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Fox News Heads Explode Over Stephen Colbert’s Congressional Testimony Over Migrant Workers

Reported by Ellen - September 25, 2010 -

So Stephen Colbert walks into a Congressional Hearing room Friday (9/24/10) and sucks the news cycle life right out of the Republican Pledge to America and Fox News’ plan to revive its attempts to turn the Obama Justice Department into this year’s ACORN. There was so much tooth-gnashing and smoke billowing from the Fox News pundits, you’d think Colbert had just stolen the 2010 midterms and installed Rev. Jeremiah Wright as Speaker of the House. Of course, the Fox Newsies made like their objections were all about the high ground: It was a waste of taxpayer money (Megyn Kelly) or it was bad form and threw a spotlight on Democratic incompetence at solving the problems Colbert was highlighting (Rick Santorum) or it showed how “lacking in seriousness” Democrats are and would surely “backfire” (Sean Hannity). But I think conservative “comic” Steven Crowder summed it up best when he told Hannity, “All of these strategists and GOP and DNC chairmen we have on this network will not amount to a fraction of the influence that Jon Stewart and Colbert have.” In other words, Democrats owned the “cool factor” as well as the hot news. (9/24/10). And it made Republicans fume.

America Live host Megyn Kelly was on her high horse as she asked Republican Congressman Steve King, “Do you think that (Hearing Chairwoman, Rep.) Zoe Lofgren owes this country an apology for wasting our taxpayer dollars and your time? There’s a lot of problems going on, on Capitol Hill right now, there are a lot of problems in this country.” She later complained that Congressional hearings cost an average of $125,000. “$125,000 for that little bit about Steve Colbert’s day on the farm,” Kelly groused.

Yes, why spend $125,000 listening to Colbert discuss migrant workers’ conditions (and he made lots of serious points, albeit with humor) when Congress could be spending all that money on a trumped up excuse to accuse the Obama Department of Justice of being racist, voter-intimidation enablers? While she was at it, Congresswoman Lofgren probably also owed Kelly an apology for turning her big “bombshell development” about the DOJ and voter intimidation into a news also-ran.

Later, on On The Record, Republican Rick Santorum also assessed the situation pretty well when he said about Colbert, “This is a guy who night after night beats the crap out of (Republicans). And to bring someone like that before a hearing to make fun of them, which is really what he was doing, to make fun of them and to draw as you saw – I don’t think I’ve ever seen that many cameras at a Congressional hearing... I don’t blame Colbert… He did his shtick. I just think the Democrats were trying to rub the Republicans noses in it." After perhaps acknowledging Democrats had won the cool factor, Santorum added, "And it was bad form.”

As if Santorum would have uttered a peep of concern had Republicans been doing the nose rubbing!

Greta Van Susteren showed her “Democrat Fox News Host” stripes: She offered a kinder, gentler form of criticism. She said she had “mixed feelings,” about the testimony, meaning that Colbert was “totally fine… He’s using his star power to bring (important issues) up.” What Van Susteren couldn’t understand was, “Tactically… why the Democrats did that. Did they do it to put a spotlight on the issue or because they thought it was clever?” Then, she just happened to think out loud about how Republicans might respond to Colbert's testimony. “I would think that politically it could get used against them (Democrats),” she theorized.

Not surprisingly, Santorum agreed. He said Dems “tried to take a cheap shot. I think the gun backfired on them.”

Hannity was even more up in arms. He said that Colbert’s testimony “shows how lacking in seriousness the Democratic Party is right now.” Hannity spent so much time on this “un-serious” matter that he barely had time to discuss the Republican Pledge!

Hannity’s pal, Steven Crowder, leveled with his conservative pals: "The point is that liberals do understand the value of entertainment, the arts and comedies. And I hate to say it, but conservatives have been late to the party. And all of these strategists and GOP and DNC chairmen we have on this network will not amount to a fraction of the influence that Jon Stewart and Colbert have. Is it sad? Yes. But they have a huge voice and Democrats know that that matters. And they are right on that.”

Colbert's entire testimony, via C-Span is below, followed by Fox News' reactions. The Colbert video is marked to begin very shortly before his opening statement.

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