Jim Downey was once fired from Saturday Night Live, along with cast member Norm Macdonald, for repeated "OJ Did It" jokes on Weekend Update. He eventually made his way back to the show as chief political satirist, which basically puts him near the center of both politics and pop culture this year, with his sketches, no less pointed than his OJ material, earning mention in televised debates and re-airing on cable talk shows. But the influence of Downey and his show has been artificially inflated, he tells the Observer, by fearful news networks, who would "like to make sarcastic comments about candidates , but their role as news people prevents that:"
They were running my stuff during the 2000 election] on all of the network news channels and each of the big three—CNN, Fox and MSNBC—would from the same sketch mine different elements. CNN always took the most left-leaning elements of my piece, Fox the most right-leaning, and MSNBC was kind of down the middle. That’s changed now. CNN has become the middle of the road and MSNBC the left.
...I think showing our clips permits them to let us make the point