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    Stephen Colbert: Don’t Love and Leave YouTube

    by Mark Glaser
    October 30, 2006

    i-cefd0e9adcb0c891a079e127c58e1eb4-Colbert YouTube.jpg
    An Open Letter to Stephen Colbert, star of Comedy Central’s “The Colbert Report”

    We in the Colbert Nation are sickened by the recent news that heavy-handed trial lawyers at Viacom, representing Comedy Central, have asked YouTube to force its users to remove video clips from “The Colbert Report,” “The Daily Show,” and “South Park.” While those lawyers have legal standing to do this, it goes against the spirit of Internet sharing and viral promotion — two phenomena that have helped make your show so popular in the first place. It just doesn’t sound like you, Stephen, baby.

    If anything, you have been a bright shining star of Internet experimentation, freedom of expression online, and prankster extraordinaire in the long tradition of online pranksters. In fact, your track record online is awe-inspiring, stunning and a beacon of perfection for any wannabe entertainment outfit trying to find their sea legs on the Internets. Think I’m just puffing you up to tear you down? Well of course, but this stuff is seriously brilliant and worth listing here:

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    > Wikipedia hijinks: You asked your audience to change the entries on the community-run encyclopedia in order to “create a reality we can all agree on — the reality we just agreed on.” And they did wreak havoc on Wikipedia, leading to technical problems on the site and an editorial “lock” on 20 elephant-related entries.

    > Green screen challenge: You posted videos online of yourself doing a “Star Wars” light-saber battle scene, and asked people to create their own videos with the footage. They did, and you included them on the show, calling them “heroes.”

    > Bridge naming: You asked your audience to go online and vote for a bridge in Hungary to be named after, well, you. It appears that you won that online vote, edging out Jon Stewart.

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    I don’t know if these were all your brainstorms, those of your geeky interns, or a combination thereof — it doesn’t matter. The simple fact is that you have used the Internet in the way it was meant to be used, to generate buzz, get people involved and build a true online community whose own work could be showcased on your TV program. That’s in the spirit of Web 2.0, a fancy-schmancy term for letting your audience in on the fun, letting them vote and mash-up video and edit Wikipedia to their heart’s (and your heart’s) desire.

    Your lawyers and the suits at Viacom think they’ve got a great new way to make money online. “Hmmmm,” they sneer, as they rub their hands together. “We will shut down videos from ‘Colbert Report’ over at YouTube and other video sharing sites so that people will come to Comedy Central’s site and watch video there, where we can play three ads for every video clip! Mwah-ha-ha [echoes]!!!”

    Nice idea, but one problem. When the Colbert Nation goes to YouTube to trade clips or watch them, it’s an easy interface, simple to use, simple to watch. When they go to Comedy Central’s Motherload, guess what they’re in for? A bloated interface, with little control over what you want to watch, and you have to download a special software plug-in if you use the Firefox browser. If you have a Mac? Forget it. No “Colbert” for you!

    As one hardcore Nation fan wrote on the No Fact Zone blog:

    The glory days of YouTube are officially over. I knew it would happen, but I never thought it would happen only three months after I started up this website. (sigh) Now, all is not totally lost. Comedy Central does have Motherload. However, one cannot post Motherload clips onto a blog, or bookmark them and save as favorites, or actually play them with any relative ease. But at least it’s something.

    It’s something, but that something isn’t good, and is one reason Viacom CEO Tom Freston was shown the door. This is the time for you, Stephen, to show your bosses the error of their ways, to step up to the plate and show them the importance of share and share alike online, and how the Internet has helped stoke the flames of your fiery stardom. Don’t let the flame of freedom burn out now.

    Think I’m alone in this wacky view of letting people view your clips everywhere? Nope.

    WindyPundit says:

    “Are they insane? What else are they going to do with the old episodes? It’s current events television.”

    Sean Coon has his own open letter, where he says:

    “You had thousands of fans, like me, pointing to and contextualizing clips from their blogs, generating millions of page views and legions of new viewers and you killed it because they weren’t your page views. So dumb.”

    C.A. Bridges of the Daytona Beach News-Journal writes:

    “There’s no question that companies have the right and the duty to protect their copyrights. But those mixed signals [promoting material and sending out cease-and-desist letters] are getting a little loud.”

