A reporter from England's Telegraph is explaining The Colbert Report to his countrymen today. "The Colbert Report is news parody of the first order. The show's titular host offers a funhouse-mirror reflection of the bellicose Right-wing opinionisers of Rupert Murdoch's Fox News channel (among others) who dominate and dictate the political discourse in the States with lengthy and obnoxious opinion-slots that are somehow passed off as 'news'."

"While developing a spin-off based around this character, Colbert and his writers took great care in honing his on-screen persona to fit what they saw as a glaring gap in the comedy market for an obnoxious, editorialising political host just like the ones who had come to dominate the US airwaves.

"'What the character expresses in specific reference to American television is the post evening-news, personality-driven, single-camera shout-fest interviews,' says Colbert. He's referring to hosts such as Fox-bred entities like Sean Hannity and Joe Scarborough, and mildly less offensive CNN presenters Lou Dobbs and Anderson Cooper among many others.

"Colbert's clearest role model would be Fox News figurehead Bill O'Reilly, who takes great pride in shouting down 'unpatriotic' (dissenting) guests and occasionally having their microphones switched off mid-sentence. 'The emotion of the moment is assumed and amplified by a single voice and regurgitated back to the country at the lowest common denominator,' says Colbert. 'It can be swathed in idea, but it's essentially an emotional event. I'm regurgitating back to you how you feel about it - I am you. I am you!'

Colbert continues: "At the heart of this is America as the chosen country of God. It's a conflation of the Statue of Liberty and the crucifix: American religiosity and American destiny are one and the same. That's why George Bush was chosen by God to lead the world. Manifest destiny is an old idea, but now it's just expressed in different ways." [Telegraph]