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Monday, September 17, 2007

Maureen Dowd on the Stars of Fake News

Other couples may disappoint. Jen and Vince. Paris and Nicole. Cheney and Rummy. But Stewart and Colbert have soared to hilarious new heights puncturing the Bush administration's faux reality, with Stewart as the droll anchor and Colbert as the puffed-up Bill O'Reilly-style bloviator. While real network news withers, Stewart's show has become the hot destination for anyone who wants to sell books or seem hip, from presidential candidates to military dictators. Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf arrived at the Daily Show studio with bomb-sniffing dogs and a bulletproof facade for the anchor desk. For a Strong Man, Stewart said, he was "good people." At the Emmys, Colbert greeted the Hollywood audience as "godless Sodomites,'' and at the White House Correspondents Dinner, he proclaimed, standing beside the president, "Reality has a well-known liberal bias." He hawks his own Formula 401 sperm on his show -- "the more Stephen Colberts in the world, the better," he assured me -- including a Spanish version, "para chicas''; wants Congress to build a wall and moat with flames, fireproof crocodiles, predator drones and machine-gun nests to keep out immigrants; and has a running "Dead to Me" list that includes New York intellectuals, the cast of Friends and bow-tie pasta. "I'm not a fan of facts,'' he boasts. "Facts can change all the time, but my opinion will never change." Truthiness, a word he made up just before going on air, has been hailed by New York magazine as "the summarizing concept of our age."

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