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Satire américaine30/10/2008 - par Mark Tungate (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Did comedians elect the president of the United States? With only days to go, it seems that satirists may have saved the western world. The actress Tina Fey's devastating impersonations of Sarah Palin on legendary comedy show Saturday Night Live have undermined the Alaskan politician's credibility to such an extent that it's now impossible to take her seriously. You watch Palin at a rally and you see Fey's comic version.
Reality blurred even further when Palin herself made a guest appearance on Saturday Night Live. In a scene that has now become famous, Palin was mistaken for her impersonator. She clearly wanted to demonstrate that, whatever her faults, she at least has a good sense of humour.
Comedians have been kinder to John McCain, mimicking his quick temper but steering clear of certain physical characteristics, which derive from torture in Vietnam and a skin cancer operation: not funny. But McCain shot himself in the foot by cancelling an appearance on the influential Late Night with Letterman – hosted by David Letterman – so he could be interviewed on a rival show. A few weeks later, he appeared on Letterman to apologise – and was subjected to one of the toughest interviews of the entire campaign. Ruffled, McCain was captured grimacing on camera as he tried to leave the stage by the wrong exit. Meanwhile, comedians seem less inclined to mock Obama. And in a campaign driven by the media, that's another factor in his favour.