‘Red Eye’ vs Colbert: Host ignores joke outrage over Obama foot-on-desk photo
On Comedy Central’s “The Colbert Report” Wednesday night, host Stephen Colbert took a jab at Fox News Channel “Red Eye” personalities Greg Gutfeld and Andy Levy by mocking them for appearing to be upset that President Barack Obama had put his foot on his desk in the Oval Office.
“[I]’ve been talking about how our bungler-in-chief is botching the Syria conflict,” Colbert said. “It’s not just what he says about Syria, it is what he does while saying it. Just check out this photo released by the White House last week of Obama calling John Boehner to say he would seek congressional approval. Yeah. Look at that. Are you as mad as I am? Well, just wait till you find out why you’re so mad.”
Colbert played clips from Fox News about the photo, two of which were Levy and Gutfeld.
The problem with that attack, however, is that Gutfeld and Levy were only feigning outrage, something that Colbert missed or pretended to miss. Levy addressed it on Thursday night/Friday morning’s broadcast of “Red Eye”.
“You don’t have to think it is funny, but you have to know it is a joke,” Levy said. “That’s something I used to say to people on Twitter who took tweets seriously when they weren’t meant that way. Well on Wednesday night, Stephen Colbert tackled the right-wing outrage over a photo the White House released of President Obama with his foot on the Oval Office desk. I guess the only problem was there wasn’t a hell of a lot of right-wing outrage. And here is how you can tell. The first clip he used was an example of ‘Red Eye’ mocking what little outrage there was. Except somehow he didn’t realize that is what he was doing.”
Levy questioned whether Colbert’s gaffe was intentional or unintentional, given the scrutiny the Comedy Central personality has paid to Fox News over the years.
“Kind of embarrassing. Remember Stephen — you don’t have to think it’s funny, but you have to know it is a joke,” Levy said. “It’s OK though. ‘Red Eye’ has only been around for six-and-a-half years on the network you’re obsessed with. No reason you should know that mocking outrage on all sides is the kind of thing we do every night. No reason you or one of the many, many people on your staff should do five minutes of research before you do the equivalent of running something from The Onion as a real news story.”
“Maybe part of the problem is the idea that a show could poke fun at excesses on all sides of the political debate doesn’t make sense to you,” Levy continued. “Maybe part of the problem is we don’t have a studio audience the way you do. Maybe you’ve lost the ability to tell when something is tongue-in-cheek without the reassurance of that immediate response to back you up. I don’t know, maybe you knew we were joking and for some reason you decided you just didn’t care because Fox News. Or hey, maybe this was a simple screw up. Whatever the reason, I accept your apology.”