Libertarian Republican does outrage.
Delawareliberal expects outrage and argues that this is nothing compared to GOP rhetoric.
These two reactions, as you well know, will be repeated and juxtaposed across the blogosphere ad nauseum, but the interesting point is this:
If you got your news from USA Today you wouldn't even know that she made the comments. Here is the complete reference to Ms. Sykes routine:
That job went to the Wanda Sykes, the evening's entertainment, who made certain the president took some ribbing.
"It's hard to poke fun at the president. He's so likeable," said Sykes. "Even the media...It's funny to me, they've never caught you smokin' but they somehow always catch you with your shirt off."
Sykes hailed the president's efforts to maintain a normal routine. He's "taking the first lady out on dates...I wouldn't be surprised if I walked by the White House and saw you mowing the lawn," she cracked during her roughly 10-minute comedy routine.
The commedienne, who drew a standing ovation from the crowd, didn't pull any punches: "The first black president. That's unless you screw up. Then it's going to be 'What's up with the half-white guy?'"
"I thought that when you got into office you would put a swift end to your pickup basketball games. I mean, the first black president playing basketball. That's one step forward, two steps back!"
Even the former president wasn't spared. "President Bush, man, he knows how to leave town. We haven't heard anything from him! He left like that houseguest who breaks something in your house and gets out of there before you find out."
Then I looked at the AP story for references to Wanda's act:
Tart-tongued comic Wanda Sykes, the dinner's entertainer, poked fun at Obama giving the Queen of England an iPhone during a recent visit. "What are you going to give the Pope, a Bluetooth," asked Sykes. And she questioned First Lady Michelle Obama having patted the queen on the back "like she just slid into home plate — way to go, queen!"
Here's the original Wanda Sykes coverage at WaPo:
The mistress of ceremonies for the evening was Wanda Sykes, an actress and comedian who grew up locally and got her start doing stand-up while moonlighting from her day job as a procurement officer at the National Security Agency.
"It's funny to me that [photographers] have never caught you smoking," Sykes told the president, "but they always catch you with your shirt off. I know you're into this transparency thing, but I don't need to see your nipples."
So that's USA Today, AP, and WaPo who all--until the national blogosphere made it a story--covered the dinner without covering the story.
Because no matter whether you're going down the Eric Dondero route or following DelawareDem's line, you have to actually know that something happened in order to think critically about what it means. My guess (a safe guess because there is absolutely no way to figure out if I am correct) is that well over 70% of Americans will never even know this controversy exists. [And the number may be higher in Delaware because the WNJ simply reprinted the USA Today version.]
One of the things you can't do is investigate yourself: the MSM is no exception. Unfortunately, we don't have anybody non-partisan to investigate the manner in which the MSM does its job, because the alternative media is too fiercely partisan to do the job.
But it is becoming daily more obvious that the American corporate media has simply given up the idea of reporting the news.