The Washington Post has brought down the curtain on "Mouthpiece Theater."
Executive Editor Marcus Brauchli killed the satirical video series Wednesday after harsh criticism of a joke about Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, which prompted him to pull the latest episode from the paper's Web site Friday night. The Post staffers who appeared in the videos, Dana Milbank and Chris Cillizza, agreed with the decision and apologized in separate interviews.
"I don't think the series worked as they intended," Brauchli said. "It was meant to be funny and insightful and translate the superb journalism Chris and Dana do in print and online into a new format."
"Mouthpiece Theater" was designed as a sendup of pompous punditry, with Milbank, the paper's Washington Sketch columnist, and Cillizza, a White House correspondent who writes The Fix blog, appearing with oversized pipes and smoking jackets. But its comedic style drew catcalls from online critics, which intensified after Friday's episode about the kind of beer various politicians might drink. Milbank said he couldn't reveal to whom President Obama would serve a brew called Mad Bitch Beer, which was followed by a brief shot of Clinton.
"I regret that we put up that image," Milbank said Wednesday, "and while I highly doubt the secretary of state has seen 'Mouthpiece Theater,' I would be honored to have the opportunity to apologize to her over a beer."