A couple of weeks ago, as most of the political world knows by now, “Saturday Night Live” did a skit mocking the perception that news outlets were tougher on Hillary Clinton than Barack Obama. The Clinton campaign loved the skit, promoted it heavily, and Clinton began referencing it frequently, including in a nationally televised debate.
But could one skit — which, if ratings are any indication, was watched live by a small percentage of the population — really have a significant impact? Apparently, so. The NYT reported today that this one comedic bit put journalists on the defensive.
I think TNR’s Michelle Cottle response was exactly right.
Seriously? Can this possibly be true? I fear it is, and it makes me wonder why journalists are such pathetic dogs. Scold us, and we immediately go into a shame-faced crouch, start lashing ourselves like medieval monks, and become desperate to win back your approval. You are absolutely right: we were too soft on Bush in 2000; we got suckered into backing the Iraq war; we fixate on the horse-race aspects of elections instead of delivering you hours and hours and pages and pages of insightful policy analysis; every last one of us is a card-caring liberal; we care nothing for the truth and will repeat any old rumor that comes down the pipeline without regard to whether there’s any reason to believe it’s true; and, given our druthers, we would print nothing but naked pictures of Britney Spears and Paris Hilton, preferably wrestling one another in a pit of chocolate pudding. For all this and much, much more, we are so very very sorry. Just please stop being mean to us. We’ll do anything. Seriously. We only want to be loved.
Gag. Hating the media is a great American pastime — like hating lawyers and politicians.... Forget snuggling up to Obama. If the media can’t take some gentle late-night ribbing without going all to pieces, that is the real embarrassment.