    *****

    So now I’m throwing down my own MediaShift challenge. Create a video that expresses the collective thoughts of the Colbert Nation on this issue, and post it to YouTube, with a link to it below in the comments. You’re welcome to use my words above, write your own, videotape yourself — just keep it relatively clean as this is public blogcasting, uh, broadcasting. I’ll post a link to the best videos in this space, and send them directly to Colbert’s attention.

    UPDATE: Dylan Stableford at FishBowlNY refutes the reports of massive YouTube pull-downs, saying that there are still 6,700-plus results for a South Park search. (Searches for Stephen Colbert still brought up 1,148 videos as of Monday evening.) According to Stableford, clips over 5 minutes in length were pulled, while those shorter than 5 minutes were still up. It’s true that pulling down YouTube video is tricky as you have to give notices to everyone who’s putting up copyrighted videos today, tomorrow, the next day, ad infinitum.

    Also, Wiley VP Joe Wikert does a better job explaining the poor economics: of Viacom’s decision than I did in my weak humor above. Here’s the meat of his argument:

    Comedy Central (and other) content will undoubtedly disappear for a bit from YouTube. Look for it to reappear with advertisements rolled in. That’s all the content owners really want, a piece of a revenue pie. They can’t be too greedy though; as I’ve also noted before, the online revenue base is going to be much, much smaller than the one they’re used to capturing via cable. Those who opt for greed will disappear from YouTube and never come back. Good luck to those folks as they try to build their own traffic; better to have a small slice of something than to have 100% of nothing.

    UPDATE 2: Howard Owens thinks this story is just an unsubstantiated rumor started by Jeff Reifman of Newscloud, who posted his take-down notice from YouTube. Owens says he has run searches of “Colbert” and hasn’t seen a marked difference over the past few days. The real test would be a search on “Colbert” from before last Friday, when Reifman posted his take-down notice.

    Reuters confirms through an unnamed source at Viacom that the company did request YouTube take down some copyrighted videos on the site “as part of ongoing discussions on how the two companies can work together.” In other words, this could just be a hardball negotiating tactic: “If you don’t give us a good deal at Viacom, we’ll yank all your funny stuff!”

    This seems to be the Big Media negotiating tactic of choice with GoogTube post-merger. The Wall Street Journal called it “saber rattling” by a group of media companies — News Corp., NBC Universal, and Viacom, naturally — who are exploring their legal options against Google over copyright violations on YouTube. The money paragraph:

    Whether the media companies eventually will file legal action is unclear, but the legal maneuvering comes as each of them is holding separate negotiations to allow YouTube to carry their programming in return for a slice of advertising revenue. Executives hope the possibility of legal action could prompt YouTube to improve terms it offers the media companies, according to people familiar with the matter.

    So this whole thing with pulling clips at YouTube might just be a negotiating tactic for Viacom. Send out a few cease-and-desist letters, let bloggers and the media scare Google into thinking the sky is falling at its new baby YouTube, and then swoop in with a sweet ad deal. If that works out, then your bosses are shrewder than I expected, Stephen…

    UPDATE 3: The Washington Post does a good job of summing up the issues for Big Media in pulling down or keeping up copyrighted content on YouTube. The article contrasts Comedy Central’s tougher stance to the more open view of NBC Universal, which only asks for take-downs of videos that “cross an obvious line,” such as including an entire episode of a show.

    “Everybody is learning, in some sense, how to draw the line,” NBC exec Rick Cotton told the Post. “This medium is at the cutting edge. I think our creative executives feel that ‘The Office’ and ‘Saturday Night Live’ benefit from the significant attention we’ve gotten online.”

    UPDATE 4: Thanks to all your thoughtful comments here. Because of the Digg post and the 1,385 Diggs and counting, I had my most trafficked day at MediaShift ever yesterday.

    There’s a lot of talk about how much power Colbert himself has in the process of clips being pulled or allowed on YouTube. I addressed my open letter to Colbert because I see him as a figurehead, and also someone who “gets it” when it comes to the Internet. Whether he has any power or not, it is his artistic work on the line and he should at least know what’s going on. I was also curious if he would actually address any of this on his show at some point. While Comedy Central likely owns the intellectual property of “The Colbert Report,” Colbert or his producers must have some sway in how that is used online. Plus, it’s a lot more fun writing a letter to him than a nameless exec or lawyer.

