NEXT: FIRE RICHARD COHEN  4:29 pm August 5, 2009

RIP: ‘Mouthpiece Theater,’ 2009-2009

by Jim Newell

Man, the top brass at the Washington Post are killing the everlasting shit out of Dana Milbank and Chris Cillizza’s horrific web gag “Mouthpiece Theater,” and not very discreetly! Both Cillizza and in-house arbiter of all that is true and fair in media, Howard Kurtz, have written long pieces about this Internet “experiment” gone bad, badder, and ultimately bad enough that Washingtonpost.com began choking to death on this ball-gag of experimental video-journalism.

Cillizza, to his credit, apologizes for making such shitty, offensive videos over the last few weeks. He admits that even his wife started hating him, and that’s no good. There are many, many more mainstream political reporter/pundits out there worse than Chris Cillizza, who seems like a nice enough guy and has produced plenty of valuable items for Wonkette to steal over the years. So we’re glad that he’s leaving Dana Milbank’s deadly sphere of influence now, before it’s too late.

Still, ha ha, no less a figure than the Post‘s executive editor publicly shames Milbank and Cillizza in Howard Kurtz’s obituary of record:

The Clinton joke, Cillizza said, “was inappropriate, over the line and highlighted the broader problems with the show. I’m personally apologizing on The Fix. It’s not consistent with the Post brand, but more important to me, it’s not consistent with the Fix brand I’ve worked to cultivate — insider, straight-dope journalism that tries to shoot down the middle.”

Brauchli called the Clinton joke “a serious lapse. . . . It’s really beneath us and not something we should engage in.”

In a letter to Brauchli on Tuesday that was signed by 32 women, the organization Women, Action and the Media demanded an explanation for what it called “the video’s patently sexist — and otherwise tasteless — content,” which the writers said displayed “misogyny” and “utter contempt for women” as well as racial insensitivity.

Although the scripts for “Mouthpiece Theater” were approved by editors, Milbank and Cillizza often ad-libbed parts of it, as was the case with the inclusion of Clinton’s photo. “We did not have an effective system for vetting videos and other multimedia content,” Brauchli said, insisting that will change. He said the paper will keep experimenting with new media but that “we need to hold ourselves to our standards to deliver that.”

Uh oh… PUMAs? Was it all 32 PUMA ladies who got it canceled??

…Bring it back!

Washington Post Kills ‘Mouthpiece’ Video Series [WP]
A Word on Mouthpiece Theater [WP/The Fix]

 
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{ 50 comments }

I-man August 5, 2009 at 4:35 pm

I will be the first to say it: Mad Bitches; not the women’s group, the tag-team duo of douchness I mean.

StoneAge August 5, 2009 at 4:35 pm

Now if we can only get rid of that Letterman boy’s show, Mouthrape Theater.

watershed August 5, 2009 at 4:35 pm

And they threw away Froomkin? FOR WHAT? Two indequate white males??!!

Rachel Ray Jihad August 5, 2009 at 4:37 pm

Brauchli must have seen their next script, “Obama is a Nagger.”

Also, Dana Milbank’s wife isn’t mentioned as hating him because of the skits in the article, which I take as confirmation that his wife hates him for a myriad of unrelated reasons, not the least of which is that he is Dana Milbank.

Jukesgrrl August 5, 2009 at 4:43 pm

The experiment that’s gone wrong is Dana Milbank and the Julius Caesar haircut sitting on top of that pickled brain.

hobospacejunkie August 5, 2009 at 4:44 pm

Evidence that Cilizza is a tool & douche: “the Post brand,” “shoot down the middle.” The idea that The Fix is even a brand, rather than a collection of milquetoast

Come here a minute August 5, 2009 at 4:45 pm

Punish Unfit Mouthpiece Assholes — NOOOObama!

hobospacejunkie August 5, 2009 at 4:46 pm

And Milbank is so thoroughly useless, clueless and a douche to boot, he’s not evev worth commenting on, beyond calling him a douche. Because he’s just a douche.

Come here a minute August 5, 2009 at 4:47 pm

[re=379251]Jukesgrrl[/re]: Cilizza’s wife hated the stupid thing. Milbank is more likely to shoot up an aerobics class than be married.

Nikolai Vsevolodovich Stavrogin August 5, 2009 at 4:47 pm

Jim, this post doesn’t make any sense. These things were always DIY satire produced in some drunk asshole’s garage, not the work of actual journalists attached to a news organization…

Oh Jesus, it just hit me. Oh God no.

Bill E Pilgrim August 5, 2009 at 4:48 pm

Wait that was supposed to be funny?

