The Corner

Culture

Colbert’s Trump-Goldberg Alliance

Colbert on Capitol Hill in 2010 (Reuters photo: kevin Lamarque)

Here’s Stephen Colbert last night:

So a few takeaways: Stephen Colbert thinks I’m a “Trump ally.”

This is a bit of a head-scratcher for me.

He also apparently thinks I look like a creepy dude who hangs out at magic conventions, which, alas, is less of a head scratcher (I hate that picture). The funny thing is that it’s funnier if you know that Trump once claimed that I don’t know how to buy pants. It seems to me there’s a missed opportunity somewhere in there.

But speaking of missed opportunities, I think it’s fair to say, literally, that no one who knows much about me and my political stances these days would call me an ally of Trump’s.

And that’s okay. If all you knew about me was that I was a conservative columnist and a Fox News contributor, you might think it safe to call me a Trump ally. I don’t want to make some Ron Burgundy–like argument about how I’m a really big deal and that Colbert and the writers of The Late Show should know who I am.

Still, given how invested Colbert has become in being a very serious, very liberal politics guy, you’d think someone on his team might have seen me on, say, The Daily Show, Morning Joe, or heard me on NPR or CBS’s own Sunday show, Face the Nation. Maybe his showrunner might remember a long talk we once had in NYC. Maybe one of the writers who follow me on Twitter recalled my somewhat frayed relationship with the president?

Or maybe not. Who knows? It’s summer, so maybe the A-Team is out at the Hamptons. Maybe internecine fights that have consumed me for two years don’t register on their radar because I don’t rate much attention outside the conservative ghetto.

Still, the odd thing is: I was paired up against a Trump surrogate in the actual Fox segment Colbert referred to. And there was nothing in what I said in the discussion — including the quote he mocks, that suggested I’m a Trump ally (indeed, Rudy Giuliani referred to me as some random “moron” for what I said, which might be another clue). It’s almost like they just made something up for the sake of getting laughs.

Again, it’s not a big deal. The Perlstein thing at the New York Times bothered me more because they were supposed to know what they were writing about (and to the Times’ credit, and Perlstein’s, they corrected the record).

Comedy is different. Sometimes you’ve got to bend the facts for the sake of a really, really good joke.

Or, in this case, any joke.

Jonah Goldberg, a senior editor of National Review and the author of Suicide of the West, holds the Asness Chair in Applied Liberty at the American Enterprise Institute.

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