    As for the latest developments, it looks like Viacom will allow shorter clips from its shows on YouTube. While Viacom did ask for clips to be pulled, many thousand remain, and some YouTubers have written here that they have simple ways to avoid getting clips pulled by using code words for video tags instead of “Colbert” or “Jon Stewart.” In a statement sent to the Red Herring, Viacom said, “We want our audiences to be able to access our programming on every platform and we’re interested in having it live on all forms of distribution in ways that protect our talented artists, our loyal customers and our passionate audiences.”

    Seems like a good idea. This is obviously a fluid situation, as Red Herring reports Viacom and YouTube have yet to reach a formal agreement. But I believe that the way fans have reacted here and on other sites does make a difference, and gives the execs at Viacom pause in trying to deal heavy-handedly with them. But most likely, this was just a negotiating tactic that Viacom used to get a better deal with Google/YouTube.

    Tagged: copyright law stephen colbert viacom videos youtube
    • Andrew

      I can pretty much guarantee you that Colbert would have liked to see youtube carry on the same way but has no other recourse this side of pulling a Dave Chappelle. The disconnect between lawyers and someone on the production end like Colbert is massive.

      Also I don’t think anybody at Viacom will show any remorse when they feel youtube is under-cutting their own internet video site ifilm.

    • Jim B

      I so agree with your points. The whole deal going these days makes me sick, from music to movies. When a person, show, idea first gets going they are starving for exposure and love when it cathes on the net. Then as soon as the almighty dollar gets to their heads they want you to remove it and use the excuse artistic property. I only knew of him because od daily show skits until you tube and digg got a hold of it all, and now he is bigger than stewart. Just think back to the early days when you couldnt even book an audition, I bet you would have given anything to get the exposure we the users of the net have given you….

    • what

      1. Stephen Colbert has no say on this issue.

      2. Do you seriously think lawyers are making these decisions? Lawyers take instructions from the business execs- that’s their job.

      Take it up with the execs or the shareholders.

    • I saw Howard Owen’s arguments about what was happening with the YouTube clip removals. He called me out on a comment I made, so I clarified what I was saying on this post:

      http://www.nofactzone.net/?p=421

      When trying to figure out why certain videos were deleted while others were not, I looked at the videos in My YouTube Favorites (which number over 50 and all are related to Colbert) and compared the ones that were deleted verses the videos that survived. The characteristic of almost all of the videos that were deleted (which I cannot see on my Favorites list, but which are still visible on my Playlists) is that they had a combination of “Stephen Colbert” or “Colbert Report” in their tags. I also noticed that many of the videos that survived often only had “colbert” or “funny” in the tags and none of them had the combination of “colbert report”

      I also mention in this post that my “Strangers with Candy” and “Exit 57” clips (shows starring Colbert and owned by Comedy Central/Viacom) remain in their entirety.

    • Max Powers

      Dear Author,
      I agree.
      Colbert Rocks, and he knows it, and the entire web needs to see it.
      Many times Comedy Central will use videos from utube or another sharing website. I think its time Stephan learned a lesson if he does not fight this.

      I will not be watching another live airing of the show until the clips are allowed back on utube

    • Tim

      YouTube should fight back. They should completely eliminate the results from targeted “Copyrighted Searches”. After a few weeks of
      diminishing audiences, I think that it will be the media companies who come crying back to YouTube requesting they turn it back on.

    • Don’t leave YouTube Colbert. You are killing your own audience.

    • Just remember it isn’t youtube anymore is googletube. I find it strange once youtube gets bought by google everything about copyrighted material went apeshit.

    • Dan

      Colbert has little to no say about this. Sure he can protest but in the end the Report is a pay check and he’ll have no choice but do go along with those writing the checks or risk being told to take a walk.

    • ophello

      During prohibition people could still get alcohol, if they really tried. Same here: If you really need your prescious Colbert clips, you’ll find a way.

