Michaels denies "SNL" is pro-Clinton

The show has been perceived as boosting Hillary Clinton's campaign, but its executive producer says that was unintentional.

By Alex Koppelman
Published March 13, 2008 2:47PM (EDT)

Of all of the things that have been credited with allowing Hillary Clinton to put a hold -- even just a temporary one, as it turned out -- on Barack Obama's stunning momentum in February, perhaps the most surprising was "Saturday Night Live." (Who knew people still watched any part of the show other than "Dick in a Box"?)

As we noted in this space earlier, a blogger for one French newspaper -- keeping firm to the tradition of the high esteem in which the French hold Americans -- said that the backlash against Obama was not possible without the end of the writers' strike. "Without their satire,the Americans were deprived of this constant mirror of their attitudes and behavior," the blogger wrote.

And whether that's true or not, Clinton herself actually cited an "SNL" skit as the best case made about the alleged media bias against her. One of the show's writers, Jim Downey, who has been responsible for the recent politically themed sketches, told the New York Times, "Hillary supporters started coming up to me and thanking me."

And so, unsurprisingly, Obama supporters have apparently been accusing the show of bias. In an interview with the Times, Downey and the show's executive producer, Lorne Michaels, deny that. "I'm sensitive to the suggestion that we're in the service of Hillary Clinton this year," Michaels said. "That obviously is not the case ... We don't lay down for anybody ... I'm in show business and I never, ever forget that."

Turns out that, actually, most of the "SNL" staff are Obama supporters, and head writer Seth Meyers has contributed to Obama's campaign. As for Michaels, well, he actually contributed to John McCain and Chris Dodd.

Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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