Time to cancel ‘Mouthpiece Theater’

TIME TO CANCEL ‘MOUTHPIECE THEATER’…. The Washington Post‘s Dana Milbank and Chris Cillizza host a regular video feature on the paper’s site called “Mouthpiece Theater.” The two sit around in smoking jackets in a fake library — it’s supposed to be a parody of “Masterpiece Theater” — and try to offer a funny take on political events of the day.

At least, that’s the idea.

Today’s edition focused, not surprisingly, on the Crowley/Gates meeting with the president yesterday, giving Milbank and Cillizza a chance to make all kinds of beer jokes and beer-related puns. In a bit about which beers would go to which political players if invited to the White House, we heard a variety of rather predictable jokes. David Vitter could enjoy “a nice cold Happy Ending.” Dennis Kucinich would have a bottle of “Insanely Bad Elf.” The French delegation could be served “Frosty Frog.” You get the idea.

At the 2:35 mark, Milbank tells the viewer, “And we won’t tell you who’s getting a bottle of Mad Bitch.” At that point, a photo of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton appears briefly on screen.

That’s unacceptable. I realize this was supposed to be a silly comedy routine, but this is offensive and stupid. Milbank doesn’t get to say he “won’t tell” us who the “Mad Bitch” is, and then show a photo of Clinton, as if coy and unsubtle rhetoric makes his little “joke” tolerable.

Brian Beutler, who I believe was the first to catch this, wrote, “If I were on the board of directors of the Kaplan test prep company, and discovered that the people running a money-losing Kaplan subsidiary (better known as the Washington Post) had greenlighted a feature called ‘Mouthpiece Theater,’ I would demand that either they be fired, or that the Post itself be liquidated.”

For now, the video is still online, both at the Post‘s site and on YouTube. The sooner the paper apologizes and yanks the video, the better.