U.S. Politics

Are Networks Being Fully Forthcoming About Their Campaign-Paid Contributors?

Are Networks Being Fully Forthcoming About Their Campaign-Paid Contributors?

 Corey Lewandowski appears on CNN’s “OutFront” to comment on the Republican nominee’s potential VP choices.


Last night, Anderson Cooper had an awkward exchange with Stephen Colbert on The Late Show, during which the host asked him about CNN’s relationship with former Trump campaign head Corey Lewandowski. Colbert was interested in the impartiality, or lack thereof, that Lewandowski might display because of his continued ties to Trump.

“You all are paying him and Trump is paying him… and he’s on your show doing analysis for a man he still gets cash from?” Colbert asked Cooper.

“Pretty much,” Cooper replied, with a bit of a stutter.

After being asked if Cooper still respects Lewandowski’s opinion, he hedged, saying, “We have people from all the campaigns… I mean, we have campaign surrogates for Hillary Clinton on.”

Cooper was attempting to make the point that campaign representatives were invited onto the networks all the time, to discuss the candidates they work for. This was a side-step, however, away from what Colbert was underscoring: that Lewandowski was not supposed to be a representative of Trump invited to make a one-time appearance on the network; he was instead a contributor being paid by CNN while simultaneously collecting money from the man he was hired to critique — or simply observe, as it happens.

Last month, nearly three weeks after Lewandowski was hired, CNN began to disclose that he was still receiving “severance” from the Trump campaign. Lewandowski later admitted that was still advising the Trump campaign, and continues to work at CNN.

Although Lewandowski’s hiring at CNN seems to run directly contrary to the idea of impartial coverage (especially considering Lewandowski signed a non-disclosure agreement and, knowing Trump, that may include language about disparaging Trump), there are several political “commentators” who regularly appear on networks that have significant ties to major political campaigns.

In fact, a report earlier this year by The Intercept found that networks frequently failed to disclose pundits’ ties to campaigns. The report cited several specific examples, including Stephanie Cutter, who is a political pundit often referred to as a “former campaign official for President Barack Obama,” but who has done work to the tune of over $100,000 for the Clinton campaign through her consulting firm.

Sara Fagen, who generally appears with the tagline “Republican strategist,” regularly appeared on CBNC during the primaries, and neither Fagen nor the network disclosed that the consulting firm she co-founded was paid over half a million dollars by the Bush campaign.

So it’s not just CNN: multiple networks seem to be deliberately keeping viewers in the dark about the true ties between their contributors and major campaigns.

When viewers do find out, however, there is often outrage, as has been the case with the Lewanowski disclosures. TheWaPo report discussed CNN’s attempted reboot of Crossfire, and the heat the network took after having Rand Paul on the show, to whom host Newt Gingrich had given money. At no time was that fact disclosed on the show, of course.

Here’s the network’s response to the Crossfire SNAFU:

Crossfire hosts have never been required to disclose their contributions regarding guests on the show because their political support and activism are there for all to see. It’s obvious they support liberals or conservatives.

A non-response response like that indicates the network believes their viewership is dumb enough to accept it. Although it may be obvious which way a network host or contributor leans, the nitty gritty of funds being directly paid by major political candidates is often purposely obscured.

The responsibility is on the networks first to disclose to viewers that their coverage may be impacted by the presence of paid campaign surrogates, in all instances. The continuing employment of Lewandowski by CNN, however, indicates that networks aren’t concerned with transparency.

U.S. Politics

Jon Stewart to Join Stephen Colbert on ‘The Late Show’ for the Republican National Convention

John Stewart | Getty

Everyone probably knows this information by now.  However, just in case you haven’t…(ks)


The former Comedy Central colleagues will reunite for Colbert’s two weeks of live episodes.

Jon Stewart just couldn’t stay away from this year’s election.

The former Daily Show host is set to take part in Stephen Colbert’s Late Show live episodes for the Republican National Convention, The Hollywood Reporter confirmed. Stewart also will appear on the Late Show on Monday.

His role isn’t yet clear, but Colbert, the former Daily Show correspondent, has two full weeks planned for The Late Show on CBS covering both the Republican and Democratic conventions, which he has dubbed: “The 2016 Trumpublican Donational Conventrump” and “The 2016 Democratic National Convincing, A Technically Historic Event: Death. Taxes. Hillary,” respectively.

