During Monday night's edition of The Colbert Report on the Comedy Central cable channel, the faux conservative host celebrated the fact that “no one’s going to pay me to watch” the host of The O'Reilly Factor on the Fox News Channel “anymore, so f**k that noise!”
That comment was made during the final edition of a segment entitled “Formidable Opponent,” in which the blue-tied version of Colbert debated an imaginary, red-tied incarnation of himself.
“The big story continues to be the Senate Intelligence Committee's Torture Report,” Colbert said to begin his monologue before stating:
Folks, America is a beacon of freedom around the world, but thanks to this report, now brutal regimes are talking smack, like this crap from China: “How long can the U.S. pretend to be a human rights champion?”
Oh, I don't know; about as long as I can pretend I don't know who made my iPhone. It's elves, right?
“These are troubling questions, and in troubled times, Bill O'Reilly reminds us to shut up and let him talk,” the host asserted.
“There are some folks like me who believe we must use harsh methods to defeat the jihadists who would slaughter us all if they could,” O'Reilly noted in a video clip. “There are others who say we must obey the Geneva Convention even though we're fighting an enemy that does not fall under that treaty.”
He added: “And then there's the definition of 'torture.' Some believe that subjecting a captive to loud noise or verbal threats is torture.”
In response, Colbert began a debate with a red-tied version of himself whom he described as having “the most unchangeable mind.”
“I looked it up,” the real host stated, “and you and I debated torturing detainees in the first month of this show more than nine years ago.”
The imaginary Colbert said the real host “looks terrible,” and the blue-tied version explained that was because “I've been up for almost a week reading about how we kept prisoners up for almost a week. You look well-rested. What's your secret?”
The red-tied version asked his counterpart to hand him his copy of the report, which he tore up before tossing it away.
“Now you'll sleep like a baby,” the imaginary version stated.
“No, I won't,” the real host said, because “some parts of that report are disturbing.”
“Which parts?” the red-tied character asked, and his counterpart loudly stated: “The words!”
“Chaining and beating, confining in coffin-sized boxes, something called rectal rehydration,” he continued. “I just don't like to think of America as a torture nation.”
“We're not,” his red-tied duplicate responded. “We're the good guys. It's just that after 9/11, our fear and anger temporarily changed us.”
The Colberts then showed another clip of Bill O'Reilly, “Based on available evidence,” he noted, the Fox News host said he's “siding with the CIA people” who supported the use of harsh interrogation measures.
Look, we're fighting a war. I have a book on World War II -- Killing Patton -- so I know what I'm talking about.
Bad things happen in war. The truth is mistakes were made in the fog of war to protect Americans.
“Oh, I am going to miss that good man,” the blue-tied Colbert stated before his duplicate indicated that the Fox News anchor is not going off the air, “you are.”
“Yeah, but no one’s going to pay me to watch him anymore,” the real host declared, so f**k that noise!”
Colbert's counterpart responded: “You have to admit, though: Bill is right. You cannot judge what happens in the fog of war.”
“What fog?” the real host asked. “This wasn't low-level troops making split-second decisions in a free fire zone. It was over seven years of lawyers at the highest levels of government writing legal briefs about simulated drowning.”
“Look, fog or no fog, we said that we don't torture, and now the world thinks that we're the bad guys,” he continued.
His counterpart stated: “I'm not talking about the actual country. I'm talking about the idea of America.”
“And the actual America?” the real host asked.
“Have you read that report?” his duplicate shrieked. “We pumped humus up people's butts. And that, my friend, is why I choose to live in the idea of America.”
The real host responded: “But the idea of America is just an imaginary place, which means you, sir, are just an imaginary Stephen Colbert. And you, sir, have been a formidable opponent” as the red-tied Colbert faded away.
It's too bad neither version of Colbert pointed out that the report was prepared by the Democratic members of the Intelligence Committee. Here's hoping he's more accurate when he becomes the host of The Late Show on CBS next year.