October 7 2008

NBC Removes SNL Skit From The Web

Saturday Night Live has another predicament on their hands.

On The October 4th episode they ran a sketch about the federal bailout of the banks.  I felt the skit was rather even handed, poking fun at both President Bush and the Democratic controlled congress, especially Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.  After the episode aired, five skits from the episode were posted to the web, including the bailout sketch, but on Monday the bailout one mysteriously disappeared.  If you go to any blog that posted it, you will see the following screen (please note this is a screen shot and not an actual embed, so no controls work in it)

What happened?  Conspiracy theories are running rampant, and I would usually ignore such things, but now there are reports that NBC is deleting any comments from their site that question where the video went.  This says to me that there is indeed something amiss here.

Michelle Malkin has posted a transcript of the missing SNL skit, and has also pointed out what could possibly be the reason behind NBC taking it down… it smells of legal threats.

I have a theory.

One of the rapacious couples featured in the skit was Herbert and Marion Sandler (portrayed by Darrell Hammond and Casey Wilson). Unlike the other composite figures, the Sandlers are a real-life couple.

Also lampooned: Left-wing billionaire George Soros.

As Todd Thurman at Heritage notes, the Sandlers are left-wing moguls who built a mortgage company whose major product was subprime mortgages and they sold it to Wachovia for $24.2 billion in 2006. And what do the Sandlers do when they are not peddling subprime garbage? They are busy writing checks to leftist groups like the Center for American Progress, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN). Yes that ACORN.

The Sandlers are seething over the skit. And George Soros must be livid as well. Anyone else smell a legal threat behind the disappearance of the vid?

It is true that the Sandlers are seething as mentioned in this article from USA Today, no clue if there is any truth to the statement about Mr. Soros.

Whatever the reason is for the removal, this stinks.  SNL has a long tradition of satire aimed at both sides of the aisle, and to show favoritism to one or the other is just not right, and it is certainly not keeping with the tradition of the show.  True, the skit did air, but it sets a deadly precedent for the show going forward.  Are they no longer going to be allowed to make fun of real life people for fear of future incidents such as this?  Perhaps the tag line under the image of the Sandlers that said “People who should be shot” was a bit much, but who cares?  It’s satire!

I defended SNL two weeks ago over the New York Times skit, and while I felt the skit was more about the media than the Republicans, I did say in the comments I was worried about the lack of material pointed at the Democrats thus far this season.  We did see some humor at the expense of Senator Joe Biden in the opening vice presidential debate sketch, which is still online, but with this one being yanked, the message is unclear.

Ali Gharib of the has a theory about how the sketch even came about.

But where did SNL get the idea? It’s hard to say exactly, but one possibility lies in the insidious web of neocon connections — a web that actually runs through the backstage halls of SNL.

Ayala Cohen, an SNL associate producer, is the wife of soon-to-be editor of the neocon journal Commentary, John Podhoretz (according to this site, and though I couldn’t confirm her title, I did confirm by phone that Cohen is still with SNL). Podhoretz, of course, is the son of longtime Commentary editor and neocon sage Norman Podhoretz.

Uh… yeah.  I’m sorry to inform Mr. Gharib, SNL has always poked fun at both sides, this is not something cooked up by “neocon connections”.  If this was remotely true, would we have had three Palin sketches already out of four episodes?  No.

So, why was the sketch removed from the Web?  Was it yanked for the Democrat portion?  Was it because of the Sandlers?  Was it because of Soros?  No matter which answer it is, it is a disturbing one.  Can political or financial pressure now dictate at whom the writers of SNL can point their wit at?  If there was something else about the sketch it would have been stopped before airing by standards and practices, and I do believe all SNL skits are run through the legal department before airing.

As of this writing, NBC and SNL have both not responded to inquiries made by various press outlets as to what happened.  With each passing moment this is becoming a more sinister situation, and the silence from the NBC camp is deafening.  If it is a situation where they can’t discuss it due to legal proceedings, than they need to say that.  If it was due to some form of other pressure, well, at least say something!

UPDATED AT 4:45 PM CST: Nikki Finke is reporting that the video is coming back online, but with the Sandlers section edited to take out the “shot in the head” comment and removal of the charge of corruption… way to go, NBC… you idiots.

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