Colbert will broadcast live starting Monday, with on-site teams in Cleveland for the Republican convention and Philadelphia for the Democratic event. His guests for the two weeks of live shows include Senator Elizabeth Warren, John Oliver, Jeff Daniels, Keegan-Michael Key and former U.S. Congressman Anthony Weiner.

CBS declined to comment to The Hollywood Reporter.

by Jennifer Konerman

U.S. Politics

Colbert hilariously mocks the GOP and Rubio’s new campaign slogan: ‘Oh, you’re such a catch?”

Marco Rubio's new campaign slogan according to Stephen Colbert (Screen capture)

(Screen capture)


So Donald Trump won the Nevada Caucus and the GOP is moving from denial and fear to acceptance that he is going to be the next Republican nominee. Stephen Colbert had some fun mocking the Republican party on Wednesday night’s “Late Show” for going all in on not their first choice or even their second choice, but Marco Rubio.

As he told his victory rally, Donald Trump won every demographic from young and old to highly educated to “poorly educated. I love the poorly educated,” he admitted.

“I bet you do,” Colbert joked. But that wasn’t all. According to Colbert, Trump also won “Elvis impersonators, white tiger handlers, even master illusionists!” Trump won so many votes he scored more votes than Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio combined! Rubio couldn’t even jump on Cruz’s shoulder’s with a giant trench coat and beat Trump.

“I’m not sure if I’m horrified or entertained,” Colbert said. “It’s like watching one of those nature documentaries where the python unhinges its jaw and slowly swallowed the capybara and then becomes President of the United States.”

Now that Trump is “winning all of these primaries has caused the establishment republicans to realize that Trump is winning all these primaries,” Colbert said before showing clips of GOP acceptance. “Like many other Las Vegas visitors, the GOP woke up this morning with a raging hangover wondering what the hell happened last night.”

The whole thing is causing so much turmoil in a Republican party that is overwhelmed by the Tea Party. “This billionaire having his way with the election is shocking and unthinkable to the billionaires who have their way with our elections.” Now they’ve realized they need to do something so they formed a super PAC headed by the family that owns the Chicago Cubs since the Cubs are so well-known for winning.

But they’re not just relying on money, they’re going all in on Marco Rubio, “a man who doesn’t mind telling you he was not your first choice,” Colbert explained before showing Rubio explaining he wasn’t the first or second choice for many people. “He’s just saying the election’s not getting any younger and America needs to settle. He might not be the president of your dreams, but you’ll learn to love him. It’s all summed up in his powerful new campaign slogan, ‘Marco Rubio: Oh you’re such a catch?’”

Check out the video below for an amazing illusionist trick by Colbert:

U.S. Politics

Stephen Colbert’s ‘Trump vs. Trump’ debate reveals just how meaningless but loud Trump actually is

Stephen Colbert (YouTube)

Stephen Colbert (YouTube)


Stephen Colbert celebrated Thursday’s Trump-free Republican presidential debate by holding his own Trump vs. Trump debate.

The “Late Show” host said Donald Trump, the GOP frontrunner, was “the star of this year’s top reality show,” so the debate just wouldn’t be the same without him,

But he said the real estate tycoon and reality TV star showed weakness by backing out of the debate to protest what he sees as “unfair” treatment by Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly.

“After all, why would he want to practice going head-to-head with a strong, blonde woman?” Colbert said.

Colbert then used video footage of Trump’s frequently contradictory statements for a “mano a moutho” debate.

For example, Trump said Jan. 17 that “no one likes” Ted Cruz “once they get to know him,” after saying as recently as Dec. 11 that he liked the Texas senator “a lot.”

Trump also said this month that he loved Iowa and its people, although he wondered during a speech in November just “how stupid are the people of Iowa?”

He described Clinton in July as the “worst Secretary of State in the history of the United States” — although in March 2012 he described her as a “terrific woman” and friend, adding, “I think she does a good job and I like her.”

Trump heaped praise on Kelly in 2011, telling her that he could never beat her skills as a debate moderator. “You have done a great job, by the way, and I mean it,” he added with a smile.

