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Colbert Bit Helps Fuel McCarthy Backlash

Citing Stephen Colbert's at least partly tongue-in-cheek call for "Benghazi Hearing Hearings, the Agenda Project Action Fund has posted a YouTube video calling for a serious investigation of House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and the Select

Committee on Benghazi.

McCarthy, who has been the leading candidate to succeed the resigning John Boehner (R-Ill) as House Speaker, got into some trouble with his own party after suggesting on Fox's Sean Hannity show that the hearings may have helped lower the poll numbers of Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton.

Colbert had done a segment Oct. 2 on the Late Show saying McCarthy was only honestly admitting what other were already saying: that the hearings were politically motivated to undercut Clinton's campaign, then suggested that the only way to find out if that was the case was with the Benghazi  Benghazi Hearings, which was partly the setup for the joke to follow. No, he said, perhaps it should have a less politicized name. "How about the McCarthy hearings," he said. The project's YouTube video then cuts to a picture of Kevin McCarthy beside one of Joe McCarthy, the Wisconsin senator whose since-discredited 1950 hearings sought to uncover the Communist "menace" infiltrating America and resulted in blacklisting of many in the Hollywood creative community.

The Agenda Project, founded by veteran Democratic consultant Erica Payne, is calling for a House Ethics Committee investigation and what they call the new "witch-hunt[ing]" Benghazi select committee.

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.