SNL: Occasionally humorous right-wing propaganda organ
I’ll be honest: I didn’t watch Saturday Night Live this past weekend. But it doesn’t seem like I missed too much. Since Obama’s campaign took his off, and certainly since his presidency began, SNL has been a reliable source of right-wing, anti-Obama talking points. This weekend’s opening skit was no exception, lambasting Obama’s stimulus program, his deficit-spending, his deference to world leaders, etc. Most imaginatively, the skit seemed to blame America’s debt to China on Obama himself, which is a laughable proposition–unlike the rest of the skit, which you can see here.
SNL’s anti-Obama tidings have been visible for some time. Perhaps they started during the primaries, when the show attacked the media for being favorable to Obama at the expense of Hillary; certainly the show’s general outlook toward the president were clear when Fred Armisen, the guy the show pays to play Obama in blackface, announced in character that the president had accomplished “nothing.” (Tell that to those who think the guy has brought socialism to the United States.)
What about Tina Fey, you say? Sure, she struck gold with her Sarah Palin impression. But Palin’s ineptitude went far beyond ideology; she was obviously incapable of governing and thus deserving of mockery by many Americans. Recent polls have been clear–few people like Palin. Obama, meanwhile, is still liked by many Americans. His numbers aren’t at their honeymoon peak, but they’re certainly still strong and steady.
And so SNL can hardly be said to represent the zeitgeist. Perhaps that’s because the show, fat and rich in its old age, reflects the politics of its executive producer, Lorne Michaels, who maxed out to McCain in 08. Granted, he also gave to Obama–but not until the general election. His heart was with McCain from the beginning–he was a donor way back in 2000, too–and seems like it still might be. Or perhaps the Obama fatigue that has occurred is hard to mine for comedy. Better to stick to the easy yet facile right wing arguments–we owe the Chinese money!–than engage with anything a bit complicated.
Whatever the case, SNL is now an anti-Obama conservative comedy show. It’s certainly better than Fox’s ill-fated attempt to make a right-wing Daily Show. But conservative is what it is.