This week, however, Trump said he had “zero respect” for Kelly, adding that she’s not very good at her job and “highly overrated.”

“Mr. Trump, in the past, when you have turned against a woman in that way — she ends up with half your assets,” Colbert cautioned the twice-divorced candidate.

Watch the entire segment posted online by The Late Show With Stephen Colbert:

U.S. Politics

Stephen Colbert just nailed the GOP’s Christian hypocrisy on Syrian refugees with one Bible verse

Stephen Colbert just nailed the GOP's Christian hypocrisy on Syrian refugees with one Bible verse

The Late Show | Screenshot


The object of terrorism is to provoke fear and that’s exactly what ISIS has successfully done to leaders across the United States who now are denying humanitarian assistance to Syrian refugees. On Thursday night’s “Late Show” Stephen Colbert noted that the crisis is all anyone is talking about.

“Whether or not to let Syrian refugees into this country has become the new political issue, completely overshadowing the old political issue, whether to let Mexicans into this country,” Colbert said, a little too on the nose.

But Donald Trump says that Syrians are not going to want to come here anyway. Right now the United States is entering winter while Syrian refugees are probably more accustomed to higher temperatures. Trump wants to know why the hell they’d come to Minnesota where it’s under 40 degrees.

“It’s a tough call for refugees,” Colbert said. “Do I want to stay in a war zone where my family faces almost certain death or do I want to go somewhere where I have to put on a jacket before I go to the mall? I mean you’re walkin’ around, you’re carrying your coat. You get all sweaty. You go outside and forget to put it on and then you get a cold. I’ll take my chances with ISIS.”

Colbert played the clip of President Obama mocking GOP candidates for president who he said was first afraid of debate moderators and now are afraid of women and orphans. He might make a good point, but “why shouldn’t we be scared of three-year-olds? You think you can’t negotiate with terrorists? Try negotiating with a three-year-old.”

But there are a few candidates (Ted Cruz and Jeb Bush) who think that allowing Christian refugees into the country is fine. Cruz went on to say “there is no meaningful risk of Christians committing acts of terror.”

“I’m sure these guys right here are just campers roasting marshmallows,” Colbert said with a photo of the KKK with flaming crosses. “You can tell because they’re each wearing one-man tents.”

After all, like the plaque on the Statue of Liberty says: “Give us your tired, your poor, mostly Christians, and maybe one more two Indian guys with engineering degrees.”

“If you want to know if somebody’s a Christian just ask them to complete this sentence,” Colbert said pulling out his Catechism card. “‘Jesus said I was hungry and you gave me something to eat. I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink. I was a stranger and you….’ And if they don’t say ‘welcomed me in’ then they are either a terrorist or they’re running for president.”

Watch Colbert drop the mic here:

U.S. Politics

Stephen Colbert’s Utter Destruction Of What Little Cred Ben Carson Had Left Is Magical (VIDEO)


Digging up dirt on Ben Carson proved to be a fairly easy endeavor. Carson isn’t running for president with a background in politics or even a strong public presence; he’s running on what he’s written about himself in autobiographies. His own narcissism is what convinced him to run in the first place, and now the grandiose stories of his troubled youth and violent past are coming back to haunt him.

That’s because none of it ever happened. Carson has tried to portray himself as some lost soul who found his way through prayer and hard work, theories which can’t be corroborated by…anyone. What it boils down to is that Ben Carson is a pathological liar. His entire life story is and should be called into question. This man isn’t qualified to accurately remember his childhood, never mind run a country.

Stephen Colbert takes all of that into consideration as he mauls what’s left of Carson’s credibility. From the reports of his quiet, introverted demeanor from people who knew him as an adolescent to the ridiculous theories of pyramids and grain storage, Colbert rips Carson to shreds.

Carson has become fairly vocal about the backlash he’s receiving over his lies lately. He’s actually shown some emotion, which doesn’t fit into his motif at all, calling into question the vetting process every candidate goes through. Poor Ben doesn’t think anyone has ever been treated so unfairly. He says he’s been scrutinized more than any candidate…ever.

