SNL: The Comedy Super PAC

Monday, 24 Sep 2012 11:15 AM

By James Hirsen

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NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” is a late-night weekend tradition, which over the course of its extended run has used an assortment of contemporary political figures as comedic fodder in its trademark sketches.

However, a curious thing has happened to SNL’s comical programming content over the course of the past several years. The liberal bias that has been evident in Hollywood, and has now additionally permeated an inordinate number of our established media outlets, has also saturated the humor of the iconic television show. And the ideological comedic imbalance is hardly a laughing matter.

Humor, if chosen to be used to the detriment of an individual, organization, or company, is one of the most powerful and injurious weapons in the social and cultural arsenal.

You may recall that negative humor was lodged against an individual by SNL during the 2008 presidential election. A caricature of then-GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin was created, and through the comic weapon of Tina Fey’s Palin impersonation, the caricature took hold in the pop culture and ultimately eclipsed the real Sarah.

One of the most destructive quotes attributed to the former Alaska governor was actually uttered by Fey in an SNL skit.

In response to Amy Poehler, who in the sketch portrays Hillary Clinton, Fey as Palin says, “I can see Russia from my house.”

What had occurred in real life was that Palin, in an interview with ABC's Charlie Gibson, said, “. . . you can actually see Russia from land here in Alaska, from an island in Alaska.”

Reality melded with fiction, though, and the Fey quote became unfairly attached to the real Palin.

As with most humor weapons, Fey’s mocking impersonation of the vice presidential candidate, which from the outset had its sights set on making Palin look foolish, took its toll in 2008. Fortunately, however, following the election Palin was once again free to be herself, minus the Fey mockery, and went on to experience tremendous political and personal success.

SNL has a new target now. It is, after all, election season again. The show has decided to aim its broadcast weapons directly at GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney, and in an unfunny déjà vu falsehoods and distortions are in the process of being ratcheted up.

Too great a track record to be painted as a fool, the former Massachusetts governor is portrayed as being out of touch by the SNL writing staff. This apparently isn’t as effective as writers had hoped, so they are bringing out the big guns. A sketch was created to affix a racist label to the presidential candidate.

As a lead-up to the election, a version of SNL is being broadcast during primetime on Thursday nights. The sketch containing the racist tag was included in one of the show's “Weekend Update” faux news segments.

Writers used a current news story about a video in which Romney makes mention of the 47 percent of voters who are dependent on the federal government. The sketch's primary target is Fox News’ morning show “Fox & Friends.” The key moment for SNL viewers comes when Jason Sudekis, who plays Romney, indicates lack of concern about certain “people,” and then says, “when I say 'these people,' I mean black people.”

The actor, while mimicking Romney, also ridicules McDonald's employees as being able to speak only in Spanish rather than English, and complains that poor people hate the idea of work.

Even the liberal Hollywood trade website, TheWrap, thought that the show's writers and producers were out of line.

“SNL tends to pick on politicians’ surface-level flaws, from stuffiness to slips of the tongue — the kind of traits that politicians themselves might make light of to appear more human. With Romney, the show has gone unusually far by suggesting Romney is secretly dismissive of people of other races,” the publication posted.

It appears that the SNL writers and producers are using their influence to aid their candidate of choice, President Obama. In the process, they are demonstrating a willingness to aim lower and lower at the president’s opponent in an apparent effort to further an agenda.

Like a number of other current comedy shows, SNL is helping the Obama re-election effort in shaping public perception at a critical juncture in the campaign.

And a good half of the country fails to find it amusing.

James Hirsen, J.D., M.A., in media psychology, is a New York Times best-selling author, media analyst, and law professor. Visit Newsmax.TV Hollywood. Read more reports from James Hirsen — Click Here Now.

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