On The Colbert Report last night, Stephen Colbert returned from his two-week-long hiatus and surveyed how the dialogue about race in America has changed in his absence.
“Sadly,” he began, “Ferguson, Missouri is now best known for racial conflict, police brutality, and violence in the street — and not, as they proclaim proudly on the official city website, for ‘Food Truck Mondays.'”
“Because now,” he said, pointing to a photograph of one Ferguson’s military-equipped Humvees, “this is the food truck, and it serves fresh high-velocity rubber burritos and, the hot pepper sauce? It’s not optional.”
“Folks,” Colbert continued, “this is a genuine tragedy that many are saying is the foul harvest of our racist past — but I urge everyone to wait to pass judgment on Officer Darren Wilson. Some are rushing to judge this man as a violent, racist cop who gunned down an unarmed black teenager. But others are arguing that he’s a heroic police officer doing his job — by gunning down an unarmed black teenager.”
“But we don’t know if this racism, or even if racism still exists,” he said. “People tell me I’m white and I believe them, because I keep asking waiters about gluten.”
“What we do know is that the shooting of a young, unarmed black man is a story that we’ve heard too many times before,” Colbert noted, “and the only way to ensure that we never here it again is for the press to stop reporting it.”
He then cut to a clip of Media Research Center President Brent Bozell on Fox News, saying “I think the coverage has been a travesty. Look at it first from the standpoint of quantity — how did this incident justify hundreds, if not thousands, of non-stop hours of coverage when there is so much going on in the world?”
Fox News’ media critic, Howard Kurtz, then said that “I wrote a column for Fox this week saying — theoretically floating the idea — what if all the journalists in this Missouri town just packed up their equipment and left? Would that have had an impact on the violence? A lot of people responded and said, ‘Yes.'”
“Yes,” Colbert responded. “It’s true! The presence of a camera clearly makes people behave recklessly. Because I don’t believe for a minute that Howie Kurtz would have floated the idea that journalists are to blame for the Ferguson violence if a camera wasn’t pointed at him. For his own safety, get this man off of television!”
Watch the August 27, 2014 episode of The Colbert Report via Hulu below.