      I seriously doubt that this is killing a substantial size of the audience. Maybe 3-5 percent, but not the majority, who probably watch it live.

      And of course, the only peope whining are the people who are online and can whine, thus blowing the whole thing out of proportion.

    • There’s also the fact that, believe it or not, the internet isn’t reserved for Americans and seeing as there aren’t DVDs of the colbert report and it isn’t screened in the UK.

      so if us Brits wanted to watch any of the Colbert report it was Youtube or nothing. Now we’ve got nothing. Cheers for that.

    • Wake up Comedy Central and Viacom! And please, people, stop pointing the finger at Colbert, he has ZERO power when it comes to confronting Viacom executives. Comedy Central is a drop in the bucket for them in terms of overall revenue as compared to MTV Networks, Paramount Pictures, and Dreamworks (all under the Viacom umbrella).

      I’m sure this is just a matter of scare tactics, as others have noted. Hopefully we’ll see a resolution to this once Google gets their hands completely around YouTube. Remember, Google’s #6 truth: You can make money without doing evil..

    • jesus

      Colbert for President!

    • me_today

      I eagerly watch Colbert on YouTube, but I do not get cable tv. Therefore, if they remove Colbert clips from online sources, then I’ll just find another source for comedy.

    • I came a cross Colbert on You.Tube this year and I was floored by how brilliant the show was. In Australia we don’t get The Repot, we do however get a weekly version of the Global Edition of The Daily Show… but that’s about it. You.Tube has fostered a small but loyal Coalition Of The Willing Colbert Nation in Australia.
      so much so on a recent trip to New York I tried deserpately to get into a taping with out much success.

      I guess I’ll be torrent full episodes again… like I have been every day with Daily Show and Colbert Report.

      The inernet is much bigger than your US market Viacom… you should know that… the iTunes store in Australia doesn’t permit users to download the show.. and mother load is for PC users.

      Get with the program… As Stewart Brand famously said “The Information Wants To Be Free” people will put it up on other sites and torrents regardless… and you can stop the pirates!

      AHHHHHHRRRRRGggggg

    • I came a cross Colbert on You.Tube this year and I was floored by how brilliant the show was. In Australia we don’t get The Repot, we do however get a weekly version of the Global Edition of The Daily Show… but that’s about it. You.Tube has fostered a small but loyal Coalition Of The Willing Colbert Nation in Australia.
      so much so on a recent trip to New York I tried deserpately to get into a taping with out much success.

      I guess I’ll be torrent full episodes again… like I have been every day with Daily Show and Colbert Report.

      The inernet is much bigger than your US market Viacom… you should know that… the iTunes store in Australia doesn’t permit users to download the show.. and mother load is for PC users.

      Get with the program… As Stewart Brand famously said “The Information Wants To Be Free” people will put it up on other sites and torrents regardless… and you can stop the pirates!

      AHHHHHHRRRRRGggggg

    • Doug

      Well there’s allways thepiratesbay.org, I would rather download a whole episode than just a 3 min clip.

    • Matt Healy

      Content owners are smart to remove unauthorized video from YouTube right now, as Google is very likely going to provide them with a revenue sharing model in the very near future. Why allow random users to post Colbert Report clips on YouTube when Viacom can do it themselves and make a buck to boot?

    • Alan

      While Colbert may not have any power over the decision, a large community uprising like this will be noticed in the boardroom if it’s large enough. The question is, will it be large enough? Personally, I think Colbert should rip them a new one over it on his show…

    • steve

      the videos still show up in search results, but when you try to play them you get the message that it was taken down.

    • homer

      sure they might get some revenue sharing from GoogleTube, but will it be enough to offset the costs to encode and maintain a clip library? they had fans doing it for free and now they are gonna hire someone to do it. idiots.

    • arthurz

      I think that this is a great first volley. Address the content creator directly, assume he is a man in charge of his own destiny, and ask him to take responsibility, not only for the creation, but the distribution of his product. This much accountability is reasonable. Demonstrate the contribution that New Media has had to his success, and ask if he is willing to jeopardize this relationship.

