Jacques Steinberg writes:
Mark Smith, a reporter for The Associated Press who is president of the White House Correspondents' Association, acknowledges that he had not seen much of Stephen Colbert on Comedy Central before he booked him as the main entertainment for the association's annual black-tie dinner on Saturday night. But he says he knew enough about Mr. Colbert — "He not only skewers politicians, he skewers those of us in the media" — to expect that he would cause some good-natured discomfort among the 2,600 guests, many of them politicians and reporters.Maybe Mark Smith regrets his decision, maybe he doesn't. But it was unbelievable political theater, and it will go down in history as a "turning point" in how the press defines its relationship to this administration: will they have the guts to speak truth to power, or not.
What Mr. Smith did not anticipate, he said, was that Mr. Colbert's nearly 20-minute address would become one of the most hotly debated topics in the politically charged blogosphere. Mr. Colbert delivered his remarks in character as the Bill O'Reillyesque commentator he plays on "The Colbert Report," although this time his principal foil, President Bush, was just a few feet away.
(Image Mandel Ngan/Agence France-Presse - Getty Images)