May 15, 2019
Who You Gonna Believe About Lincoln? Some Nerd History Guy Or Stephen Colbert?
Stephen Colbert has the skinny on Barack Obama’s presidency-destroying interview with Zach Galifianakis, which “set off a firestorm everywhere, from Fox News to later in the day on Fox News.” The montage of clips from Fox explaining how the short video mortally wounded the President’s dignity is worth the price of admission all by itself. And then there’s the beautiful abject failure of the rightwing attempts to call the video an abject failure — traffic to healthcare.gov went up 40% Tuesday after the video went viral.
Is it safe to say that now that it’s reached Colbert, Galifianakisgate is probably just about over? Who knows? Bill O’Reilly’s scholarly analysis — that Abraham Lincoln would never have stooped to such a thing — even prompted a reply from an actual Lincoln scholar, Harold Holzer, who says that Lincoln would too have gone on the web, because he was known not just for his often bawdy sense of humor, but also because he was a fan of the new media of his day:
“I will tell you Abraham Lincoln would go on ‘Between Two Ferns’ in a second,” said Holzer. “He went in the reeds, he played whatever was the most modern, the most cunning, the most unthinkable, unprecedented way to get his message across in a day when there were no press conferences, no culture for press conferences.”
Holzer added that in going to a medium targeted to the young people who the administration especially wants to sign up for the Affordable Care Act, Obama was “absolutely in the Lincoln tradition,” since Lincoln “used humor very well and was very tough, very manipulative with the press.”
Plus, there were all those rumors about Lincoln being born in Kenya.