Saturday Night Live cast members sounded really concerned about the level of fairness on their sketch comedy show the other night, the Times' Brian Stelter noticed. Head writer Seth Meyers said the show tries to be "as fair and evenhanded as possible." It was "safer," he added, to mock both Sarah Palin and Hillary Clinton in a recent sketch, since without the latter it might have seemed "like an attack piece." Wait, since when is SNL so jittery about offending people? Is this the level of conscientiousness that comes with unexpectedly influencing the Democratic primaries? Sure, but more importantly this is the latest evidence all media will soon have to watch their political step. A few more signs:
- The politicization of the celebrity magazines, in which Us Weekly faced a backlash for its tabloidy Sarah Palin "Babies, Lies & Scandal" cover and OK! immediately pulled a Fox News Channel and started buttering up the Palins.
- The politicization of magazine photo shoots and editor-freelancer relationships, starting with the Atlantic's messy incident with Jill Greenberg, the photographer who repurposed shots from a John McCain shoot to attack the Republican presidential candidate.
- The overpoliticization of MSNBC, where the anchors were supposed to hurl partisan attacks among each other, not toward one another.
- The fair and unfair criticism of the Associated Press' more pointed political coverage.
So pretty much wherever you are in the media food chain, you now have to work extra hard to keep everything fair and balanced, or biased to no more and no less than the degree (and direction) prescribed.
Consider that fair warning, Cute Overload!
(NBC photo via Times)