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RIP: ‘Mouthpiece Theater,’ 2009-2009

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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 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]

Sponsored Intermission

About the author

Jim Newell is Wonkette's beloved Capitol Hill Typing Demon. He joined in 2007, left for some other dumb job in 2010, and proudly returned in 2012 as our "Senior Editor at Large." He lives in Washington and also writes for things such as The Guardian, the Manchester paper of liberals.

View all articles by Jim Newell


Hey there, Wonkeputians! Shypixel here to remind you to remember our Commenting Rules For Radicals, Enjoy!

  • I-man

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

  • StoneAge

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

  • watershed

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

  • Rachel Ray Jihad

    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

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

  • hobospacejunkie

    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

    Punish Unfit Mouthpiece Assholes — NOOOObama!

  • hobospacejunkie

    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

    [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

    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

    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

    …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

    I hope that letter was signed in menstrual blood.

  • Bill E Pilgrim

    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

    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.

  • Come here a minute

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

  • ZARF

    Wait — someone fucks Cilizza??!?

  • My choice. My Wonkette.

    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

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

  • ExecutorElassus

    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

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

  • NJB

    [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

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

  • My choice. My Wonkette.

    [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

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

  • Aquannissiwamissoo

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

  • Lionel Hutz Esq.

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

  • snideinplainsight

    Headline comin down :

    Former La. Congressman William Jefferson Found Guilty of Bribery

  • Zadig

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

  • Extemporanus

    [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

    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

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

  • Junior

    Milbank channels Michael Scott:

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

  • Athar

    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

    [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

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

  • norbizness

    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

    [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

    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

    It’s not consistent with the Post brand

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

  • Allyson

    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

    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

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

  • desertwind

    Aw, no.

    It was lame, but so wha’?

  • Extemporanus

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

  • Spiro Agnew

    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

    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

    [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

    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

    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.