Monday, September 22, 2008

Right Wing Bites the Hand That Feeds It

You know how the right believes that the media has a far left, nutroots bias? SNL took a step to correct that perception this week.

The sketch, which isn't available online, takes place in the offices of the New York Times. In it, a team of 30 reporters are attending a meeting about their upcoming trip to Alaska. They're going to learn about the community about about Sarah Palin. One by one they start asking questions of the one Alaska expert there. Is there a problem with people getting mauled by polar bears? What if I can't reach my therapist on the phone, how much time does it take to get an appointment? As they hear the bad news, reporters start bowing out. About half the room leaves when they learn that you can't get a cab in Alaska. None of them can identify a snowmobile, though one guesses that maybe it's a "baptizing machine" of some kind.

Gradually the roomful of 50 reporters is whittled down to a tiny few, including the one who is obsessed with the danger posed by roaming polar bears. The point of the sketch is that New York Times reporters are neurotic and clueless about anything that happens outside of New York. It would have fit right in on the 1/2 HOUR NEWS HOUR. It was kind of a gimmee to the right wing, an attempt by SNL to say, well, you got a point there guys.

Guess what? There is outrage.

I would think that that complaint is that compared to the first sketch of the evening, about John McCain's misleading campaign ads, this one was slack and lame and went on too long. They didn't bring as much funny to it. But no! The outrage revolves around this punchline, a title card at the end of the sketch.

"In 2009 [reporter] Howland Gwathmey Moss, V was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for his Times series on unproven, yet un-disproven incest in the Palin family. Sadly, he was to die 3 months later, run over by a snow machine, driven by a polar bear."

You'll note that the headline for the story I'm quoting is NBC JOKES: TODD PALIN HAS SEX WITH HIS DAUGHTERS. This is why I say that there is no point in paying attention to right-wing complaints of media bias. A couple of writers on SNL throw them a massive, tasty bone. This is misperceived as a slam, because the WHOLE NETWORK COULDN'T POSSIBLY ever be sympathetic to their concerns. These guys don't do nuance. You can't win with 'em. This whole thing reminds me of a flyer I read earlier in the year, which tried to convince me that Al Franken endorses a plan put old people in rockets and shoot them over the Snake River.

By the way, I'm furious with SNL for suggesting that Obama wants to supply health care for the whole universe. Obama never said that!

(Will it help if I put (snark)(/snark)brackets around that last sentence? I'm reaching out here.)


wamk said...

So if SNL did a joke about incest in the Obama family, no one in the Media would bat an eye?

Danielk said...

"The Media" isn't in an uproar about the remark that Obama wants to insure Osama Bin Laden.

I think that if the sketch was about Karl Rove saying Obama had sex with his children while bombing the American Embassy in Pakistan and simultaneously raising the dead to fight for the Apocolypse, we wouldn't conclude the sketch was anti-Obama. We'd conclude it was anti-Rove. Unless we actually believed those things about Obama.