SEVERE WX : Freeze Warning - Freeze Watch View Alerts

Trump's 'SNL' attack crosses the line

Article Image

Bill Carter reacts to President Trump's complaint that "SNL" is unfunny and unfair. Trump asked, "How do the networks get away with these total Republican hit jobs without retribution?" Carter says Trump must have watched Alec Baldwin's impression of him on Saturday night.

Posted: Feb 18, 2019 12:40 AM
Updated: Feb 18, 2019 12:40 AM

On Friday, President Donald Trump declared a national emergency because, as he put it, there's a "national security crisis on our border" marked by "an invasion of our country with drugs, with human traffickers, with all types of criminals and gangs." With that type of calamity bearing down on our nation, you would expect Trump to be laser focused on the threat in the days that followed.

But this weekend, Trump managed to find time to watch NBC's "Saturday Night Live," which he notably hosted twice in the past, and then took to Twitter to not just slam the show, but to suggest there needs to be "retribution" and that the comedy show should be investigated. It was the latest escalation in his war on free speech.

He first tweeted Sunday morning, "Nothing funny about tired Saturday Night Live on Fake News NBC! Question is, how do the Networks get away with these total Republican hit jobs without retribution? Likewise for many other shows? Very unfair and should be looked into. This is the real Collusion!"

Then four minutes later, he tweeted in all caps -- telling us how he apparently now views the iconic comedy show as part of those threatening our nation: "THE RIGGED AND CORRUPT MEDIA IS THE ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE!"

Could Trump be laying the ground work to declare another national emergency to silence SNL?! Aside from the absurdity of the idea, it also violates the First Amendment right to free speech, as the American Civil Liberties Union was quick to point out.

But before you dismiss the idea entirely, keep in mind two things. First, an Ipsos poll in August found that 44% of Republicans believe Trump should be able to close news outlets for "bad behavior." Do you have any doubt that if Trump called for comedy shows to be more "fair and balanced" in their criticism of Republicans, his base would not cheer? We might even see a majority of Trump fans support silencing "SNL," especially since the right has long viewed Hollywood and the entertainment industry as anti-Republican. (Of course, Trump and his base would undoubtedly never support forcing Fox News to truly be "fair and balanced.")

And, second, this wouldn't be the first time a GOP president used his powers to silence comedic criticism. In 1969, the liberal-leaning CBS comedy show "The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour" mocked then-President Richard Nixon to the point where the comedic duo made it onto Nixon's "enemies list." Nixon then used his well-placed allies in the ranks of CBS executives, including CBS programming chief Robert D. Wood, to get the show canceled.

So, what was it about SNL on Saturday that so upset Trump? Perhaps it was the show's cold open mocking Trump's emergency declaration. Alec Baldwin, playing Trump, said "I'm here to declare a very urgent, important national emergency. This is a big one so I don't want to waste any time. That's why first I want to blow my own horn a little bit, OK?" This mirrored what we saw during Friday's press conference when Trump opened the media event by first bragging about what a great job he has done on trade, the economy, etc., before getting to the alleged emergency.

And then there was this line by Baldwin that may have unnerved the thin-skinned Trump, because it so closely mirrored his own life: "In conclusion, this is a total emergency, a five-alarm blaze, which means I have to go to Mar-a-Lago and play some golf." Trump is at Mar-A-Lago this weekend.

My hope is that members of the media who interview Republican members of Congress in the next few days ask them point blank whether they would support Trump's "retribution" and potential investigations into how SNL and other comedy shows create their shows. It is important Republicans make it explicitly clear that Trump's war on freedom of expression is wrong.

But I bet many Republicans will skirt the issue -- responding with "no comment" or playing to their base by saying Hollywood has long been biased against the right. In either case, they will be emboldening Trump's attacks on the media at large.

I worked on the production team at "SNL" for eight seasons, at a time when the show comically filleted Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. But never did either of them publicly complain the comedy was unfair. They understood that political comedy is part of the fabric of this nation -- even when they were the target of the jokes.

If Trump does nothing more than take to Twitter to slam "SNL" for its jokes about him, these attacks must still be called out. Why? Because they are more than just wrong -- they are un-American.

Lafayette
Cloudy
43° wxIcon
Hi: 42° Lo: 40°
Feels Like: 38°
Kokomo
Cloudy
39° wxIcon
Hi: 41° Lo: 39°
Feels Like: 32°
Rensselaer
Cloudy
34° wxIcon
Hi: 60° Lo: 35°
Feels Like: 34°
Lafayette
Cloudy
43° wxIcon
Hi: 39° Lo: 37°
Feels Like: 38°
Danville
Cloudy
40° wxIcon
Hi: 41° Lo: 39°
Feels Like: 33°
Frankfort
Partly Cloudy
39° wxIcon
Hi: 43° Lo: 38°
Feels Like: 36°
Frankfort
Cloudy
39° wxIcon
Hi: 41° Lo: 38°
Feels Like: 36°
Monticello
Cloudy
36° wxIcon
Hi: 40° Lo: 39°
Feels Like: 28°
Monticello
Cloudy
37° wxIcon
Hi: 39° Lo: 38°
Feels Like: 31°
Logansport
Cloudy
36° wxIcon
Hi: 40° Lo: 37°
Feels Like: 31°
Brief Snow & Freezing Ahead....
WLFI Radar
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 708067

Reported Deaths: 13224
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion964881721
Lake51704945
Allen39185672
Hamilton34497405
St. Joseph34075540
Elkhart27306432
Vanderburgh22077394
Tippecanoe21818212
Porter17940299
Johnson17526374
Hendricks16803310
Clark12688190
Madison12350337
Vigo12211244
Monroe11462166
LaPorte11140204
Delaware10356184
Howard9662211
Kosciusko9127114
Hancock7979139
Bartholomew7888155
Warrick7684155
Floyd7560176
Wayne6899198
Grant6842171
Boone6552100
Morgan6395138
Dubois6084117
Marshall5783108
Dearborn570076
Cass5684102
Henry5577100
Noble542483
Jackson493269
Shelby479095
Lawrence4342118
Gibson428789
Harrison428170
Clinton419053
Montgomery417986
DeKalb410984
Whitley379639
Huntington379480
Miami372565
Knox366389
Steuben365257
Putnam352660
Jasper350546
Wabash347778
Adams337952
Ripley334668
Jefferson313180
White308354
Daviess289299
Wells286381
Decatur278992
Fayette277162
Greene270685
Posey268833
Scott261153
Clay253444
LaGrange253070
Randolph235680
Washington230931
Spencer227931
Jennings224747
Fountain208745
Sullivan207842
Starke204352
Owen192256
Fulton191739
Jay186129
Carroll185820
Perry180336
Orange177853
Rush170724
Vermillion166043
Franklin165635
Tipton160943
Parke144616
Blackford133831
Pike130334
Pulaski113645
Newton103934
Brown100140
Crawford97614
Benton97113
Martin82815
Warren79615
Switzerland7698
Union69910
Ohio55811
Unassigned0409

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events