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Nov. 23 2009 - 5:15 pm | 98 views | 0 recommendations | 6 comments

SNL: Occasionally humorous right-wing propaganda organ

NEW YORK - MAY 18:  Saturday Night Live Founde...

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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.


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  1. collapse expand

    RE: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.

    Call it what you want…..the people want and need jobs…not ego

  2. collapse expand

    Mr. Porter,

    I have never been an SNL fan, I have never watched it live, only bits on re-runs. With that bit of disclosure up front, the only real question is not whether it is conservative or not but whether it is funny or not. It has been conservative for quite some time as far as I can tell. I remember way back in the early 90’s in the run-up to the Gulf War they had a fake press conference where reporters asked a fake Gen. Collin Powell all sorts of questions that would make him reveal sensitive military information. One of the reports even looked like Saddam Hussein. Pretty conservative although not very funny (in contrast “In Living Color” ran the same gag with Jim Carry as an admiral answer questions with answers like “We already didn’t answer that question”. Pretty funny).

    The Daily Show routinely skewers Mr. Obama and does so very accurately, which is why it is funny. So, without having seen the skits, the only question is do they make real, telling points, like Tina Fey’s impersonation of Ms. Palin, or are the flat and stilted with ideology? I suspect the latter but you will have to tell me.

  3. collapse expand

    I thought you were joking. I really did. Hell, I wanted you to be joking. I mean come on, no way anyone really idolizes Obama so much that they come to this conclusion about SNL, right? Now, I’m pretty sure you’re serious. Worse yet, by assuming your serious, I then must assume that you have been raised by wolves and /or in a bubble, and therefore have never seen SNL. Ever.

    I won’t lay out everything here, I normally have diarrhea of the keyboard as it is. Anyway, no President (or candidate) has ever been safe from SNL. I still remember Bob Dole and his Chair in the Real World skit. Funny stuff. Also, its not like McCain was off limits during any of his runs. To even try and make that claim is ludicrous.

    Taste is subjective. Obviously you can dislike SNL all you want. To suggest though, that there is a conservative, anti-Obama bias from a show doing nothing more than what it has always done, to every president, is ridiculous. This super sensitivity you’re showing is a bit strange. Thanks for propagating another double standard though. It is almost like you’re trying to give right wingers ammunition.

  4. collapse expand

    I actually joined this site due to the rage of coming across your post. ARE. YOU. SERIOUS!? The media did favor Obama in the primaries and SNL spoofed it as well as spoofing Palin, Hilary, and McCain. It probably ragged on McCain MORE than Obama. Are you going to argue this conservative show did this to promote McCain?

    Currently we owe 800 billion dollars to China, Unemployment is hovering around 10%, and we are looking to spend billions on a universal health care plan…. All the while Obama has attacked China on its green standards. This is primary fodder for SNL to spoof on the president, or are you dare I say a socialist and think Obama should never be mentioned in a negative light?? NEWS FLASH every president has received flack, why is Obama any different? You should really consider what you are saying before you speak again.

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