DeFace The Nation

On Late Show Monday night, Stephen Colbert sounded off on POTUS.

If you missed it, his monologue began as they normally do, this one focusing on Trump’s First 100 Days. Colbert showed clips of the President’s interview with Colbert’s CBS colleague, John Dickerson, wherein the President – among other terribly rude comments and gestures — told Dickerson, “I love your show. I call it Deface the Nation.”

Colbert used the rest of his monologue to rail off insult after insult at Trump, defending his colleague and ripping on the President in a pun-filled frenzy. This wasn’t your average light late night fodder. If you haven’t seen it, it’s worth your time.

The backlash was almost immediate: a #FireColbert hashtag began trending on social media and Trump supporters demanded advertisers to boycott Colbert’s show. On Wednesday, Colbert took to the stage and addressed the controversy. The gist: “So while I would do it again, I would change a few words that were cruder than they needed to be.”

Colbert expressed regret, but he did not apologize. His correction was over semantics and a particular insinuation, not making fun of the President or sticking up for Dickerson. It’s clear that issuing an apology – or lack-thereof – in times of crisis truly is an art form. For example, the United Airlines CEO butchered his, repeatedly.

Perhaps the best takeaway when concocting a reaction to controversy is simple: does your action merit apology? If you feel in your gut the answer is yes, apologize. As soon as humanely possible. And if not? Make concessions, but stand by your actions. Always.

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