The popular NBC comedy show has been riding a ratings wave with Tina Fey’s dead-on impersonations of Sarah Palin, but SNL writers seem to draw the line with mocking Barney Frank, D-Mass, who chairs the powerful House Financial Services Committee that deals with banking and housing.
Conservative blogs have been fuming this week since a sketch referencing Frank’s role in the subprime mortgage mess was yanked from NBC’s Web site Monday and re-posted with one of the most biting segments removed.
In the sketch, a parody of a C-SPAN press conference, actors playing Frank, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and President George W. Bush gather for a congratulatory press conference on the passage of the Wall Street bailout bill.
The Pelosi character introduces a series of victims of the subprime mortgage mess who range from criminal deadbeats to greedy speculators who flipped time-share condos.
Finally, a rich older couple, the Sandlers, appear and seem gleeful over the huge fortune they’ve made selling off their subprime mortgages to Wachovia Bank.
In the unedited version, which ran live last Saturday, Sandler turns to the Frank character and says: “And thank you, Congressman Frank, as well as many Republicans for helping block Congressional oversight of our corrupt activities.”
Frank replies: “Not at all. There's an important social contract here. When deceitful housing lenders play by the rules, and bribe members of Congress with campaign contributions, they have a right to expect that we will protect them from losing money. Now let me say something else here. Many of you are probably wondering, where did that $700 billion missing from our economy go? To help answer that, let me introduce our good friend, billionaire hedge fund manager, George Soros...”
That entire speech has been removed from the version of the sketch now posted at NBC.com.
“What does the left do when media appears that accurately connects them to the current financial crisis,’’ the Heritage Foundation’s Foundry blog said. “They censor it of course.”
But NBC says it edited the piece to remove an inflammatory graphic. The graphic appeared under the Sandlers and said “People who should be shot.”
That sent alarms through NBC because the Sandlers are, in fact, real: Herb and Marion Sandler are prominent liberal Democrats who, according to a report this week in the Los Angeles Times, “assembled a vast array of subprime loan packages in their Golden West Financial and sold it to Wachovia Bank for $24 billion before the financial bottom fell out.”
A spokesman for NBC told reporters at first that only the graphic was removed. The mocking reference to the Sandlers windfall was left in, as was a scathing mockery of George Soros. What they couldn’t explain was why the Frank remark was also taken out.
“It’s not often we get to wholeheartedly endorse a Saturday Night Live skit, but from beginning to end this spoof of a post Wall Street bailout conference has it all,’’ raved the Foundry blog on Monday, before the skit was edited.
“Not only does SNL make mention of the key role Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac played in causing the current credit crunch, it also makes clear it was the left who blocked reform of the massive government duopoly.”
VIDEO: NBC Edits Sketch Making Fun of Barney Frank
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