CNN, Stelter Gleefully Rule WH’s Spicer Has ‘A Problem...Going Forward’ after SNL Skit

Saturday Night Live couldn’t have drawn it up any better, folks. On Monday’s New Day, Reliable Sources host Brian Stelter and CNN media analyst Bill Carter sang the comedy show’s praises following Melissa McCarthy’s parody of Sean Spicer, spinning that the skit represents “a problem for the White House [and Spicer] going forward.”

“Okay, Brian, Melissa McCarthy. I mean, she embodied Sean Spicer. I mean, in that she became a man. She became — she took on some of his expressions. It was really a tour de force performance,” co-host Alisyn Camerota gushed to Stelter at the start of the segment.

Stelter agreed, predicting that “she will win awards for it and I'm sure she’ll be back” while Carter revealed that McCarthy’s appearance “only apparently was done very late Friday when they did rehearsals.” 

Carter then offered a full endorsement of the skit reflecting “extremes” that occur in Spicer’s daily White House press briefings: “Everything about it was spectacular, including how well-written it was because it played off the extremes of what happened in his press briefings.”

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Playing to SNL’s main objective of eroding the seriousness of any politician or staff member that’s not liberal, Stelter explained:

STELTER: And not to get serious about it, but it shows a problem for the White House. We’ve known this White House has a credibility gap and I think this now showing that Spicer is a punch line, at least to some people, it's a problem for the White House going forward. 

CUOMO: SNL is very relevant and they're certainly pol — they’re playing on the polarization. They get a lot of heat for things as well.

As my colleague Tim Graham opined on Twitter, it’s difficult to recall SNL ever lampooning Jay Carney or Josh Earnest from the Obama administration or Clinton press secretary Mike McCurry deflecting questions about Monica Lewinsky.

Stelter later conceded that the show often goes after Republican presidents, but still articulated that “it does feel like they’re going for broke with regards to Trump” even though they’re “always critical of presidents.” 

Moments later, Carter remarked about how political the show has become from top to bottom (with no suggestion that it’s a bad thing, however):

It is interesting that they — Saturday Night Live is really going all in on this. I mean, show was heavily, they did an faux ad about the, you know, people coming to the airports and the rules changing. Then Kristen Stewart comes out and first thing she talks about is the crazy looney tweets that Trump sent about her and her boyfriend. It is unrelenting. I don’t think I’ve seen them this on the attack than ever before.

Stelter added that SNL has been “programming this for one person” knowing that President Trump frequently tunes in and so “[t]hey are crafting these segments, for example, the Bannon one, directly for him.”

Of course, the sketch Stelter referred to was the cold open, which featured Alec Baldwin as Trump and a cast member dressed as the Grim Reaper to play Steve Bannon.

Here are the relevant portions of the transcript from CNN’s New Day on February 6:

CNN’s New Day
February 6, 2017
6:52 a.m. Eastern

ALISYN CAMEROTA: Okay, Brian, Melissa McCarthy. I mean, she embodied Sean Spicer. I mean, in that she became a man. She became — she took on some of his expressions. It was really a tour de force performance.

BRIAN STELTER: She became Sean Spicer and I would lo — we don't know yet how long this was in the works, whether it was her idea. I would love to find out exactly how it became about because I think we're going to remember this for a long time. I think she will win awards for it and I'm sure she’ll be back. 

(....)

BILL CARTER: It only apparently was done very late Friday when they did rehearsals. It was the first time people saw it but she is so perfect for it. Why did they think of her? 

CAMEROTA: We don’t know. We don’t know.

CARTER: How did they come up with it and the audience didn't realize it was her right away. It was amazing that they could pull that off. She wasn't supposed to be on the show. It was a surprise appearance. Everything about it was spectacular, including how well-written it was because it played off the extremes of what happened in his press briefings. 

CAMEROTA: Some of it’s verbatim. 

STELTER: And not to get serious about it, but it shows a problem for the White House. We’ve known this White House has a credibility gap and I think this now showing that Spicer is a punch line, at least to some people, it's a problem for the White House going forward. 

CHRIS CUOMO: SNL is very relevant and they're certainly pol — they’re playing on the polarization. They get a lot of heat for things as well.

(....)

CUOMO: She then holds up a Bullwinkle and a lamb to say Muslims which was really funny. Alright, so the — what comes — the negative side ends up becoming, wow, you are insulting the President. They’ve never done it like this about any other president. They’ve never gone after staff like this before and it shows us and them that divided the country and brought Trump into power. 

STELTER: But it does feel like they’re going for broke with regards to Trump. The show is always critical of presidents but more so Republican presidents. 

CARTER: More so but they’ve done — they have staff before. Ron Nessen once hosted the show when he was — and they went after Ron Ziegler back in the day. They’ve done that, but a little rare for them to do a press secretary because people don't know who he is unless you watch CNN during the day and see a performance like that. 

CAMEROTA: And they also depicted Steve Bannon — 

CARTER: Yes. They did as the Grim Reaper, yes..

CAMEROTA: — as the Grim Reaper.

(....)

CARTER: It is interesting that they — Saturday Night Live is really going all in on this. I mean, show was heavily, they did an faux ad about the, you know, people coming to the airports and the rules changing. Then Kristen Stewart comes out and first thing she talks about is the crazy looney tweets that Trump sent about her and her boyfriend. It is unrelenting. I don’t think I’ve seen them this on the attack than ever before.

CAMEROTA: And, you know, there's been a theory and I believe that you have fastened on it as well, that they are playing — they know that President Trump watches SNL and that they're almost like telegraphing it directly to him. 

STELTER: Right. That they're programming this for one person. I saw an entertainment writer, Mark Harris, write about this over the weekend. The idea that, you know, they know that the president has to tune into SNL. They are crafting these segments, for example, the Bannon one, directly for him. Let's point out though the President declined to tweet about it. ..

CARTER: Did not tweet about it.

CUOMO: I know. That was impressive because this image of Bannon pulling his strings has got to hurt because he knows it's widely believed, that some of these early controversial moves seem as being his agenda in full effect and that it's hurting the President. 

CARTER: The sketch ended with him at the desk and Bannon at the desk and Trump at a little baby desk. 

CUOMO: That’s right and he had a desk playing with that weird toy that expands like that, which has also fascinated me as I’ve gone through my kids. I get so — 

CAMEROTA: Well, there you go. 

NB Daily Double Standards Conservatives & Republicans Liberals & Democrats NBC Saturday Night Live CNN New Day Video Steve Bannon Chris Cuomo Alisyn Camerota Brian Stelter Bill Carter Donald Trump Sean Spicer
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