      I think it’s going to be conveniently ignored, or addressed insufficiently with mere words, instead of the desired action. I think New Media should adopt the policy at this point of acting economically if our reasonable dictates are not met. This should be the protocol for our response. I believe that at that point, when we have shown strength, then we can meet at the bargaining table. This is not something unreasonable that we are requesting.

      If our demands are not seen as reasonable then, perhaps the consequences will make them seem more reasonable.

      I propose a good old fashion boycott date. Pick a date to avoid youtube, to show the strength in consumer dollars. It’s just a math game to them, viewers * desirable demographic=advertising revenue. We pick a day to be economically disruptive to their revenue stream, and they will be able to calculate the economic gamble that they are making. Let them run the numbers and see if their actions are worth it.

    • Miles Teg

      Here’s one they removed.

    • Many seem to think Stephen Colbert has no say on this issue. That’s entirely false.

      I would wager you believe that because we are all used to corporations strong-arming individuals into compliance with their money-grubbing corporate schemes. “Stephen loved YouTube, but the damn lawyers ruined everything,” you’ll say–or you’ve said already. The pattern is all-too common; but just because it’s the status quo doesn’t mean it has to continue.

      In short, people are all too ready to throw in the towel, defend Stephen in principle but relent on the important issue. “That’s the way it goes,” we’re willing to concede. The corporation has the power.

      That attitude blows.

      Stephen does have a say, because he can walk. He’s single-handedly responsible (well, with the help of his crew) for creating the Colbert Report and its image, and has the power to stick it to the man. While we wouldn’t hate him if he didn’t flex his rights and stand up, there is every reason to encourage him to.

      Hell, he’s under no obligation to walk just because his fans say he should. But man, when the fans have already given up fighting the good fight because they’re ready to bow down to corporate interests as a matter of routine?

      That’s sad.

    • kaioti

      I am convinced YouTube is dead in the water since Google bought it. When it was independent, it didn’t have enough money to be sued for copyright infringement by corps. like Viacom. Google does. Do the math, folks — pretty soon all we’ll see on YouTube will be home videos, minus Bob Saget voiceovers.

    • Mark, great post here. I’ve tried to address some of your issues.

      Using the Google API, I compiled a list of Comedy Central videos currently working and broken on YouTube which seem to contradict published reports that Viacom had issues only with entire episodes – not selected clips. I think YouTube users deserve a clearer explanation.

    • john

      Steven I’m putting you on notice.

    • josh

      Many seem to think Stephen Colbert has no say on this issue. That’s entirely false…

      … Stephen does have a say, because he can walk. He’s single-handedly responsible (well, with the help of his crew) for creating the Colbert Report and its image, and has the power to stick it to the man.

      While Colbert could walk, I think it is ridonkulous to expect him to walk away from something he helped create and probably loves because people can’t watch crappy, low-resolution clips of his show for free on the internet. This is not a serious moral issue for Colbert, it is just a marketing issue. If the Viacom were smart, they would put high quality videos of their popular shows on the web, with 10-15 second advertising clips at the beginning and end, and host a channel for each show on YouTube. This way, they can put in a little bit of advertising, control what is put up, save money by hosting on YouTube’s site, be able to steer people to their site, and continue to give their fan base something to love on, share, and hopefully grow it with. The downside is, people are not able to control putting up their own videos of this sort, but at the least they are able to share them with friends and save clips that make them laugh (My personal favorite, Gov. Bush vs. Pres Bush moderated by Jon Stewart).

      1. Stephen Colbert has no say on this issue.

      2. Do you seriously think lawyers are making these decisions? Lawyers take instructions from the business execs- that’s their job.

      Take it up with the execs or the shareholders.

    • josh

      Many seem to think Stephen Colbert has no say on this issue. That’s entirely false…

      … Stephen does have a say, because he can walk. He’s single-handedly responsible (well, with the help of his crew) for creating the Colbert Report and its image, and has the power to stick it to the man.

      While Colbert could walk, I think it is ridonkulous to expect him to walk away from something he helped create and probably loves because people can’t watch crappy, low-resolution clips of his show for free on the internet. This is not a serious moral issue for Colbert, it is just a marketing issue.

