There was one final “Saturday Night Live” left before the 2016 election, but there was no debate to send up.
Instead, SNL went with some pretty strong political commentary. And it wasn’t friendly to Donald Trump – or the media.
The nine-minute cold open featured Alec Baldwin returning as Trump and being interviewed alongside Hillary Clinton on CNN. Over the course of the interview, Trump literally kissed – on the mouth — an FBI agent, Russian President Vladimir Putin and a member of the KKK, only to have the CNN host quickly return the discussion to Clinton’s emails. And at the start of the interview, Clinton begs the host to talk about Trump’s taxes, only to have the host ask her about her emails.
It doesn’t quite twist the knife when it comes to the media’s coverage of Trump – the sketch overall seems to be more about Clinton being exasperated that the race is close, and it ends on a more fanciful note – but the media criticism is unmistakable.
This, of course, is a long-running theme of the campaign. Clinton’s supporters have frequently argued that the media is obsessed with her email issue and that it has garnered entirely too much coverage, constantly overshadowing the controversial things that Trump has said.
For what it’s worth, relatively few people seem to hold this view. A poll last week showed 83 percent of likely voters think Clinton did something wrong with her email server, while 51 percent think she did something illegal.
In addition, as I wrote a couple weeks ago, 43 percent of Americans think media coverage of Trump has been too negative, while just 11 percent say the same of Clinton. Just 17 percent of Democrats say the Clinton coverage has been too negative. Nearly as many Democrats, in fact, think coverage of Trump has been too negative – 13 percent.
But this hasn’t prevented a narrative from forming among top Clinton supporters and media watchdogs that Trump has gotten a pass and Clinton has been unfairly targeted for relatively minor – or even nonexistent – sins. And it’s a claim that resurfaces every time the polls tighten.
On Saturday, “Saturday Night Live” took a bite at the apple.