In a letter to the National Review posted Friday, Air America host Al Franken responded to a piece that noted the hipocrisy of Franken’s criticism of minority hiring practices yet “apparently couldn’t find any non-white research assistants for his book Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them … or writers for Saturday Night Live when he was an executive producer there … or researchers and producers for Air America.” The piece, by Catherine Seipp, refers to Peter Schweizer‘s Do As I Say (Not as I Do): Profiles in Liberal Hypocrisy.
Let’s take these one-by-one. I do not rail against audiences for not employing more minorities. What Schweizer was referring to is a joke I tell when I give speeches at a lot of corporate events. The joke is: “First of all I want to congratulate (name of company) for not giving into that whole affirmative action nonsense.”
There was a “non-white” student who helped research Lies and the Lying Liars. I was never executive producer of SNL, but when I served as producer for the 1985-6 season, we hired Danitra Vance, who was both a writer and a cast member and was African American. (Danitra has since passed, although National Review did not give it the attention it gave to Belushi’s death, because, I assume, she was black.)
One of my researcher/producers on my Air America show is black. When we first started, the second researcher I hired was black. He left to finish Yale Law School. Our archivist is black.