MSNBC's "Morning Joe" and "News Live" on Sunday and Monday repeatedly played clips from Sen. John McCain's appearance on the November 1 edition of "Saturday Night Live" for a combined total of 11 times. One MSNBC host, Alex Witt, on Sunday, even claimed, "We're gonna have a lot of clips of that for ya so you can be smiling through this morning." However, MSNBC did not show even one clip of Ben Affleck's impersonation of "Countdown" host Keith Olbermann from the same broadcast.
Many of the hosts expressed that they thought McCain was funny during his SNL appearance, probably because he was making fun of himself and his campaign. But apparently MSNBC didn't want its viewers laughing and smiling at SNL's imitation of Olbermann which cast him as pompous and as someone who commonly has hypersensitive overreactions. After all, a senior executive at the cable channel has admitted that Olbermann "runs MSNBC."
MSNBC has a history of repeatedly replaying SNL parodies of the Republican ticket while virtually ignoring other parodies from the same show, specifically those of the Democratic ticket. On September 29, MSNBC played clips of Tina Fey's SNL parody of Palin's interview with CBS "Evening News" anchor Katie Couric seven times between 6:00 a.m. and 12 while only "Morning Joe" featured the SNL parody of Senator Barack Obama from the same night, and even then the focus was on the portion of the skit which parodied McCain's "gimmicks."
One week later on October 6, the cable channel replayed bits from Fey's parody of Palin's performance in the vice presidential debate. The SNL parody of Joe Biden's debate performance was only played twice, and both times were during "Morning Joe."
MSNBC pop culture columnist Courtney Hazlett on October 6 made sure to note that "Saturday Night Live" is "nonpartisan, too. That's something that a lot of critics are saying, that it's all about Sarah Palin and it's anti-John McCain and they're taking advantage of the McPalin ticket, if you will. And when I was speaking with the cast members and with Lorne Michaels, they said, 'you know what, there's material on both sides here.' It's just that sometimes there are things that get more attention than others.'" MSNBC, though, seems to want the SNL parodies of McCain and Palin to get more attention than the SNL parodies of Olbermann, Biden and Obama.