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Sunday, April 30, 2006
By Steven L. Taylor

I did not see Stephen Colbert’s performance last night at the White House Correspondent’s Dinner (although it sits on TiVo, meaning I may or may not get around to it) so I have no idea how the performances went last night.

Still, if one goes to memeorandum (I’ve linked the archived page for 4/30 at 8:50 pm edt) one can tell that one’s partisan perspective informs to a large extent how one viewed the evening.

For example, two pro-Bush bloggers think that Colbert tanked. The headline of Captain Ed’s post at Captain’s Quarters reads: Bush Plays It For Laughs While Colbert Bombs. AllahPundit, blogging at Hot Air, had a similar title: W.H. Correspondents Dinner: Bush Kills, Colbert Bombs.

However, Pam’s House Blend, on the other side of the aisle, entitles her post: Stephen Colbert scorches the admin at dinner. Kossite Mash was impressed and Peter Daou blogging at HuffPo was quite complimentary of Colbert’s performance.

There are other examples, but I think those are representative of a number of bloggers on both sides.

It makes for an interesting sociological experiment, to be sure. I am more and more interesting in the way in which the political world is perceived by citizens based on partisan filters that precondition responses. I am also hopeful that all of us interested in politics would learn to recognize the way we ourselves do this, because if we are all going to just reaction based on partisanship, the capacity for reasoned debate, and proper policy solutions, becomes strained at best.

In regards to the dinner, James Joyner gives a balanced review of the evening, and of Colbert and has more links on the subject. Also, Joe Gandelman provides a interesting and thoughtful analysis as well: Colbert’s White House Correspondent Dinner Performance Underscores Irony’s Power And Delicacy (and lots o’ links).

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2 Responses to “The Power of Partisan Lens”

  1. Scott Gosnell Says:

    Take it for what it’s worth:

    I came across the dinner broadcast just as Colbert was being introduced. I thought to myself, “This ought to be good — I like Colbert.” I watched a little while, and had to turn the channel — it was just too painful. Colbert was off his game in a big way, and drew only polite applause and chuckles. I flipped back later on to see if it had gotten any better; it hadn’t. In fact, if anything it got worse. In short, it was terrible.

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