NBC Edits SNL Bailout Skit Following Legal Concerns Over "People Who Should Be Shot" Chyron

On the past weekend's Saturday Night Live, a brutal but hilarious Democrat-bashing skit aired about the $700 billion federal bailout and the insanity of those subprime mortgages, and it featured lookalikes for George W. Bush, Nancy Pelosi, Barney Frank, hedge fund billionaire and big Democratic donor George Soros, and a parade of sob-story "victims" who turn out to be deadbeats, greedy house-flippers, and schemers. (The unedited YouTube version is below...) The sketch was embraced by Republicans for appearing to blame Democrats for the Wall Street meltdown. At one point in the sketch, President Bush (played by SNL regular Jason Sudeikis) even said, "Wasn't it my administration that warned about the problem six years ago and it was Democrats who refused to listen?" (Immediately Barney Frank starts to complain... only to be hushed by Pelosi.)

NBC put the video online Sunday morning. But then it disappeared off the network's SNL website soon after. Needless to say, a lot of conspiracy theories were spun, especially by Republicans who wondered if the Democratic Congress, or perhaps Soros himself, were pulling NBC's puppet strings. "If you suspect a few high-placed phone calls to NBC led to the bailout skit slipping down the memory hole, you're not alone," wrote right-wing commentator Michelle Malkin.

But anyone who actually saw that video could see this was a lawsuit waiting to happen. Because SNL labeled Herb Sandler and his wife Marion, the real-life former owners of Oakland's Golden West Financial (aka World Savings), as "people who should be shot" and accused them of predatory lending that brought down Wachovia Bank even though no charges have been filed. NBC told me just now they never received any legal threat from the Sandlers. [Though the couple did give an angry interview to The Associated Press about the SNL sketch.]

Instead, the network claimed: "Upon review, we caught certain elements in the sketch that didn't meet our standards. We took it down and made some minor changes and it will be back online soon." Specifically, NBC said it has edited out the chyron on-screen text, "People who should be shot" that appeared beneath the Sandler' lookalikes, as well as the "allegations of corruption" made against the couple.

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