Conan’s Faux Feud Fizzles as Ratings Ploy

From the Washington Post:

NBC hopes the denouement of the Booker-O’Brien kerfuffle attracts a lot of viewers — both to the Friday broadcast and its online afterlife. To some extent it will depend on how well Booker performs. When Booker’s good — as when he appeared on Rachel Maddow’s MSNBC show on election night in 2008 — he’s very, very good. But when he’s bad — as when he appeared on “The Colbert Report” on Sept. 14 to plug “Brick City” — he’s horrid.

Conan’s feud with Booker is similar to the one Colbert ginned up in 2007 when he threatened to burn his honorary doctorate of fine arts that Knox College awarded him when he gave the school’s commencement address the previous year. On his show he said he would torch the document on air if the school bestowed the same honor on Bill Clinton.

A faux feud erupted; Knox College President Roger Taylor finally offered to go on Colbert’s show to explain the difference between Colbert’s degree and Clinton’s. And, in his commencement speech, Clinton spoke thusly:

“When Lincoln ran for president in 1860, the truth is that’s why he got this honorary degree. Your college was trying to help him get elected and you wanted to give him a little boost. One hundred forty-six years later, you gave Stephen Colbert a degree to give his ratings a boost. That’s what Al Gore now calls an assault on reason.”