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Michael Smerconish: Stephen Colbert Helped Normalize Donald Trump With Late Night Monologue

Deadline logo Deadline 5/6/2017 Lisa de Moraes
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Michael Smerconish chastised late-night host Stephen Colbert’s Monday monologue for having said on CBS what Smerconish insists belongs on HBO.

Colbert has sharpened his attacks on Trump, and been rewarded with a ratings spike, the CNN show host told viewers Saturday. “But Monday [Colbert] went too far with his Trump-Putin oral sex reference, which crossed the line.”

“That line might be suitable for, say, Real Time with Bill Maher, but not network television, the so-called Tiffany network, which used to be the programming gold standard,” Smerconish scolded, referencing CBS’s brand of half a

century ago.

Progressives like Colbert, with their “increasingly harsh rhetoric,” strike comparisons to some of the vitriol directed toward President Obama his entire eight years. Tone it down, Smerconish warned Colbert, lest it overshadow any message Trump’s opponents wish to convey.

(Or, say it on HBO?)

“First, it was crass, and it was in bad taste. Quite a departure for the Sunday school-teaching Colbert,” Smerconish snipped, seeming to suggest Colbert needs to give up one pursuit or the other, and definitely suggesting Smerconish somehow missed seeing Colbert’s Late Show chalk-board drawings, among other episodes.

Colbert’s remarks were “a far cry from the Dem campaign mantra: When they go low we go high,”  Smerconish said, having also somehow missed the election results.

No mention of Colbert’s Wednesday monologue, in which Colbert said he did not regret his comments, but acknowledged some of the words might have been too crude, adding that, “For the record, life is short, and anyone who expresses their love for another person, in their own way, is to me an American hero.”

Speaking of going too far, Smerconish began to connect dots between Colbert’s Monday monologue and the Trump-lead birther movement against Obama. He called Colbert’s remarks “foolish politics,” explaining that on Obama’s watch, “the right lost credibility with all but themselves when they allowed their discomfort with Obama’s background to devolve into charges of birtherism.”

“Intolerance has a way of catching up with you, politically,” Smerconish said, lumping Colbert in with the “student marauders” who turned “bombastic nuisance” Ann Coulter into “a martyr” over her scheduled speech at Berkeley, and House Dems who jeered GOP members after Thursday’s Trumpcare vote, singing the classic rock tune, “Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye.”

“The jeering and mocking is exactly why people hate politics,” Smerconish insisted, in the face of all recent election evidence. “The left is understandably fired up, but there is only one beneficiary in a climate of liberal intolerance and that’s Donald Trump. He’s helped when he is no longer the bad behaving outlier but the norm, in a political atmosphere run amok.

“The best way to fight him is on substance, not his own style. Just ask Marco Rubio.”

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