New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman let his power lust just flow throughout the studio of The Colbert Report on Comedy Central on Thursday night. Promoting his book Hot, Flat, and Crowded, Friedman discussed his concept of America becoming "China for a day," so that his dream of a green revolution -- all those allegedly planet-saving taxes and regulations and product bans -- can be permanently enacted.

The Pew Research Center conducted a survey to see what the audiences of the various political shows knew about politics, and what they found goes against the conventional wisdom about whose audience is better informed about current events. With a simple three-question survey about politicians in high office, it turned out that the audiences of Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity answered more questions correctly than fans of the "Colbert Report," "The Daily Show," and CNN.

The quiz asked the names of two of the world's leaders and one party in power to determine what audience is most well informed. Survey participants were asked the names of the Secretary of State, the British Prime Minister, and the name of the party currently controlling the House of Representatives.

MSNBC host and former Republican Congressman Joe Scarborough appeared on the October 8 edition of "The Colbert Report" to declare John McCain the loser and use Democratic talking points to blame his own party (or former party?) on the current economic situation. An astonished Stephen Colbert exclaimed "look at how MSNBC has changed you!" In response the employee of the Keith Olbermann and Chris "thrill up my leg" Matthews network just replied "I know. I know"

In fairness, Scarborough asserted that if Iraq and the War on Terror were the top concern, McCain would be ahead in the polls. Then taking a shot at liberal elitism he added "I know it’s hard for Manhattan and Georgetown to figure out."

In an interview in the October 3, 2008 issue of Entertainment Weekly, liberal comedian Stephen Colbert explained what an emerging critique of Barack Obama might be: "He's a hope-ronaut. He's in a rarefied level of hope where the rest of us have to take tanks up with us." Interviewer Josh Wolk skeptically replied, "Is that really a comedic take? Seems more like a compliment."

Not backing down, Colbert's Comedy Central colleague Jon Stewart made clear that this "attack" on the Democratic nominee would be different then that of the harsh jibes at Republicans: "Even if you're satirizing how wonderful they are, that hyperbole is setting them up for an expectation to fail, especially within the American political system now, where authenticity — and apparently mediocrity — are the manna that the populace feeds upon." Earlier in the piece, Stewart derided, "You 'good values people' have had the country for eight years, and done an unbelievably s---ty job. Let's find some bad values people and give them a shot, maybe they'll have a better take on it."

Not that it counts for much but who are the most influential political media figures? It's an interesting question, one that for the most part is hardly a provable assertion. How can one measure influence, after all?

You probably can't but you can at least measure how famous (or infamous) a pundit is. New York Magazine attempted to do just that by creating an index that looks at a given commentator's mentions in Google, blogs, newspapers/magazines, TV shows and then computes a "popularity score" based on the rankings for each category.

The top figure in the survey? Former Bush top aide Karl Rove with a score of 67.79. He's followed very closely by radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh with 67.35.

Apparently, the presidential candidacy of Barack Obama is no laughing matter.

Mimicking their so-called serious counterparts in the so-called serious press, late night comedians have comedically bashed John McCain far more this year than the junior senator from Illinois.

So says a new study about to be released by the Center for Media and Public Affairs as reported by the LA Times Thursday (h/t Hot Air):

Liberals regularly wink and nod at the conservative audience watching Fox News and says a conservative crowd guarantees a conservative bias. Using that method of analysis, a new study suggests "The Colbert Report" on Comedy Central has a strong tilt to the left, despite its faux-conservative host Stephen Colbert.

On Monday, comedian Stephen Colbert had a fabulous interview with the Sierra Club's Carl Pope (h/t Ecorazzi). Enjoy:

A New York Times article reveals that late night comics are having a hard time making jokes about Sen. Barack Obama. From the article:

What’s so funny about Barack Obama? Apparently not very much, at least not yet.

stephencolbertThe guest on Tuesday's episode of "The Colbert Report" was Will Smith, who had already expressed support for Barack
Obama on "The Today Show"
earlier this week. Colbert joked that perhaps he wants Obama to win so he can play him in a movie. The fake news anchor then goes on to make a tasteless joke about John McCain. Here's the partial transcript:

STEPHEN COLBERT: As an actor wouldn't it be more of a challenge to play John McCain for you. That would be a stretch.

WILL SMITH: That is a stretch. I can give that a shot.

STEPHEN COLBERT: That's Oscar territory because I don't know if you've heard him give speeches, he seems mentally challenged.

Comedy Central is usually the network that rips on President Bush -- including its nasty cartoon "Lil Bush." But it's not the network that tries to present equal satire on Hillary Clinton. Stephen Colbert hosted Hillary on "The Colbert Report" on Thursday night, and as he often does, he did a terrible job of even pretending to be a conservative as they portrayed Hillary as ultra-competent. Did they steal that from "Saturday Night Live?"

MRC's Melissa Lopez offers the transcript below the fold. Hot Air has the video.

STEPHEN COLBERT: "Anyway, the big news is last night's Democratic debate which took place here in Philadelphia.... What just happened? Jimmy, the rear screen is down! Where's my Liberty Bell?"

JIMMY: "Sorry, Stephen, it's just technical difficulties. We're not used to this studio."

COLBERT: "Well, get the technicians in here to figure it out!"

Stephen Colbert called it "an announcement." Chris Matthews went on the Comedy Central show last night and, responding to the host's importuning to declare his candidacy for US Senator from Pennsylvania, ultimately stated: "I want to be a senator."

Over on MSNBC, Morning Joe played a clip of their colleague's appearance, then chewed it over.
STEPHEN COLBERT: There's a lot of talk that you might be running for Arlen Specter's seat.
Matthews first played it coy.