Late Night Tackles Trump versus the media
April 30, 2019

Between dealing with the fallout from Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report, stonewalling House Democrats, and campaigning for re-election, President Trump "has a lot going on," Seth Meyers said on Late Night. "Which means, of course, that he decided to take time out of his schedule to call in to a Fox morning show and once again spent so much time on the phone that at the end of the interview, the host, Maria Bartiromo, repeatedly tried to get him to hang up." He played several excerpts from Monday morning's Fox Business call-in.

"My god, that was like watching your grandpa try to get off the phone with his grandpa," Meyers said. "I know it's hard to remember this sometimes, but that guy is the most powerful man in the world. He should be, like, doing stuff. And Maria knows — I mean, look at her face."

"Aside from rambling incoherently about whatever he was rambling about, Trump also repeated the dangerous line he's been using lately about the investigation of him and his campaign, that it was an attempted 'coup' and the people behind it were 'traitors,'" Meyers said. He played several examples.

"So there you go, that's what the president said," he noted. "If there's anything Trump hates, it's traitors who try to overthrow the United States government." Meyers jumped to Trump's remarks Friday that Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee was a "great general," and he disagreed, pointedly: "No, he wasn't: He led an armed rebellion to bring down the United States government, and he lost." Sound familiar? "Of course Trump couldn't just stop at heaping praise on a traitorous general who defended slavery and tried to bring down the United States government, he also had to heap some praise on himself," calling himself "a young, vibrant man," Meyers said, pausing. "I can't believe I have to say this, but we can see you." Watch below. Peter Weber

November 9, 2018

President Trump's newest trick is banning journalists, Stephen Colbert said on Thursday's Late Show. "That's very strongman. I'm not saying he's Kim Jong Un — he's Kim Jong-ish." At Wednesday's "White House press tantrum, the president and CNN's Jim Acosta just got into it — until an intern was dispatched" to grab Acosta's mic, Colbert said. "That has got to be the worst intern assignment. ... 'Brad, you're in charge of making copies, Kathy, you'll be destroying the First Amendment, okay? Remember, it's for college credit!'"

A lot of people were outraged that the White House then revoked Acosta's press pass, but Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders defended the move by tweeting a video appearing to show Acosta chopping the intern's arm. "That is terrible," Colbert said, "or it would be if it weren't 'fake news.' Because Sarah Sanders tweeted a doctored video," apparently from Alex Jones' Infowars. "The fact that the White House press secretary is promoting this doctored video is reprehensible and grounds for dismissal," he said. "Or as they call it in the Trump administration, Thursday."

In the doctored video tweeted out by "the Hucaka-B.S. machine," they "sped up Jim Acosta's hand movement to make it look more violent," Jimmy Kimmel explained on Kimmel Live. "Now Jim Acosta clearly never touched that White House intern — that's just a lie — and I think this also might be the first time I've seen Sarah Sanders take the woman's side on any subject, ever. So good for her, baby steps. But she should be forced to resign for that. I mean she intentionally disseminated doctored video footage to discredit a reputable journalist — she's the White House press secretary!"

"Yeah, the fact that Trump is using doctored footage to prove something everyone knows is a lie is deeply disturbing, but also it's just lazy," Trevor Noah said at The Daily Show. "If you're going to use a fake video, use a fake video." Watch his example below. Peter Weber

August 9, 2018

Everybody's a critic, but the people who attend President Trump's rallies are specifically media critics, CNN chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta told Stephen Colbert on Wednesday's Late Show. Acosta famously sparred with White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders last week over whether the press is an "enemy of the people," but he's long been a celebrity of sorts at Trump's rallies — attendees, up to and including the president, frequently single him out for abuse. Acosta told Colbert that when he can, he goes down and talks to his Trump-loving detractors.

"A lot of these folks, they're well-intentioned, they care about their country — I totally understand that — they really like this president, but they'll ask me, 'Well, why don't you report the good things that he does?'" Acosta said. After he runs through some positive Trump news CNN recently reported, "they sort of calmed down," he said, "but my sense of it, Stephen, is that a lot of these folks, they get their impressions of what we do by watching other conservative outlets, they look at other conservative websites. And these folks are focused on the coverage of the president's behavior more so than they are the president's behavior. And to me, you know, I think that the president's behavior is more newsworthy than our coverage. But a lot of these folks our there, they're getting their sense of what we do twisted and warped by some people out there who just want to do the president's bidding." Acosta wisely did not name any names, but you can try to figure out which Fox News hosts he's likely alluding to in the video below. Peter Weber

May 1, 2018

"Most nights I come out here and make jokes about the news from Washington," Stephen Colbert said on Monday's Late Show. "Well, tonight, the news from Washington is about jokes, who can tell them and who can take them." Michelle Wolf "did not pull any punches" at Saturday night's White House Correspondents' Dinner, roasting the Trump administration and the media, he said. "And you know who got mad? The administration and the media."

Colbert found the media's criticism harder to stomach. "Look, you didn't like it?" he asked the White House Correspondents' Association. "You have that right. Don't invite her back again. But grow a pair." He brought out an expert to weigh in, his Colbert Report character, Stephen Colbert, who hosted the WHCD in 2006. "This is the correspondents' dinner, celebrating freedom of speech — you can't just say whatever you want," the Colbert character said. "You don't go to a funeral and say exactly what you thought of the person. And what is the annual correspondents' dinner but a funeral for the independent press?"

