Colbert: It Scares Me That People Don't Believe In Facts Anymore


'Late Show' host Stephen Colbert speaks to 'Face The Nation' host John Dickerson about the lessons he learned from the 2016 election.

JOHN DICKERSON: Post-truth is the Oxford word of the year.

STEPHEN COLBERT: I heard that. Yes.


So when we were last together and we talked...

COLBERT: You mean at dinner?


(LAUGHTER) COLBERT: You mean a year ago?



DICKERSON: A year ago, when we talked, you said -- I said what does it look -- the election look like for you?

And you said it’s all up for -- anything goes.

COLBERT: I think I was right.


COLBERT: Anything goes.

DICKERSON: You’re Nostradamus.


COLBERT: That’s exactly what -- the eagle shall fight the lion upon the plain near the river of Kech.

DICKERSON: The reason that’s the -- post-truth is the word of the year is because we saw facts play a role we’ve never seen them play -- or not play a role we’ve ever seen them play in politics.

COLBERT: Well, that’s the interesting thing. It’s not like many years ago, I coined this word called truthiness about how -- preferring to believe what feels true to you rather than what you know the facts to be, but to very importantly say that you know the facts to be and then there’s post-truth, which is not associated with the facts. As a matter of fact, one of Trump’s surrogates, Scottie Nell Hughes, said that facts don’t matter anymore, that there are no facts. That’s truly in a whole new world.

That’s -- that’s before God said let there be light. That’s absolute chaos. And that scares me, the idea that facts don’t exist anymore is actually scary to me, whereas if there are no facts anymore, then there is nothing to agree upon and so we can’t agree. You can’t build anything.

DICKERSON: You’ve got to agree on the measurement of things if you’re building (INAUDIBLE)...

COLBERT: What is one kilo?


Or one cubit?

COLBERT: Exactly.

What is a cubit?


DICKERSON: You’ve said don’t get your news from me, meaning you, from your show...

COLBERT: I did. I said get it from John Dickerson.

DICKERSON: Yes. Well, thank you.

I was fishing there and you -- it was very good. You know...

COLBERT: That was at “The Wall Street Journal.”


COLBERT: Last night, you got it for something else...


COLBERT: -- definitely don’t get your -- definitely don’t get your news from me.

DICKERSON: Well, if facts are up for grabs and people are tuning into you, why not get the -- why not get a few facts from you?

COLBERT: Because it’s -- there are better sources than I am. I’m just reading other things. But we -- we try to do jokes that are based on actual facts, because then you can build on them. The great thing about doing jokes about a presidential campaign is that from the conventions until election day, the job gets easier, because there’s one story, everybody cares about it and nobody dies.

So it -- it’s not tragic. You can make jokes about it. You don’t have to explain it to the audience and everybody is ready for the punch line as soon as you get out there.

And so that’s the great gift of covering the campaign. And then the more you get away from a centralized news story, one story in all the cycles, the more you have to explain things to the audience and the more important it is that you get the facts right.

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