As if the government didn’t regulate enough things – a lewd joke made by comedian Stephen Colbert about President Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin is the latest target of the regulatory authorities.
“The only thing your mouth is good at is being [Russian President] Vladimir Putin’s c**k holster,” Colbert said in a tirade against Trump on his late-night show. After negative feedback, Colbert defended his comments, stating “I don’t regret that. [Trump], I believe, can take care of himself. I have jokes; he has the launch codes. So, it’s a fair fight.”
The hashtag #FireColbert began trending, with liberals blasting the comment as homophobic, and some conservatives jumping on the bandwagon to hound him for his anti-Trump views.
And that’s about all the action that needed to be taken. If people didn’t like the “joke” (which many didn’t find even remotely funny), they can simply not watch his show (a path of action still recommended in absence of his “joke”). According to the Washington Times however, the FCC is now getting involved.
The Federal Communications Commission has received several complaints concerning Mr. Colbert’s recent quip and will considered whether it violated any law against broadcasting “obscene” content, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said in a radio interview Thursday.
“I have had a chance to see the clip now and so, as we get complaints, and we’ve gotten a number of them, we are going to take the facts that we find and we are going to apply the law as it’s been set out by the Supreme Court,” he told Talk Radio 1210 WPHT Thursday.
Mr. Colbert provoked a firestorm this week by using crude language in a joke targeting Mr. Trump on Monday after the president insulted the CBS News program “Face the Nation” and its host, John Dickerson. Nearing the end of his nightly monologue, Mr. Colbert unleashed at length against Mr. Trump, concluding with the offending remark.
The comment, while bleeped during broadcast, triggered instant backlash including calls for Mr. Colbert’s termination and, according to the FCC, numerous complaints.
However, it should be noted that this is by no means an example of the Trump administration weaponizing the FCC against his critics. They had to investigate because of the volume of complaints received.
“We review all consumer complaints as a matter of standard practice and rely on the law to determine whether action is warranted,” an agency spokesperson clarified to CNN this week. “The fact that a complaint is reviewed doesn’t speak one way or another as to whether it has any merit.”
If there was any action taken against Colbert, it’s a guarantee that the event would be spun as Trump’s government punishing his critics.
When any business comes out with a controversial stance (i.e Chick-fil-A) consumers are free to decide whether or not they wish to remain customers. And in this case, Colbert’s audience can decide whether or not they’re comfortable with the content.
Unless they’re like the liberals you see on college campuses, surely they can take a “joke.”
[Note: This post was authored by Matt Palumbo. Follow him on Twitter