In February, a slightly dark Saturday Night Live sketch featuring Kellyanne Conway garnered criticism from both conservatives and liberals for portraying the top aide to President Trump as obsessed with getting on CNN, in a spoof of the 1987 thriller Fatal Attraction.
On Saturday’s broadcast, the show featured a new pre-filmed segment featuring the South Jersey native, played once again by cast member Kate McKinnon. This time, Conway was depicted as the clown Pennywise in a spoof of the horror film It. In the sketch, “Kellywise” tries to persuade CNN’s Anderson Cooper (played by cast member Alex Moffat) to join her in the sewer for quotes to use on his show, ending with Cooper’s arm being ripped off and devoured by McKinnon’s Conway.
The sketch didn’t receive anywhere close to the criticism last year’s spoof did, and Conway didn’t comment or respond to a request to weigh in on the segment. But the folks at Fox & Friends weren’t too happy with how the White House counselor was portrayed.
“It still irritates me to no end. I’m being nice,” weekend cohost David Webb said Sunday morning after being shown part of the sketch. The criticism centered on the idea that it’s OK to mock a conservative woman, but mocking a liberal woman in the same manner would be considered sexist or misogynist. If SNL had mocked Michelle Obama this way, it would be condemned as “racist,” cohost Pete Hegseth said.
“Do this to Hillary Clinton,” Webb said. “Put her in the drain like the clown, just goading the Russians or someone else in.”
Ironically, the segment did feature McKinnon’s Hillary Clinton in the sewer, as well.
“There’s this sense of hypocrisy when we talk about Kellyanne,” said cohost Abby Huntsman. She said comedy centered on Conway always seems to be focused on her looks.
“But not respected for her brains or her smarts,” Webb interrupted.
“There’s two standards in this country,” Hegseth concluded.
So far, Megyn Kelly’s a drag on NBC’s Today show
After several poorly reviewed interviews and surprisingly low ratings, celebrities are reportedly beginning to blacklist new NBC host Megyn Kelly.
Over the weekend, Variety reported that publicists were telling their celebrity clients to avoid the third hour of the Today show, rebranded as Megyn Kelly Today since last month when the former Fox News host launched her daily morning show.
“I’m not booking anyone on her show,” one high-powered publicist “with a roster of big names” told Variety. “I literally haven’t pitched anyone even from right out the gate. The buzz that is out there is so bad.”
NBC counters that Kelly has many celebrities, including Alec Baldwin and actress Goldie Hawn, already lined up for her show.
Poor buzz isn’t the only problem for Kelly. Last week, Page Six reported that ratings have dropped 32 percent since she took over, causing a drag on the entire Today franchise. The hour following Kelly’s show, hosted by Kathy Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb, is reportedly down 26 percent.
“Too many people are tuning out NBC. Hoda and Kathie Lee had been a bright spot in the mornings. People are alarmed,” a source told the New York Post.
The problems have stemmed from the network’s head-scratching decision to rebrand Kelly, a fiery opinion-maker and sharp interviewer at Fox News, into what she describes as the nonpolitical host of “an uplifting show” in front of a studio audience.
“Whereas Kelly’s job once called for her to bludgeon the appropriate people — generally liberals — at the right time, her new charge is to be relatable, likable, vivacious, etc.,” the Washington Post’s Erik Wemple wrote, pointing to the disconnect.
FCC official calls out Trump’s media attacks
A top Federal Communications Commission official denounced President Trump’s attacks on the media Sunday, saying broadcast licenses wouldn’t be revoked over his dissatisfaction with their coverage.
“I think it’s essential that the FCC and all that it does is careful to abide by the First Amendment when it engages in any kind of policies involving broadcast licensees,” Jessica Rosenworcel, one of five FCC commissioners, told CNN’s Brian Stelter on Reliable Sources.
Rosenworcel, appointed to the commission by President Barack Obama and brought back by Trump, called on her colleagues to publicly denounce the president’s repeated attacks against media outlets reporting news unfavorable to his administration, which he often dubs “fake news.”
“History won’t be kind to silence,” Rosenworcel said. “I think it’s important for all the commissioners to make clear that they support the First Amendment and that the agency will not revoke a broadcast license simply because the president is dissatisfied with the licensee’s coverage.”
Rosenworcel’s comments follow statements Trump made after NBC News reported that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called him a “moron” during a meeting in July at the Pentagon.
Network news has become so partisan, distorted and fake that licenses must be challenged and, if appropriate, revoked. Not fair to public!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 12, 2017
NBC News has staunchly backed its reporting. NBC News correspondent and MSNBC anchor Stephanie Ruhle, one of four reporters who worked on the original Tillerson story, has taken to MSNBC several times to defend the facts of her report. She also went after Trump, specifically after he complained that the network didn’t verify its report with him.
“Sir, we didn’t need you to verify that he called you a ‘moron,’ ” Ruhle said. “He did it behind your back.”