      If the Viacom were smart, they would put high quality videos of their popular shows on the web, with 10-15 second advertising clips at the beginning and end, and host a channel for each show on YouTube. This way, they can put in a little bit of advertising, control what is put up, save money by hosting on YouTube’s site, be able to steer people to their site, and continue to give their fan base something to love on, share, and hopefully grow it with.

      The downside is, people are not able to control putting up their own videos of this sort, but at the least they are able to share them with friends and save clips that make them laugh (My personal favorite, Gov. Bush vs. Pres Bush moderated by Jon Stewart).

      1. Stephen Colbert has no say on this issue.

      2. Do you seriously think lawyers are making these decisions? Lawyers take instructions from the business execs- that’s their job.

      Take it up with the execs or the shareholders.

    • Sivert

      Hi

      I was sad the day the full episodes of The Colbert Report was taken away from YouTube. As a Norwegian Hero it is now not longer possible for me to watch the show.

      I beg that one day the full episodes will be back.

      Comedy Central could even pull them out themself with commercials in it. I would still be a wery happy man

      Only one of the former Heroes of Norway

      Sivert

    • arthuz

      Glad that only a first volley was needed;-)

    • at the end of the day – the only thing that matters is that somebody gets paid. when youtube sold for insane cash – everyone even those who sumbitted their own homemade videos began clammering for cash. Seriously what did you expect?

    • That list of 400 working videos I put up last night seems to be quickly disappearing on YouTube. I also received a takedown notice tonight for the last Comedy Central clip in my account.

      I think reports of a settlement with Viacom are premature.

      http://www.newscloud.com/read/75706

    • timothy

      stay on youtube

      work it out

    • bill

      YouTube will likely go the way of MySpace. The kids are leaving in large busses as fast as they can. MySpace is no longer “cool” so guess what…remember Friendster, Xanga et al. Nope. You likely wont MySpace either.

      If Utube continues this then Gootube may have taken a billion dollar enema.

      The notorious fickelness of the users should be a warning and they should know this. The big corps can not react fast enough with so many lawyers as baggage.

      I think it may have just farted and blew out the window.

    • theEDUCATOR

      I feel sickened by this whole move. Comedy Central used us and then abused us. It is unfair to let an entire community create interest and wealth for your company and then turn around and change the rules in your own favour. We had an unspoken agreement Comedy Central! You let us post and we create advertising and interest for your show. This should be considered a breach of contract as they changed the rules once it suited their interest. YouTubers have been used like a two-dollar whore. This is not only unethical and immoral; it is also against the implied nature of the agreement. YouTube users should have the right to sue Comedy Central for the advertising they have created for them and demand compensation. Stephen Colbert, youll be hearing from my lawyer. Which brings us to tonight’s word: Unspoken contract.

    • 78% of Daily Show Clips Missing from YouTube
      Of 897 Daily Show videos on YouTube, 699 were missing or broken. That’s nearly 78% of Daily Show videos now taken down for alleged copyright infringement without any regard for fair use from what I can tell.

      When is YouTube going to give its community an explanation? And Viacom?

      Link to broken videos

    • Shawn

      YouTube is a joke now. Great for those two gentlemen who came up with the idea for YouTube but now its gone corporate.

    • You know- I had the same reaction. And the only reason I didn’t rant is because we know exactly what’s happening here. Colbert has absolutely no influence. I can almost guarantee it. If he owned his content he’d have never done this. But he doesn’t have full ownership…

    • A. Stranger

      News Release: Congresswoman Sherri Davis (R-CA), Blasts Jon Stewart and “The Daily Show’s” Midterm Midwest Midtacular Coverage as “Misinformed and Misleading”

      New York, New York (U.S. News) November 2, 2006 – Congresswoman Sherri Davis, R-CA, issued a statement today blasting the Ohio-based reporting of Jon Stewart and his “Daily Show” reporting team as “misinformed, misleading and occasionally mystifying.”

      Congresswoman Davis, a conservative Republican who has become known as the “Ann Coulter of Anaheim” for her vocal opposition to flag burning and illegal immigration, and her fierce support of the American family, charged Jon Stewart with deliberately misleading the American public in his “Midwest Midterm Midtacular” series currently broadcasting from the key election battlefield of Ohio about the true issues in that key battlefield state.

