Political Satire: Where Do We Draw The Line?

Photo Credit: Roselle D. Quiao

Kathy Karagiannis – Staff Writer

Film and television commonly illustrate many historical and political content into context. Whether left-wing or right-wing, the variety of news outlets cater to both sides. While nightly news and publications aim for a more-so stern outlook, late-night shows deliver the reality of American politics with humor.

The notorious, Saturday Night Live (SNL) comedy sketches have shaped public opinion and current events for decades. According to NBC and Variety News, “Saturday Night Live reached 10.6 million viewers in the 2016-2017 season compared to the 8.7 million over the comparable period in the 2015-16 season.”

While the political satire influenced ratings, some viewers believed that some aspects were taken too far. “With political satire included in every episode, the show no longer serves as an escape from reality. Further, opponents of this humor are outraged that these unfair and unjust descriptions had real-life consequences,” said Business Today.

In defense SNL states, “Perhaps the problem is not the show itself, but the fact that some viewers accept SNL’s satirical skits as truth.”

“These dark fantasies work as satire because they convert complex, often hidden forms of structural injustice into scary things that are easy to identify…Satire also draws us in by promising to humiliate those who have power over us. Usually this humiliation is played for laughs, but that release doesn’t seem to be enough anymore,” said The New York Times Opinion Writer, Annalee Newitz.

“Where is the line? Political humor has become too incessant, especially to those who watch television in hopes of tuning out the worries associated with reality,” said Business Today. What the media perceives entertainment to be, ultimately comes to the conclusion of how the viewers perceive the stance taken.