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Apr 14, 2010

Wikileaks on Colbert

Stephen Colbert grills Wikileaks editor Julian Assange over the release classified US military footage last week.

Stephen Colbert grills Wikileaks editor Julian Assange over the release of videos showing US military killing civilians in Iraq. This is the full, unedited interview and includes swearing.

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26 thoughts on “Wikileaks on Colbert

  1. Elan

    I’ve had to skim this because of time constraints at the moment (let’s see if I alter my opinion when I see it in full….), but one thing is clear; Assange handled himself very well, staying calm during this whole attempt at ridicule.

    How I wish I was like that!!!

    That asshole would be missing his jugular within the first five minutes if he had interviewed me like that!

  2. paddy

    ELAN, the day when people demand that Stephen Colbert doesn’t take the piss out of his interviewees will be a very sad one indeed.
    If you haven’t seen it already, do a search for his 2006 press club dinner speech to GWB.
    One of the bravest pieces of comedy since the fool took on King Lear.

    Assange knew exactly who he was talking too and handled it beautifully.

  3. Bob the builder

    Colbert made me feel nauseous.
    Typical “liberal” – will have a go at the President and declare war on the conservatariat, but as soon as something that poses a real challenge to the system comes along he’s quiet as a mouse.
    Asking him which service he’d fought with! Disgusting. Carrying on about distortion when this was about as undistorted as it gets, with full access to the unedited footage. How many news organisations do that?
    Makes me sick. What a gutless f*ckwit.
    And yeah, Assange handled it very well – calm, clear answers. Makes it easier when you have integrity and no need to constantly disassemble though, I suppose.

  4. mike bazan

    I think Colbert exposed him for manipulating the evidence to give the impression of deliberate killing of civilians. Got off lightly in my opinion.

  5. Bob the builder

    @ Mike
    Maybe you should look at the original material.
    If they weren’t deliberately targeted, it was gross, wanton, uncaring negligence. They were offering no aggression, no resistance, were posing no threat, were walking about quite openly and unguardedly. Not what you might expect from people engaged in a war, not what you’d expect from anyone who they had any reason to be a target and definitely not people in the fog of war.
    The journalists may have had bodyguards to protect themselves from the general lawlessness of US-controlled Iraq. As do most western journalists (the few that bother to leave their fortified hotels) and all western workers. Should they be shot too?
    And this from the country that constantly bangs on about the right of the citizenry to bear arms!
    And as for manipulating the evidence, that is risible! If that had been any standard news report (perhaps using Simon Fuller Sh*t as cameraman) we’d have got 15 seconds of highly out-of-context material and NO link to the uncut version.

  6. Chade

    You all know he’s a comedian, right? Right? And he’s not taking the piss out of Assange, he’s taking the piss out of himself, and the media. No-one, NO-ONE, would go on The Colbert Report expecting Colbert to be serious. Through the questions (which initially seem silly, but they aren’t), he’s giving Assange a platform to justify, rationalise and explain Wikileaks actions, and provide a base to rebut all the most ridiculous accusations.

    I thought it was a decent interview, actually. You can easily ignore all of Colbert’s statements as white noise and jokes. Assange came across brilliantly imo. Stated his positions, and could have a laugh.

  7. Bob the builder

    I agree re: Assange, but not re: Colbert. I think he threw a few slightly self-deprecating remarks in to make himself not look so p*ssweak, but basically was disturbed that this material was released and that US troops were labelled murderers.

  8. talia.r.katz

    Political and defence commentators have had a field day with this one, picking apart its content, its context and Wikileaks cutting techniques, while talk back and television audiences have been ferocious in their attacks on the US and Australian military for training their soldiers to dehumanise their targets before engaging (read: killing them). Veterans and individuals currently serving are forced to defend their actions in combat against civilians who have never held a gun before, and suddenly the morality of modern warfare is all anyone can think about – that is, 65 years after the firebombing of Dresden.
    It’s a fogging mess. While there is no doubt this footage is on par with the photos from Abu Ghraib as a paradigm shifting tool, and a gamechanger for war reporting, the facts remain. There is no comfort in knowing, and no bliss in ignorance.

  9. Sean

    Bob the Builder and Elan, Robert Colbert is a left-leaning comedian whose shtick is to pretend to be a right wing interviewer in the vein of Bill O’Reilly or the whole Fox News circus or similar, and parody the conservative right of American politics and the media — by cleverly adopting the same types of illogical arguments and attacks ahd shock-jockery, and wearing the suits and ties and paraphernalia of the born to rule ‘successful Republican’ image.

    The Americans get it, and the Republicans are under no illusion he is one of them. The audience is full of lefties as you should be able to tell from the laughter at the deliberate jokes and satire of the right. You will note he swings from a faux attack from a right wing perspective to dropping in appropriately cynical observations about the media — Colbert is pretty much the smartest ad-libbing comedian on American TV today for pulling off his act at being right while coming from the left and keeping up the pretence while adlibbing jokes.

    Jon Stewart of the Daily Show and Colbert of the Colbert Report were actually listed as the most watched and trusted ‘news’ services in the states in a recent survey, although they are parodies of news services, as they’re the only ones prepared to tell the truth about anything or satirise what needs to be satirised – regrettably they provide some necessary analysis that the ‘real’ shows obsessed with glitter and image and technique deliberately omit so as not to upset vested interests.

  10. Bob the builder

    @ Sean
    I’m well aware of what Colbert does and where he fits in the US cultural landscape. Perhaps I got it wrong, but he did seem genuinely uncomfortable with the subject matter.
    As Ruth Brown said ( ), it’s an “uncharacteristically humourless grilling”. I’d prefer that I got it wrong, but to me he really does look uncomfortable with what Wikileaks did in this instance.