Food & Drink

Obama, Clinton and Saturday Night Live in the hall of mirrors

Coverage of the American election is turning into a hall of mirrors. It’s created an infinite reflection of the media covering the media covering the media, ad infinitum. Take yesterday’s piece in The New York Times by Katherine Q. Seelye titled “News Coverage Changes, and So Does Tone of the Campaign.” Seelye reports that since a skit on Saturday Night Live taking the piss out of the press’ fawning coverage of Obama aired two weeks ago, scrutiny of Mr. Obama has increased:

Now comes evidence that the publicizing by the Clinton campaign and the news media may have helped flip the coverage as it questioned Mr. Obama more aggressively.

Mr. Obama was the subject of 69 per cent of all campaign articles last week, from Feb. 25 to March 2, and Mrs. Clinton was the subject of 58 per cent of articles about the election, according to a study by the Project for Excellence in Journalism.

Then, in gauging the effect of this phenomenon, The New York Times turned to an old reliable source—The New York Times Web site:

When this article was posted on Tuesday on The New York Times Web site, several readers said the news media had been unfair to Mrs. Clinton. Many said reporters had not been tough enough on her. Many also focused on the role of Saturday Night Live.

“The line between politics and entertainment has become almost fatally blurred now, and I am uncomfortable with that,” a reader wrote. “SNL is NOT journalism, and it’s a sad statement that a late-night comedy show might have a greater impact on our political path than a debate.”

Another reader wrote, “Don’t kid yourselves, the media didn’t suddenly have some revelation because of SNL. They are trying to sink Obama to keep this race, which they seem to love more than life itself, going. SNL just provided them a justification.”

I say hand the entire blessed mess over to the Times. Then Americans can gather in Times Square every four years on the Tuesday following the first Monday of November and look to see what emerges from the chimney—red smoke or blue. Hey, it works for the Vatican.

• SNL Democratic Debate [YouTube] • News Coverage Changes, and So Does Tone of the Campaign [New York Times]


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