I thought it was just them giving us a behind the scenes look at how they write Washington Post columns.

It’s pretty much what I always imagined. Smoking jackets: check, asinine beltway frat boy attitude: check, Dana Bash is such a dick: check. Waiter: Check!

hobospacejunkie August 5, 2009 at 4:49 pm

…conventional wisdom masquerading as insight. And that horrible & distracting lisp makes me want to jump through the teevee and cut his fucking tongue off.

Country Club Jihadi August 5, 2009 at 4:50 pm

I hope that letter was signed in menstrual blood.

Bill E Pilgrim August 5, 2009 at 4:50 pm

Millbank. Not Bash.

I don’t know where I got that, that’s the name of someone on CNN I think. But I meant Millbank. Not Bash. Sheesh.

Advocatus_Diaboli August 5, 2009 at 4:51 pm

I’m sure the decision had nothing to do with the great takedown parody video that’s been circulating.
Okay, it wasn’t that funny, but the text in the video about wapo was, well, trenchant.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QJEPDwGVirQ

Come here a minute August 5, 2009 at 4:52 pm

[re=379259]Bill E Pilgrim[/re]: Dana Bash is a female CNN reporter. I think you meant to call Dana Perino a dick.

ZARF August 5, 2009 at 4:53 pm

Wait — someone fucks Cilizza??!?

My choice. My Wonkette. August 5, 2009 at 4:56 pm

As Ken would say to such journalists, “you guys don’t get to do this.” The funny this is they might not get to write stuff pretty soon, either.

SayItWithWookies August 5, 2009 at 4:57 pm

One less craptacular offering from the WaPo. That’s like cheering for one less measle.

ExecutorElassus August 5, 2009 at 4:58 pm

Later on, y’all!

I like how nobody is really mentioning that they referred to a sitting secretary of state as a “mad bitch,” just that it was a woman. I would have loved so see how quickly they’d get skull-fucked if they’d tried that on Condi.

DoctorCulturae August 5, 2009 at 5:00 pm

Mark this shark-jumping date. When culture noticeably imploded at the hands of pumas.

NJB August 5, 2009 at 5:02 pm

[re=379264]Bill E Pilgrim[/re]: I’ll bet you were thinking of “bash” as a verb, and perhaps projecting what you’d actually like to do to Milbank. No worries! You aren’t alone.

NJB August 5, 2009 at 5:03 pm

[re=379270]ZARF[/re]: Not anymore, apparently.

My choice. My Wonkette. August 5, 2009 at 5:04 pm

[re=379257]Nikolai Vsevolodovich Stavrogin[/re]: It must be their web survival 2.0 strategy. All I wanna know is who canceled Awl vs. Wonkette?

NJB August 5, 2009 at 5:05 pm

You know – I’d like to say these clowns shouldn’t quit their day jobs – but actually, they should.

Aquannissiwamissoo August 5, 2009 at 5:16 pm

Conservatives are only funny when they don’t mean to be. How many fucking times do we have to say this?

Lionel Hutz Esq. August 5, 2009 at 5:39 pm

So, Mouthpiece is gone from the interwebs, but Sean Hannity and Glen Beck are still on television? WTF?!?

snideinplainsight August 5, 2009 at 5:50 pm

Headline comin down :

Former La. Congressman William Jefferson Found Guilty of Bribery

Zadig August 5, 2009 at 5:50 pm

[re=379287]My choice. My Wonkette.[/re]: It wasn’t canceled, it’s just that Wonkette won.

Extemporanus August 5, 2009 at 6:20 pm

[re=379263]Country Club Jihadi[/re]: Doubt it. PUMAs no longer menstruate.

Perhaps it was signed in bitter, salty tears, with the 32 names only becoming visible when heated by the flame of a lavender scented votive.

Uncle Glenny August 5, 2009 at 6:29 pm

Cillizza: “… insider, straight-dope journalism that tries to shoot down the middle.”

I don’t think that means what you think it means.

Uncle Glenny August 5, 2009 at 6:30 pm

[re=379287]My choice. My Wonkette.[/re]: Write the Wonkette omsbudsman. Wonkette has one, right?

Junior August 5, 2009 at 6:30 pm

Milbank channels Michael Scott:

“My strength is in observational, in-the-field stuff, and that’s what I should do.”

Athar August 5, 2009 at 6:45 pm

It appears from the original video that these two took the assignment to cover the “Beer Summit” a little too literally. They got a buzzed and then said some pretty “stupid,” very un-funny things. Sober they might well have realized how crude and insulting some of their one-liners were.

I know how it can happen. Good god do I know how it can happen!