Trump skipped the dinner for a rally in Michigan, where he relived his 2016 electoral victory and took credit for the Korean spring — a topic that has led Trump supporters to start talking about a Nobel Peace Prize. "Look, it's not out of the question," Colbert said. "I mean, give the man credit: He was able to go toe-to-toe with a nuclear madman. Now if he could just handle being in the same room as a comedian."

Colbert picked apart Trump's new explanation for what appears to be "the simplest possible definition of collusion you could come up with," then noted that White House Chief of Staff John Kelly has reportedly been referring to Trump as "an idiot" lately. "Kelly denies the report, no doubt hoping to save his job — to which Rex Tillerson replied, 'What a moron.'" Watch below. Peter Weber

January 19, 2018

The U.S. is hurtling toward a government shutdown, 9 million children are on the verge of losing health care, and North Korea has the bomb, but on Wednesday night President Trump "stayed laser-focused — by announcing the winners of his 'Fake News Awards,' the Fakeys," Stephen Colbert said on Thursday, "and I'm sad to say, The Late Show was snubbed." It wasn't for lack of effort. "Like everything from Donald Trump, this award ceremony was overhyped and underwhelming," Colbert said. Trump had "pumped this as a big event," but all he did was tweet out a broken link to the Republican National Committee website. "404 Error — yes, presidency not found."

Eventually, they got the link to work, and the winners were ... just a poorly formatted listicle. "There isn't even a trophy," Colbert groused. "You can't just make a list and and call it awards." The RNC justified hosting Trump's listicle because the media has "spent 90 percent of the time focused on negative coverage," a claim Colbert found reasonable. "Well, yeah — Trump is bad at being president 90 percent of the time," he said. "Just this week, we are preparing for a government shutdown, found out that Trump had an affair with a porn star, and almost lost Hawaii. It's only Thursday!"

Jimmy Kimmel was also underwhelmed with Trump's presentation. "But I have to say, it was very thoughtful of the president to hand out awards to the media — the Dishonest and Corrupt Media Awards, but still, they're awards," he said on Thursday's Kimmel Live. "And since he did that for us, on behalf of the media, I think it's only fair that we extend the same honor to him." The categories for Kimmel's "Dishonest and Corrupt President Awards" include "Least Convincing Display of Love," "Best Fabricated Numbers," and "Outstanding Achievement in Obama Fan Fiction."

At least Jordan Klepper at The Opposition found the awards a success. Watch below. Peter Weber

January 17, 2018

If you were, for whatever reason, excited about the "Most Dishonest & Corrupt Media Awards Of The Year" that President Trump promised for Jan. 8, then postponed until Wednesday, well, don't get your hopes too high. There's nothing about the "Fake News Awards" on Trump's schedule for Wednesday, and White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Tuesday that Trump's awards were merely "a potential event."

Arizona's two Republican U.S. senators, John McCain and Jeff Flake, are using Trump's promised/threatened awards to criticize the president's frequent attacks on the free press, with Flake making comparisons to Joseph Stalin. But late-night TV appears to believe that laughter is the best disinfectant. On Tuesday's Tonight Show, Jimmy Fallon's President Trump presented "Fakeys" to CNN, The New York Times, and himself, aided by Melania Trump (Gina Gershon) and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos (Rachel Dratch).

Still, nobody will be more disappointed if Trump bails than Late Show host Stephen Colbert, The Daily Show's Trevor Noah, and Samantha Bee at Full Frontal, all of whom are in full-on campaign mode for "Fakeys" of their own. "Personally, I'm excited for the Most Dishonest and Corrupt Media Awards of the Year, or as we call them in the biz, the Fakeys, because nothing gives you more credibility than Donald Trump calling you a liar," Colbert said, kicking off the late-night jockeying. "And I, of course, don't want to be snubbed." He took out a For Your Consideration ad in "Failing New York Times Square."

The Daily Show shot back, claiming that Colbert's Late Show and Bee's Full Frontal were too fact-based.

Not to be outdone, Bee's decidedly NSFW retort leaned heavily on the F-bombs. If that doesn't bother you, watch below. Peter Weber

October 12, 2017

Wednesday kicked off with yet another big NBC News scoop, this one about President Trump asking for a "nearly tenfold" increase in the U.S. nuclear arsenal. "A tenfold increase?" Stephen Colbert gasped on The Late Show. "Excuse me while I onefold into the fetal position. He knows that we can already end all life on Earth, right? The cockroaches will survive — which is good news for Steve Bannon." Trump denied on Twitter that he said any of that and lashed out at NBC News — then at the free press.

Trump told reporters that "it's frankly disgusting how the press is able to write whatever they want to write, and people should look into it," and Colbert had an answer: "For the record, people did look into it. In fact, 'We the People' looked into it and thought, yeah, they should write whatever they want." Sadly, "him the people" apparently disagrees with the First Amendment, suggesting that NBC lose its "license" for reporting "fake news" that demeans him, Colbert sighed. He had two follow-up questions — neither one of which addressed whether the president can pull a network's broadcast license. (Spoiler: He can't.)

Jimmy Kimmel also looked at Trump's tweet asking when it's "appropriate" to "challenge [NBC's] License," and he had an answer: "Never? I don't know, because that's what dictators do?" This is like the "Comic Book of Revelations," he said. "Everything Trump says is fake is true, everything he says is honest is dishonest." Kimmel showcased his "fun idea" of correcting Trump's tweets accordingly, and you can watch how that worked below. Peter Weber

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