That’s simply not true. It’s not the media’s fault that finding ridiculous things about Ben Carson is so easy. When almost everything that comes out of the man’s mouth is a fabrication or in the very least an incomplete version of the truth, journalists can’t help but point out reality.

Carson may not see it that way, but that’s irrelevant. If he didn’t want his lies exposed he should have stayed in his giant shrine to himself and minded his own business.

Watch Stephen Colbert make a fool of Ben Carson below:

U.S. Politics

Elizabeth Warren demolishes the myth of “trickle-down” economics: “That is going to destroy our country, unless we take our country back”

Elizabeth Warren demolishes the myth of "trickle-down" economics: "That is going to destroy our country, unless we take our country back"
CBS screenshot


In an interview on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” Warren explaines why Republican economics don’t work

Stephen Colbert once described Elizabeth Warren as the “school librarian you had a crush on” but on last night’s Late Show, she was the Sheriff of Wall Street.

Like every interview with the senior senator of Massachusetts, there was a question about whether or not she’d be running for President in 2016. “You are a household name in American politics,” Colbert said. “And yet, you are one of the few household names that is not running for President of the United States. Are you sure you’re not running for President of the United States? Have you checked the newspapers lately, because a lot of people have jumped in, you might have done it in your sleep…. These days politicians have to check the ‘opt-out’ button. It’s like unsubscribing from an email.”

“I’m sure I’m not,” Warren said.

Warren may not be running for president, but she said, that doesn’t mean she’s not in a fight for the future of our country. “Here we are, the richest country on Earth,” she said. “We have so much going for us, and yet we have a federal government that works great for millionaires. It works great for billionaires. It works great for giant corporations, for anybody who can hire an army of lobbyists, an army of lawyers, give lots of campaign money… For the rest of America, it’s just not working and it’s time to take that government back and make it work for us.”

Warren went on to talk about inequalities caused by trickle-down economics which she says hasn’t trickled down to anyone. “What happened starting in 1980?” Warren asked. “Remember trickle-down economics?” she asked.

“I do remember trickle-down economics!” Colbert said. “Rich guys like me, you cut my taxes, and then I spend more and eventually it trickles down to the people who don’t make the kind of money I do.”

Then Warren burst Colbert’s bubble:

“Except the last part never worked. So, what trickle-down economics was all about was saying to the rich and powerful, the government will help you get richer and more powerful… So starting in 1980 when it was all about ‘fire the cops,’ it was called deregulation, cut taxes for those at the top, which means there was less to invest on education, on infrastructure, on basic research. So, what’s happened from 1980 to 2012 … the answer is the 90 percent, everybody not the top ten percent, how much of the growth did they get? That GDP kept going up. How much of the income growth did they get? And the answer is zero! None. Not a bit.”

At this point, the audience was dead silent. Warren continued:

“One hundred percent of income growth in this country since the 1980s has gone to the top ten percent and that’s not only wrong, that is going to destroy our country unless we take our country back!”

At this point, the audience went wild.

This is the same kind of populist rhetoric we’ve come to expect from Warren, but with Senator Bernie Sanders overfilling auditoriums on a message of income inequality, the fight for fairness increases in intensity. Some day, they could even ask a question about it at a republican presidential debate!

Watch Senator Warren below:

U.S. Politics

Stephen Colbert dismantles Ted Cruz’s anti-gay bigotry & tax cut fanaticism

Stephen Colbert dismantles Ted Cruz's anti-gay bigotry & tax cut fanaticism
Ted Cruz on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” September 21, 2015. (Credit: NBC)


“The Late Show” host quizzed Cruz on the Constitution, while the audience booed the presidential hopeful

Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz paid a visit to Stephen Colbert’s two-week-old “Late Show” set last night and sat for a grilling over the legacy of conservative icon Ronald Reagan tougher than any question the Texas senator fielded at last week’s debate at Reagan’s presidential library.

“Let me ask about Reagan for a second,” Colbert began before getting serious and noting the severe ideological divide between Ronald Reagan and today’s Republican Party. “Reagan raised taxes, OK. Reagan actually had an amnesty program for illegal immigrants. Neither of those things would allow Reagan to be nominated today. So to what level can you truly emulate Ronald Reagan?” Colbert asked Cruz, noting that Reagan worked with former Democratic Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill.

