With FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe being fired Friday and Donald Trump lashing out on Twitter about it, it can be easy to forget the other huge story of the past couple days: the report that voter research firm Cambridge Analytica harvested the personal data of 50 million so the Trump campaign could essentially weaponize it to swing the 2016 election. And while late night on Monday was dominated by the McCabe situation, Stephen Colbert also made time for Cambridge Analytica during his “Late Show” monologue.
“It just came out that in 2014, when Cambridge Analytica was run by Bannon, they exploited the Facebook data of millions by using personal information taken without authorization and used them to build ‘psychographic profiles’ to help them figure out whether a particular voter was, say, a neurotic introvert, a religious extrovert, a fair-minded liberal, or a fan of the occult. I consider myself a neurotic introvert and a fan of the occult, which means I often summon Satan, but then I’m too shy to talk to him,” Colbert joked.
Complicating the situation is video from Channel 4 in the UK showing reporters going undercover as prospective clients for Cambridge Analytica, getting all sorts of incriminating comments from CEO Alexander Nix and managing director Mark Turnbull.
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“It’s no good fighting an election campaign on the facts because actually, it’s all about emotion,” Turnbull said in one of the videos Colbert showed on Monday. “The two fundamental human drivers are hopes and fears, and many of those are unspoken and even unconscious. You didn’t know that was a fear until you saw something that just evoked that reaction from you.”
“He’s right,” Colbert said. “Until I saw that footage, I didn’t know I was terrified of Cambridge Analytica!”
Colbert then played more clips in which Nix described ways to entrap politicians, like sending over some beautiful Ukrainian girls to entertain them.
“Well, we don’t have to worry about them blackmailing our leaders, as long as no one in Washington is attracted to Eastern European women…oh, my God!” Colbert said, feigning the realization that Donald Trump has been married to two different women from Eastern Europe.
Another example of a Cambridge Analytica entrapment plan described by Nix, coincidentally, is what Channel 4 was doing to him at that exact moment.
“Equally effective can be just to go and speak to the incumbents and to offer them a deal that’s too good to be true and make sure that it’s recorded,” Nix said in the video. “These sorts of tactics are very effective, instantly having video evidence of corruption, putting it on the internet.”
“Smile, Alexander Nix, you’re on ‘Candid Corruption’!” Colbert exclaimed after the clip played. “You know what? I tell ya, I bet this is something you didn’t even know you feared until you saw it.”
You can watch all of the Cambridge Analytica portion from Monday’s “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” in the video above.