      “Although Jon Stewart insists on incorrectly emphasizing the war in Iraq, jobs, and the Canadian fence issue as the top issues mobilizing the Ohio electorate,” says Davis, a former Miss Pomona and the widow of Chinese industrialist Soon-Yi Davis. “But Ohio this year is actually a textbook example of how purely local issues are mobilizing key Republican voting blocks to get out and vote – and will tip this state into the Republican column once again.”

      Specifically, Davis charges that Stewart and his “Daily Show” are deliberately overlooking the impact that two major statewide ballot referendums in Ohio will have on voter turnout this year.

      The first is the Republican-backed proposed amendment to the state Constitution to add a”mandatory portion control” clause to the state constitution for the first time in state history. “That’s a very popular issue for Republicans in the state, and particularly Republican women,” says Davis. “It’s similar to what they’re currently doing in New York City in regards to trans-fast. And that’s a Republican-backed proposal that should drive core Republican voters to the voting booth almost as much as the issue of gay marriage has in the past.”

      And the other key Ohio ballot issue this time round that Jon Stewart and his “Daily Show” analysis are overlooking, says Davis, is Proposition 15, the Democratic-backed proposition that would create major new statewide incentives for scrapbooking.

      “That proposal would add substantial scrapbooking tax breaks and would also a required scrapbooking curriculum to the state school system at both the junior high and the high school level,” says Cong. Davis. “Democrats feel this is a family-friendly pastime that will dramatically expand their base, but we as Republicans are against anything that would increase the already high tax burden of Ohio residents, and on those grounds this measure is doomed to defeat.”

      According to Davis, if the scrapbookers stay home from the polls this week – “and is this really the best the Democrats could come up with?” — that could hurt the Democrats and even cost them a few House seats in Ohio’s hotly contested suburban districts.

      “The Republican Party, however, is confident that the mandatory portion control amendment that we have proposed to the state constitution will drive our core voters to the polls and tip this state into the Republican column once again,” says Davis. “And that’s where it belongs.”

      But a major wildcard in this election, notes Congresswoman Davis, is a downstate proposal backed by Ohio native Sarah Jessica Parker that has controversially divided the rural county of Athens, Ohio, a traditional Republican stronghold.

      “Down south, in Athens County, which is the birthplace of celebrity actress Sarah Jessica Parker, issue ads taped by Miss Parker her have been blanketing the airwaves airing in support of a controversial county-wide proposal for stricter regulation of yoga mat cleanliness, which is Proposition 32 on the local ballot,” says Davis. “And this could have a major influence on voter turnout in that county and tip it into the Democratic column for the first time in decades.”

      This issue bubbled to the forefront when, on a recent trip to Nelsonville, Ohio, to received the key to the city of her hometown, Miss Parker used a local yoga mat and returned home to New York City with a bacterial infection and a bad case of jock itch.

      “Now, Athens County generally votes Republican,” says Congresswoman Davis, “but as the seat of Ohio University, the county does have a very strong liberal Democratic minority. And so it is a possibility that Miss Parker’s highly publicized Yoga Mat Cleanliness Act could bring out the liberal Democrats in force, and tip that key county into the Democratic column for the first time in years.”

      Elsewhere in the nation, election-year controversy has been stirred by issue ads airing expressing the views of celebrities Michael J. Fox (stem cells) and even Boy George.

      Finally, Congresswoman Davis reprimands Jon Stewart and “The Daily Show” for failing to note in their reporting the significance of the fact that the entire Democratic ticket in the state is headed by a Brown this year – Sherrod Brown, who is running for Senate.

      “Now, Brown has long been a potent political name in Ohio, just as Green has been in New York and Orange has been in Florida,” says Davis. “And so the `Brown Factor,’ could also tip the race to the Democrats as legions of Brown supporters make their voices heard at the polls. And that is a factor not to be overlooked.”

      Concludes a disgruntled Congressswoman Davis: “Next year, send Stephen Colbert to the state. He’ll get it right.”

    • BabaMix

      I think Viacom should get BaBamix’s online video mashups platform for Comedy Centrals Motherload – a great sticky application and buzz (viral) platform: http://www.babamix.com

    • Viacom, a big player in the Gestapo tactics of eliminating Net Neutrality, is an idiot.