“Isn’t that what people want more than anything else,” Colbert questioned, “more than principles, is action?”

Cruz disagreed, claiming that he’s never heard from an American who has asked him to work more with President Obama, or “give in more to Barack Obama” as he put it.

“Could you agree with Reagan on those two things,” Colbert pressed as the crowd broke out in raucous applause, “raising taxes and amnesty for illegal immigrants?”

“No, of course not,” Cruz replied. “But Ronald Reagan also signed the largest tax cut in history,” Cruz pushed back defiantly. “He reduced government regulations from Washington and economic growth exploded.”

“He did,” Colbert conceded as Cruz continued. Noting that from 1978 to 1982, economic growth averaged less than 1 percent a year, Cruz argued that the true legacy of Reagan was limited government.

“But when conditions changed in the country, he reversed his world’s largest tax cut and raised taxes when revenues did not match the expectations, so it’s a matter of compromising,” Colbert recalled.

“It’s entirely possible that your plan might be the right one,” Colbert offered before asking Cruz if he’d be willing to compromise with his opponents if it turns out he doesn’t have the best solution “and not feel like you capitulated with the devil?”

Cruz joked to Colbert that there is “nothing diabolical about you” and insisted he doesn’t “respond in kind” when his opponents “throw rocks and insults.”

“When others attack me, I make of point of keeping it on substance,” Cruz argued. Cruz said he is merely fighting for the U.S. to “live within our means, stop bankrupting our kids and grandkids, and follow the Constitution.”

“And no gay marriage,” Colbert quickly added, opening the door for a debate on the Supreme Court decision with the former SCOTUS clerk.

“Well, actually, let’s be precise. Under the Constitution marriage is a question for the states,” Cruz retorted.

“It doesn’t mention marriage in the Constitution,” Colbert shot back to applause.

“The 10th Amendment states that if the Constitution doesn’t mention it, it’s a question for the states … I don’t think we should entrust governing our society to five unelected lawyers in Washington,” Cruz argued as Colbert’s audience began to boo the senator.

“Guys, however you feel, he’s my guest so please don’t boo him,” Colbert interjected.

“If you want to win an issue, go to the ballot box and win at the ballot box,” Cruz calmly concluded. “That’s the way the Constitution was designed.”

Republican front-runner Donald Trump will receive the Colbert treatment on Tuesday’s show.

Watch Cruz’s debate with Colbert below, via The Late Show:

U.S. Politics

‘I like this guy’: Stephen Colbert chooses Jon Batiste as ‘Late Show’ bandleader

TODAY SHOW – Pop Culture

New “Late Show” host Stephen Colbert may be missing his Colbeard, but it seems his new bandleader, New Orleans favorite Jon Batiste, is more than making up for that loss.

In a short-but-sweet video posted Thursday afternoon on Colbert’s “Late Show” YouTube page, the host digs into a plate stacked high with beignets while he introduces a new friend.

“People keep asking me who my new bandleader’s going to be. Well, I like this guy,” says Colbert, who throws it over to Batiste for a 17-second jam session. The camera cuts back to Colbert, who’s covered in what we hope is powdered sugar and a nearly empty plate. “So good,” Colbert says as he licks his fingers, right before Batiste hops into the frame and shouts, “Yeah!”

Batiste, a Juilliard-trained jazz musician and educator, is a celebrated New Orleans artist whose collaborators have included rocker Lenny Kravitz and jazz icon Wynton Marsalis.

The jazz great may have impressed CBS executives and gotten to know his new colleague a little better last year, when he and his band Stay Human performed on “The Colbert Report,” got the crowd — and Colbert — dancing, and literally took his music to the street for a rousing performance that thrilled audience members and pedestrians alike.

Batiste was “thrilled” to be a part of the show, according to the entertainment website The Wrap. “This is a match made in heaven,” he reportedly said. “Get ready for a love riot in late night.”

Colbert appeared to have only one concern about Batiste. “His music makes the audience feel so good, we may have to install a ‘Do Not Make Love’ sign,” he said, according to The Wrap.

The premiere of “Late Show with Stephen Colbert” is slated for Sept. 8.

Chris Serico