NBC's "Saturday Night Live" last evening did a sketch wherein Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad complained about his press coverage.
"I have suffered, and continue to suffer, injustices at the hands of the United States government, which has unfairly accused me of crimes that I did not commit," began Shahzad played by Fred Armisen with help from translator Maya Rudolph.
"And worse, injustices at the hands of the American news media, which has grossly invaded my privacy, and lied about me at every turn...Most hurtful of all, they have continued to describe the car bomb on which I worked so hard, in the cruelest terms imaginable."
In the end, his beef was with how the press reported his bomb making skills (video follows with partial transcript and commentary):
MAYA RUDOLPH, TRANSLATOR: Good afternoon. My name is Faisal Shahzad, and I am here today because I can no longer remain silent about the injustices I have suffered, and continue to suffer, injustices at the hands of the United States government, which has unfairly accused me of crimes that I did not commit. And worse, injustices at the hands of the American news media, which has grossly invaded my privacy, and lied about me at every turn. They have written embarrassing and inaccurate stories about my home foreclosure. They have delved into the break-up of my marriage. And most hurtful of all, they have continued to describe the car bomb on which I worked so hard, and to describe it in the cruelest terms imaginable.
"Crude." "Primitive." "Thirdrate." "Rudimentary." "Poorly constructed." "Unsophisticated." "Amateurish." "Unrefined." "Inexpert." "Unprofessional." "Obviously not well thought-out." "Substandard." "Inept." "Impractical." "Ill-conceived." "Woefully inadequate." "Substandard." "Inept." "Unworkmanlike." "Bungling." "Half-assed." "Not even close to workable." "Low-end." "The kind of device you'd find in the sale bin at a Mexican KMart." "Useless." "Ineffective." "Complete waste of time." "An embarrassment." "Reminiscent of a first grade science project." "Cockamamie." "Bushleague." "Pathetic." "Risible," a word I had not seen before, but which apparently means "Causing, or being worthy of ridicule." "An unmitigated disaster." "Lame." "Like something from a Road Runner cartoon." "Slapdash." "Childlike."
Since these press reports began three days ago, my sense of confidence and self-esteem has been completely shattered. I have difficulty sleeping. I have gained nearly four pounds. And I no longer find pleasure in activities I previously enjoyed, such as soccer, and bomb making. And for those in the press, who are so critical of my work, I have a question. What makes you so sure it was an explosive device? Maybe it was never intended to blow up. Alright, fine, it was an explosive device. Happy now?
But even so, some of the news commentary is simply uncalled for.
Indeed it has been, but obviously not for the reasons the writers and producers here chose to mock.
In the end, this wasn't only unfunny, but missed a great opportunity for "Saturday Night Live" to really take on the press by going after how they actually sympathized with a man that tried to blow up buildings and people just blocks away from where this program is aired.
Now THAT would have been biting social commentary most Americans would have appreciated.
Instead, they swung at a big, fat softball and missed badly.