Barack Obama and David Simon: a Daily Show/Colbert Report Double-Header
We all knew Obama would do a telecast interview on The Daily Show tonight, an appearance perhaps eclipsed by his 30-minute infomercial. But it surprised me to see Baltimore’s finest David Simon follow suit on The Colbert Report. What was the hook for Simon’s appearance? The Generation Kill mini-series ended this summer, with little fanfare. There was no mention of his new New Orleans-set project. Colbert was struggling to make the interview relevant. He seized upon David Simon’s characters that defy easy protagonist/antagonist classification and his critiques of a capitalist culture that requires institutions to “do more with less.”
“Barack Obama says he loves your show: is that because you’re a socialist,” Colbert dead-panned. That segewayed into a more substantive defense of progressive taxation.
Colbert hit a nerve talking about how Simon resented the prize-obsessed world of newspaper journalism. That’s why you went into TV then, Colbert said, taunting, because we don’t care about prizes at all. You know Simon has to be somewhat bitter about the lack of Emmy recognition for The Wire. Maybe he himself was Pulitzer Prize-obsessed while at The Sun, so he had to leave before that impulse got the better of him.
He’s proud to be one of the first on the 200+ plus Sun newroom staffers who have taken buy-outs over the past 15 years. So in some vague way we’re part of the same club.
“Journalism kind of spit me out,” Simon said.