Mystery Of That Missing SNL Bailout Skit Solved: NBC.com Took It Down For Legal Reasons; Will Put Up Edited Version Today
NBC put the video online Sunday morning. But then it disappeared off the network's SNL website soon after. Needless to say, a lot of conspiracy theories were spun, especially by Republicans who wondered if the Democratic Congress, or perhaps Soros himself, were pulling NBC's puppet strings. "If you suspect a few high-placed phone calls to NBC led to the bailout skit slipping down the memory hole, you’re not alone," wrote right-wing commentator Michelle Malkin.
But anyone who actually saw that video could see this was a lawsuit waiting to happen. Because SNL labeled Herb Sandler and his wife Marion, the real-life former owners of Oakland's Golden West Financial (aka World Savings), as "people who should be shot" and accused them of predatory lending that brought down Wachovia Bank even though no charges have been filed. NBC told me just now they never received any legal threat from the Sandlers. [Though the couple did give an angry interview to The Associated Press about the SNL sketch.]
Instead, the network claimed: "Upon review, we caught certain elements in the sketch that didn't meet our standards. We took it down and made some minor changes and it will be back online soon." Specifically, NBC said it has edited out the chyron on-screen text, "People who should be shot" that appeared beneath the Sandler' lookalikes, as well as the "allegations of corruption" made against the couple.
NBC surely could have handled this better. (Supposedly, NBC.com has been deleting questions about the skit from message boards.) Because the network didn't, today's action may or may not silence critics like conservative commentator Michelle Malkin who praised the skit as "hilarious, dead-on, and surprisingly honest" only to express outrage when it was taken down online:
"Where did it go and why? I have a theory," she wrote. "One of the rapacious couples featured in the skit was Herbert and Marion Sandler (portrayed by Darrell Hammond and Casey Wilson). Unlike the other composite figures, the Sandlers are a real-life couple. Also lampooned: Left-wing billionaire George Soros. As Todd Thurman at Heritage notes, the Sandlers are left-wing moguls who built 'a mortgage company whose major product was subprime mortgages and they sold it to Wachovia for $24.2 billion in 2006. And what do the Sandlers do when they are not peddling subprime garbage? They are busy writing checks to leftist groups like the Center for American Progress, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN). Yes that ACORN.' The Sandlers are seething over the skit. And George Soros must be livid as well. Anyone else smell a legal threat behind the disappearance of the vid?"
Malkin went on, "The Sandlers have started to invest their billions of dollars politically, in the manner of George Soros, sugar daddy of many far-left wing groups and an early and prominent supporter of Presidential candidate Barack Obama. Soros has developed an empire of so-called 527 groups, putatively independent political activists groups that have influence within the Democratic Party. These 527 groups include the Center for American Progress, MoveOn.Org, Human Rights Watch, Media Matters and a slew of other like-minded groups… Soros, Lewis, and the Sandlers form a core group of billionaire activists and Democrat partisans who have formed a group called The Democracy Alliance. They realized that they could magnify their power by working in unison and tapping other wealthy donors to further their agenda...