Last Friday, WashingtonPost.com consumers were treated to another one of those "Mouthpiece Theatre" videos, in which reporters Dana Milbank and Chris Cillizza smarmily attempt humor and fail. Their effort, on this occasion, became newsworthy on its own rights because they subjected Hillary Clinton to a joke that was crudely sexist: Riffing on the "beer summit," they suggested that Clinton drink "Mad Bitch Ale. Many people registered their objections, some of those people write blogs, and the Washington Post ended up having to pull the video down.
Spokesperson Kris Coratti proffered the following explanation: "The video was a satirical piece that lampooned people of all stripes. There was a section of the video that went too far, so we have removed the piece from our website."
The proper lesson to have inferred would have been this: IF the Washington Post's website has a feature that only receives substantial attention for how bad it is, and that no one pays any mind to were it not for an awful, mean-spirited joke, THEN perhaps it is a feature that the website can do without. Or, alternately, they can ride the traffic generated by the world's outrage, which is what I gather Fred Hiatt does, on the op-ed page, where people just make stuff up.
Don't worry though! Nobody's learned a gollydarned thing! Today, Mouthpiece Theatre returns with a "response video," in which Cillizza and Milbank basically whine about having been criticized by the blogosphere.
Of course, the two never make any apology, or, indeed, any overt mention of the brouhaha to which they are referring, so if you weren't paying attention last week, you have no clue what they are even doing today. But that's all beside the important point that they are making: HOW DARE the blogosphere notice when two grown men act like jackasses, on web videos! Leave Britney alone!
The video does manage to be ironic, however. The central premise is that the two men have come with serious discussion topics, but the discussion is rendered nonsensical and inane because they are now being "censored" by their higher-ups. This is ironic because all Mouthpiece Theatre is, in the first place, is an opportunity to turn serious matters into inane ones.
Anyway, to artfully convey the idea that he has been beaten up by blogs, Milbank mummifies himself in bandages. Like always, it is NOT funny. Not funny in the least. It is the NULL SET of funny. But, at least 20 or so people who bought the Washington Post at newsstands today can see where their money went.
I'll refer you now to something that actually is hilarious: this Mouthpiece Theatre parody from the fine people at Public Service Administration, who could pick funnier things than Milbank and Cillizza out of their stool. For his part, Cillizza seems to recognize this. On his Facebook page, he touts PSA's video, saying: "This. Is. Genius. Well done." Sarah Palin liked Tina Fey's impression of her, too!