CNN correspondent Jeanne Moos devoted an entire segment to the viral Obama as the Joker image on Tuesday’s Situation Room, and zeroed in on man-on-the-street reactions to it, all of whom expressed leftist horror at the picture. Moos herself suggested that “maybe it’s time to give the Joker joke a rest.” NewsBusters.org and Noel Sheppard's initial post about the posters made a brief appearance during her segment [audio from the entire segment is available here].
The correspondent, who is known for her light and sometimes humorous reports for CNN, chronicled how the Photoshop-style image of the president as Batman’s nemesis is spreading like wildfire on conservative websites, including the Drudge Report and NewsBusters. Throughout the report, she played clips of five men and six women whom the correspondent approached on a New York City street for their reaction to the Joker image. Unsurprisingly, all of the New Yorkers reacted negatively, from an “Oh my goodness” to “shame on them.” The last man stated that he was reminded of racist black-face comedy from the past, and the last woman even shouted, “It’s a right-wing spin- it’s disgraceful, and you shouldn’t even bring any attention to it.”
The only conservative reaction to the Joker image that Moos featured was a clip from Rush Limbaugh, who remarked that “it’s becoming cool to make fun of Obama.” The CNN correspondent called Robert Dougherty of the Associated Content blog (whom she described as a “Joker fan”) for his take, which also seems to be making its way around the Internet: “I think if you’re going to call Obama a socialist and then compare him to an anarchist- I think that undercuts your point.” Moos at least pointed out that former President George W. Bush and Hillary Clinton also had Joker images made of them.
At the end of the report, Moos herself seemed to suggest that the Obama/Joker image’s 15 minutes were up: “According to the Obama socialism wall clock, maybe it’s time to give the Joker joke a rest. Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.”
The full transcript of Moos’s report, which aired at the end of the 6 pm Eastern hour of Tuesday’s Situation Room:
SUZANNE MALVEAUX: Well, a new image of President Obama is making the rounds, and it takes his likeness- transforms it into that of a comic book arch-villain. CNN’s Jeanne Moos checks out reactions to this ‘Moost Unusual’ image of opposition.
JEANNE MOOS: In the words of the Joker-
HEATH LEDGER (as the Joker in The Dark Knight): Why so serious?
MOOS: You’d look serious too if you were the president of the United States being portrayed as the Joker.
UNIDENTIFED FEMALE 1: Oh, my god!
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE 2: Oh, my god!
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE 3: Oh, my goodness!
MOOS: Goodness and the Joker don’t usually go together, but on conservative websites, this image is the latest thing. Someone took Time magazine’s cover and transformed it. Hope was changed to joke. The image is making its way onto T-shirts- and onto a few posters alongside a highway ramp in L.A., accompanied by the word ‘socialism.’ The image got Rush Limbaugh’s attention.
RUSH LIMBAUGH (from his radio program): It’s becoming cool to make fun of Obama.
MOOS: Maybe not quite so much in New York City.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE 1: Yucky.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE 4: Extremely disturbing.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE 2: Stupid.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE 3: It seems kind of childish.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE 4: Whether you like the guy or not, you still don’t do that to anybody.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE 5: Shame on them.
MOOS: Shame doesn’t seem to be inhibiting critics.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE 5 (from YouTube video, dressed as the Joker): Bravo, Mr. President. Bravo.
MOOS: The White House had no comment on the Joker image. What do the Joker and socialism have to do with one another any way? Writer and Joker fan Robert Dougherty points out that the Joker supports anarchy.
ROBERT DOUGHERTY: I think if you’re going to call Obama a socialist and then compare him to an anarchist- I think that undercuts your point.
LEDGER (as the Joker): The only sensible way to live in this world is without rules.
MOOS: Obama critics could counter the president and the Joker tend to give away money.
JACK NICHOLSON (as the Joker from 1989 Batman movie): Hubba, hubba, hubba- money, money, money. Who do you trust?
MOOS: To cash in, the website Hero Builders plans to sell an Obama Joker action figure for 50 bucks apiece. But for some, the image is down right disturbing.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE 6: I think I do have a problem with the white face. It makes me think of black face
MOOS: Back when President Bush was in office, he got the Joker treatment- so did Hillary Clinton. (audio of Hillary Clinton cackling) But when it comes to the current president-
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE 6: It’s a right-wing spin- it’s disgraceful, and you shouldn’t even bring any attention to it. Have a nice day. Bye!
MOOS: According to the Obama socialism wall clock, maybe it’s time to give the Joker joke a rest. Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE 5 (from YouTube video, dressed as the Joker): (imitates Joker’s laugh)