      Like the greedy, self-sabotaging dummies in the RIAA, they are shooting themselves in the foot by demanding YouTube, the fastest growing web site in history, to take down the Colbert, Comedy Central, etc. videos.

      Marketing suicide, this is.

      YouTube video clip uploads is FREE promotion for Viacom owned content.

      What stupid, selfish, Command and Control jerkbags!

    • S

      Well said! To take the clips down is to contradict the democratic (in the widest sense of the word) spirit of Colbert and Stewart. I wish media corporations would realize what a benefit YouTube is to their business, as well. Classic routines like Colbert starting the faith-based faith of Stephen with a -ph, reporting on drunken driving in Louisiana, playing cards in Baghdad, celebrating Victory on the Phrase War on Terror – not only were they hilarious in themselves, seeing them on YouTube is a big part of what prompted me to watch the Report. So back off Viacom and the rest of you.

    • I came to know and appreciate the comedy of Stephen Colbert AFTER having seen the “ending” episode, via YouTube, of “Strangers with Candy” where he’s making fun of a wacky lipel-pin nun he had as a teacher (the King of Glory…). Albiet, it’s sad that companies think they are somehow loosing money over our REWATCHING of videos–I’m wondering if they’re going to pull their shows from being TiVoed?–but I believe that people are creative enough to start recording and producing their own comedy on YouTube…and if their talent is ever “discovered” through YouTube, they will, at least, be obligated to promote the webcasts.

    • Note to reader: I operate (on my “web site”) a blog that I like to think is close enough to Stephen Colbert’s style as to be funny (although I don’t update it enough to continually be funny). This following entry is written in that style. In other words: It’s Truth mixed with jokes, fool!

      Well, Nation, it looks like a sad time.

      For those who don’t know me, I’m what you’d call a “semi-amateur blogger”. I don’t do it enough to generate money (also known as “God’s Paper”), but I’m good enough (by several standards, including my mass orgy (of hits, you liberal scoundrel!) back in June of ’06, totaling close to 1000 hits per day) on other blogs to be considered a decent enough “expert” (I don’t like experts, they’re like books: too fact-y) to comment on this.

      Dr. Colbert is likely locked into a contract. He could walk out on it, but he’d risk legal action. Second, he’s no influence whatsoever as far as Viacom is considered. He can’t talk about it on his show, or he’d likely be censored. He can’t talk to them, as they’ll laugh him down and may even fire him (preventing the preaching of Truthiness, something we don’t want).

      Yes, YouTube was a wonderful thing, specifically for you foreign dudes (everyone knows all foreigners are men, and all women run around wearing scarfs on their heads screaming “Allah Ackbar! and setting themselves on fire”). Unfortunately, the markinistas out there decided YouTube must die (much like they decided that the Internets must die a slow, agonizing death). There’s little we Colbinistas can do, as we’re not markinistas (because if you are, you’re not a Colbinista, and vice-versa).

      All we can do is get on these Internets and write about how we were offended. Those foreign dudes out there might want to be especially vocal (ululating not encouraged).

      In the meantime, I’m going to sit around in God’s Country, watching the Truth like God gave me the right to do (where God==capitalism???).

      Pass the heat shields, it’s time for a hardcore blast of Truth!

    • Moe Golden

      Also, there is the irony that VH1, a Viacom property, makes liberal use of viral video via such shows as ‘Best Week Ever’ and ‘Web Junk’.

    • Bob

      motherload worked fine for this Mac user

      qz

    • JENNY

      i agree with many here and support google and you tube ,their ideas are noble ,google is freedom google is new vision , may i remind u all that in forbes magazine when given given interview to reporter google ceo and founders made a statment that SHOOK the world to its core ”Nikola Tesla is our idol , wich means free energy no gasoline electric cars etc, Nikola Tesla who was purposly removed from books and history a man who is also called ;;father of wireless ac power laser tech etc. So i will support google on this no matter what even though i like mr.Colbert. Those lawyers should back up cause manyyyyy ppl feel the way we do about you tube ,one who goes against you tube goes against FREEDOM , thats all we had to say, thank u

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