Joshua Norton August 5, 2009 at 6:45 pm

[re=379404]Uncle Glenny[/re]: It’s probably Riley. But he can’t get to it until all his homework is done.

Alex Trebeks Girl August 5, 2009 at 7:16 pm

Dana Milbank is just angry because he has a chick name.

norbizness August 5, 2009 at 7:32 pm

In order to be “consistent with the Post,” editorially speaking, one must advocated bombing all things at all times and indefinitely detaining the improbable survivors. And capital gains tax cuts.

BTW, is “insider, straight dope journalism that tries to shoot down the middle” code for “I have a monster smack habit”?

Nikolai Vsevolodovich Stavrogin August 5, 2009 at 7:34 pm

[re=379287]My choice. My Wonkette.[/re]: Probably the same person who cancelled Comment of the Day.

And come to think of it, who got rid of The Anonymous Lobbyist? That dude was hilarious, whoever he was…

lawrenceofthedesert August 5, 2009 at 8:01 pm

And while you’re at it, whatever happened to “Gasoline Alley”?!? (What’s the difference between “consistent with the Post” and “dumb as a post”? Probably not enough.)

Darkness August 5, 2009 at 8:03 pm

It’s not consistent with the Post brand

But hiring wingnut column writers whose pieces are rife with errors apparently is. Wheee!

Allyson August 5, 2009 at 8:25 pm

Too little too late Cilizza–except for Tom Toles and Ann Telnaes (best political cartoonists) I *never* go to WaPo anymore. (But I still think Hillary should have Milbank over for a beer…and I know which kind of beer I recommend that she serve…bottoms up!)

torera August 5, 2009 at 8:33 pm

They weren’t funny. Ever. Period. Anyone of any age who is trying to be a comic should write it down first, remove the sexist, racist and poop jokes and then go back to the drawing board because all they’ll have is a blank piece of paper. What was funny in your drunken frat, boys, isn’t funny in real life. And why is Dana Milbank still employed anyway? I thought he already screwed his job.

masterofzen August 5, 2009 at 8:35 pm

Not the PUMAs. The PUMAs would never send a letter suggesting that “racial insensitivity” exists, in the world.

desertwind August 5, 2009 at 9:43 pm

Aw, no.

It was lame, but so wha’?

Extemporanus August 5, 2009 at 10:14 pm

[re=379426]Joshua Norton[/re]: Actually, Riley is Wonkette’s cumberbundsman.

Spiro Agnew August 5, 2009 at 11:40 pm

I actually have met Cillizza on a few occasions, he goes to the Gold’s Gym in South Arlington for those who care. Very nice and knowledgeable guy but this new-edge WaPo stuff sucks ass.

Naked Bunny with a Whip August 6, 2009 at 4:05 am

Now that his little YouTube TeeVee show is canceled, I hope Dana Milbank doesn’t follow in the footsteps of his sister, Dana Plato.

LoweredPeninsula August 6, 2009 at 4:56 am

[re=379256]Come here a minute[/re]: Bwahahaha!

[re=379270]ZARF[/re]: I know, right?

[re=379591]Spiro Agnew[/re]: Cillizza goes to the fucking gym? Are you shitting me?

‘Mouthpiece Theater,’ eh? Isn’t that just, like, the name for every downtown porno theater ever in business?

thefrontpage August 6, 2009 at 9:53 am

Most print reporters should NOT be doing video, in any form, and that is a fact. In fact, many print reporters shoud not be on television, either–and that’s a fact. That’s not cutting anyone down, but the three are different mediums, and most print reporters are simply NOT video people and they are NOT television people. Hell, most television people aren’t really television people, either–they’re coasting simply on looks, not talent, intelligence, intellectualism or even good journalism skills. And as for internet video–about 99 percent of it sucks, and most people there shouldn’t be there, either. That’s not being snotty, but the opposite: it’s recognizing that just because any little device now can record video of something, and just because everyone on earth can post a video to YouTube or 1 million other web sites, that does not necessarily mean it’s any good or that a professional reporter should be doing the same at a professional journalism web site. The bottom line is this: Leave video to the video professionals–people are TRAINED IN THE MEDIUM–and leave comedy to the professional comedians.

If you don’t get it, you don’t get it.

cybervoyeur August 6, 2009 at 11:24 am

Gone. Kaput.
Gone to the same place as Salons and er, Fliers.

Helloooo. Most print/online journalists, in most, ahem, respected news organizations are now REQUIRED to use video.
Or, at least know how to use a video camera.

It’s a dog-eat-dog world out there. Get with the program, or get left at the roadside.

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