Do you think Saturday Night Live's political "satire" does harm?

They will zero in on a candidate or politician and constantly portray him or her as stupid and foolish.
I know this is all supposed to be political satire, but do you think they sometimes go too far, leading the public to view this person with disdain?

Hello,

In my opinion, comedy typically plays upon the disdain which already present. SNL has had such success during this election year with their portrayals of the candidates because, in my own experience, so few people are satisfied with either candidate. We’re being forced to choose the evil between two lessers, so to speak. Again, the disdain is already present.

If anything, I think the sketches which SNL has presented has “lightened” the perception which many people have against the candidates. Rather than the candidates constantly being perceived as hardened politicians who somehow seem untouchable or even unreasonable, SNL has allowed us to see that these men and this woman are not untouchable, that the election process is more than tad bit ridiculous, and offers some sympathy for the candidates themselves.

What SNL does is the same thing that has always been done to public figures. Actually if you do some historical research on the subject you will see that newspapers in the early days of our country were far more vicious. There were “cartoons” tearing up Thomas Jefferson over his rumored “black family.” The other founding fathers were not spared humiliation by the press either. You can find a lot of things in centuries past from the US and more recently from other countries that make SNL look like the amateur hour. At least SNL is really doing humor, not just attacks for the sake of tearing one person down. They skewer people all across the board.

I personally saw the floats in German parades in the 1970s that lampooned their public figures in ways that would never be seen here even today. For instance, one float had their leaders sitting on chamber pots reading newspapers with big bare plaster butt cheeks showing below their shirttails. I assume that the point was that they were sitting around getting nothing done in their government, but you would never see even our cartoons in the editorial page showing something of that nature.

Anyone who is ambitious enough that they want to be a national public figure must expect that the press will not always love them. If we want to be a country that muzzles our media for simple parody, then we will cease to be a free nation. If someone is ignorant enough to form their views on someone or something primarily from SNL or any other comedy show then they will still be ignorant even if that show goes off the air.

I think its absolutely harmful.

The late Phil Hartman once said that when a liberal is in the Whitehouse, they attack them only as people, but when it’s a conservative, they attack both the person and the ideals.

But to me, it’s the ‘attacking the person’ part that’s wrong, and very un-Christian.

Heaping contempt on other people is never a positive thing.

In the last several eleciton cycles, it has made reasonable disagreement impossible, lowered the tone and cheapened the debate to the point that it seems like no one will actually be voting on issues, it’s all personality.

The only time I thought they were good is when they went after their own, and challanged the medias bias in favor of Obama v. Hillary in primary season.

But that time, they were attacking an attitude, not individual people.

I think that, as fewer and fewer people, especially young people, get their news information from traditional sources (newspapers, local news outlets, the network evening news), shows such as SNL play an ever-increasing role in influencing perception of the candidates. It is, I think, sad and scary.

That said, I think that the SNL portrayals are often extremely well-done. However, I am a voracious reader and viewer of news from a variety of sources, who realizes that what is portrayed in an SNL skit is not necessarily reality. Therefore, it doesn’t sway my opinion.

I also believe that it is abundantly clear that most of the major media outlets (entertainment and news) are swooning over the Democratic candidate and have been transparent in their bias.

I actually believe SNL is pretty fair considering it’s on Network TV. They didn’t make Bill Clinton look all that great either over the last several years, but very funny. They were pretty kind to Palin last week too. Don’t take it so seriously…

yes, although I’m a tad hypocritical because I enjoy “Great Presidential Speeches” on Letterman.

I think he keeps that fairly tasteful though and I think bush seems like the guy who would actually enjoy that.

SNL trying to portray Palin as stupid is harmful. I didn’t find any of the sketches all that funny. What it did for me was prove Sarah as a good sport and much more polite than anyone expected when she appeared on the show.

SNL does not just attack conservatives. In fact, John McCain was a guest host on SNL several years ago–one of my favorite episodes EVER! Hilarious!

And Steve Forbes was also a guest host–very funny.

Several other conservatives have made appearances on the show, most notably Bob Dole and Sarah Palin.

If these conservatives thought the show was harmful to them or their fellow conservatives, they would most definitely NOT be appearing on it. ANY publicity, good or bad, is GOOD for any candidate. Better a satire than nothing. The candidates know this.

We’ve watched SNL for years, and it’s very fair. No one is safe. The portrayals of Al Gore made him look like a pompous, boring, overbearing, know-it-all, ignoramous. Very funny! And the portrayals of Clinton–ha ha! Womanizing tomcat! Ha, ha!

Just saw John McCain on SNL (Nov 1st show)… Tina Fey as Palin…Very funny, very fair. How could anyone see this skit as being unfair…

I consider what they do to be in the great tradition of the jester poking fun at leaders in bringing the proud back to a sense of reality and humility.

I agree, it would be different if they only attacked the same party week after week. But they don’t. They were very fair to John McCain on Nov 1st show and it showed him as quite human and humorous. Remember they also poked fun at Clinton too, and those skits were also very funny…

But they made immorality funny.

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