presidential debates, despite Trump protesting the schedule. Hillary said that even if Trump doesn’t show, she’s changed her positions enough that she can just debate herself. –Jimmy Fallon

Hillary Clinton supporters had a fundraiser tonight at a cyber security convention in Las Vegas; all the proceeds will go toward teaching Hillary how to use her email account. –Jimmy Kimmel

Turns out Melania Trump’s professional website has been deleted following allegations that she lied about graduating from college. She just deleted the whole thing. As if copying Michelle Obama wasn’t enough, now she’s copying Hillary Clinton. –Jimmy Fallon

Hillary Clinton gave her big speech at the Democratic Convention this evening. And there was an awkward moment when she finished the speech and said, “Now where’s my check?” –Conan O’Brien

(After Hillary Clinton broke the glass ceiling) Donald Trump vowed that when he is president he will replace the broken glass ceiling with a reinforced titanium steel ceiling and that women are going to pay for it. –James Corden

Of course, it’s the Democratic Convention, which began last night. There were several big moments, and by the end, everyone was chanting “I’m With Her!” Unfortunately for Hillary, they were talking about Michelle Obama. –Jimmy Fallon

Donald Trump is now leading Hillary Clinton by 28 points with white voters without a college degree. However, Hillary is ahead by 98 points with voters who went to Trump University. –Conan O’Brien