Between 6 a.m. and 12 noon on Monday, MSNBC featured six segments which replayed bits from Tina Fey's Saturday Night Live parody of Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin's performance in Thursday's debate. The SNL parody of Democratic vice presidential nominee Joe Biden was only played twice, and both times were during Morning Joe.
This continues a trend that was also seen last Monday morning when MSNBC replayed Tina Fey's parody of Palin's interview with Katie Couric seven times while avoiding Saturday Night Live's parody of Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama.
Along with the free airtime given to Fey's impersonation of Palin came some commentary by the various hosts of both Morning Joe and MSNBC News Live. First, Willie Geist commented that, "Sometimes you watch [Tina Fey] and forget what Sarah Palin actually looks like. She's so dead on."
Mika Brzezinski added, "And there were sometimes during the debate where I didn't know what she was saying and I think Tina Fey kind of zoned in on that."
News Live host Contessa Brewer did question whether the cast members of SNL "worry at all or wonder at all whether the voters are taking these parodies seriously and basing real decisions on their portrayal on a comedy stretch." It would certainly seem that Tina Fey doesn't considering she has been quoted as saying that she wants to be "done playing this lady on November 5."
But, MSNBC's pop culture correspondent Courtney Hazlett argued that the caricatures of the candidates featured on Saturday Night Live wouldn't have any effect on the votes of the viewers. But she later made sure to inform the audience that Tina Fey's impersonation of Sarah Palin is "so spot on" and that the writers "actually take material from things that Sarah Palin has actually said and then imbue it with their own joke and it's coming out just really, really perfectly."
In an attempt to avoid charges of bias, News Live host Tamron Hall said to Hazlett, "And we should point out this started in the primaries, I mean, when we were tuning in to see what [SNL] would say about the Democratic presidential debates and such. It didn't just start with Sarah Palin."
Hazlett replied by debunking criticisms that Saturday Night Live is left-leaning, claiming that "it 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. But everybody is working really hard to make sure that all the candidates get covered and they really are." Everybody but MSNBC, that is.