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Colbert Gives Behind-The-Scenes Account Of His 'Aggressively Ignorant Character'

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[TPM SLIDESHOW: The Whole Truthiness: Stephen Colbert Testifies On Capitol Hill]

The Colbert Report, and its counterpart The Daily Show, often poke fun at the mainstream media, but Colbert said he personally has "no plans to change the news media."

"They are changing themselves without any help from me," he said.

Colbert went on to explain that cable news hosts do their jobs as defined by their employers, just as he also does. But he couldn't resist a small jab:

"The fact that the roles they fulfill are hard to recognize anymore, and have little to do with informing us, but are instead used to emotionally 'engage' us with their brand personas, means I have a steady stream of material."

Colbert also revealed that he tells every guest of his show that his interview will be done in character.

"I admire Sacha Baron Cohen," Colbert said, "but I am not doing Ali G."

Being in character on the show can be frustrating, especially when he is familiar with a guest's subject, Colbert said. So any hope to intelligently engage a guest is then lost.

"I am an aggressively ignorant character," he said.

The entire interview, worth reading in full, is available here.

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David Taintor is a news editor at Talking Points Memo. Previously, he worked at NBC News and Adweek. He's a native of Minnesota. Reach him at