Monday, October 29, 2007

Watching the Watchers: May the Farce Be With You

With the next Presidential campaign season well under way, both sides are looking for political grist to mill. Democrats were justifiably interested in whistle-blowers in the Justice Department, especially during the tenure of its former head. It isn't surprising that the House Judiciary Committee would be in charge of sifting through any tips that came in from the web. And it isn't really even surprising that they haven't even started looking at them yet. What is surprising is when someone sends a memo to all those who used the anonymous e-mail tip line with all the users' e-mail addresses in the clear. And they copied the Vice President on the memo.

Only slightly less farcical is television personality Stephen Colbert's "candidacy" in the Presidential race. And his "campaign" may be getting a serious look by the Federal Election Commission. Colbert may have found a (clever and humorous) loophole around the difficulties of having an illegal corporate sponsor for his campaign, but he's going to have a harder time if Comedy Central gets prosecuted for allowing a candidate to have editorial control over a TV show. This ABC story goes into the details nicely. Colbert has so far walked the tightrope well enough to keep the stunt mere parody while at the same time garnering all sorts of media attention for his program. I have to think a man that can do that won't actually be running for President, but wouldn't it be an interesting story if he did?