I’m repeating a point from December but I still can’t believe this lame show is the one that reliably angers him to the point of chattering publicly about censorship. It’d be like Nixon freaking out over a parody on “Hee Haw.” Here he was two months ago, around the time the shutdown began…
…and here he is two months later, the border-wall standoff with Congress now finally over:
Among the oceans of anti-Trump commentary on television, somehow it’s Alec Baldwin scrunching up his face and doing a bad Trump impersonation that drives the president to distraction.
I don’t think the criticism from SNL bothers him because it’s wounding, actually, I think it bothers him because he considers it “disloyal.” They invited him to host in the thick of the 2016 primaries, didn’t they? They were “friends.” And now they stab him in the back every week. It’s the same reason why CNN gets under his skin more than MSNBC does. Jeff Zucker helped make Trump a TV star during his tenure at NBC, then helped him win the Republican nomination with nonstop coverage on CNN in 2015-16, and now … all CNN does is bash the guy. Traitor. Someone should “look into” that for “collusion” or something.
A few years ago, when it was still unclear how intently he’d push as president to try to regulate the media, today’s tweet would have caused consternation. Is this a “take him literally but not seriously” deal or a “seriously if not literally” one? But at this “limp caudillo” stage of his presidency, to borrow Ross Douthat’s term, it’s hard to get exercised. He might sincerely want to investigate NBC for “collusion” because they keep writing nasty jokes about him but he’s not going to do anything about it and he’d doubtless botch the effort if he tried, like waiting to try to fund the wall until Republicans had lost control of the House. “Retribution” against SNL is in the “neither seriously nor literally” column even if he meant every word.
In fairness to him, though, late-night television in 2019 is an unspeakably dreary, and lazy, monotony. Maybe the DOJ could come up with a creative antitrust argument to limit each show to no more than 85 percent #Resistance “clapter” material. Exit question: How would a Fairness Doctrine for comedy even work? Would Lorne Michaels be required by law to bring Dennis Miller back and let him do a 45-minute “Weekend Update”?