Opinion: Edited SNL subprime video also happens to excise Barney Frank’s involvement
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Not every comedy sketch on ‘Saturday Night Live’ has to do with Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.
But there’s an unusual twist this week over another SNL skit. This one concerns a long, satirical bit about the Washington financial bailout bill including a ‘President Bush,’ a House Speaker ‘Nancy Pelosi’ and a Rep. ‘Barney Frank.’
Pelosi introduces a series of alleged ‘victims’ of the Wall Street mess, who include two men clearly unqualified to have any kind of mortgage, a well-to-do couple who speculated in condos and lost all but 10% of their profits and an older couple, Herb and Marion Sandler.
As our blogging colleagues Peter Viles at L.A. Land and Matea Gold Show Tracker have thoroughly documented, the Sandlers actually exist and are prominent supporters of liberal and Democratic causes. They assembled a vast array of subprime loan packages in their Golden West Financial and sold it to Wachovia Bank for $24 billion before the financial bottom fell out.
In the skit, a parody of a C-SPAN news conference replay, the Sandlers express puzzlement over why Pelosi invited them as victims because they’re really delighted with their fortune and laughingly see Wachovia Bank as the victim. A graphic beneath the Sandlers says, ‘People who should be shot.’
Monday NBC mysteriously yanked the skit’s video from the network’s website, fueling online rumors the show was caving to pressures from well-connected Democrats.
The video was later reposted and a spokesman explained ‘upon review we caught certain elements in the sketch that didn’t meet our standards. We took it down and made some minor changes.’
In an interview with Gold, the show’s executive producer, Lorne Michaels, said the Sandlers were distraught but had not demanded the changes. He noted the ‘People who should be shot’ line was deleted as was a reference to their ‘corrupt activities.’
But a comparison of the two versions shows that actually a little more than that was cut. What also was excised was any mention of the involvement of Massachusetts’ Rep. Frank in the Sandler subprime mess.
Frank is the influential chairman of the House Financial Services Committee and an ardent political protector of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which participated in the subprime problem.
In the original skit Sandler addresses Frank, saying, ‘And thank you, Congressman Frank, as well as many Republicans for helping block Congressional oversight of our corrupt activities.’
To which Frank replies enthusiastically, ‘Not at all!’
All that’s gone in the new version, which Show Tracker has posted here.
That’s too bad for Frank’s Republican opponent in the House election next month for the Bay State’s Fourth District, which includes Brookline and Newton. Frank’s opponent is little-known Republican Earl Henry Sholley, who could use any embarrassing ammunition like the SNL sketch.
Never mind any grand policy proposals. Sholley’s still trying to get Frank to agree to simple public debates. Frank dismisses his GOP challenger, saying he simply can’t make the dates Sholley has suggested. And that’s that.
To see the original full sketch before the editing, click on the Read more line below.
-- Andrew Malcolm
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