Democratic Response: “Now They’ve Gone Too Far”
Already responding to recent revelations that the CIA destroyed the videotaped interrogations of high level terrorist suspects, CIA director Michael Hayden dropped a fresh bombshell Sunday on NBC’s Meet the Press when he revealed that the agency had also destroyed the entire third season Saved by the Bell.
Faced with unusually intense questioning from MTP host Tim Russert, Hayden defended the decision as tough but ultimately necessary. “The actor’s faces were clearly visible on the tapes,” Hayden said, “and we couldn’t risk al-Qaida retaliating against these hugely talented young people. Remember, we’re talking here not just about Elizabeth Berkley, who portrayed the straight-laced but plucky Jessie Spano on the show and went on to star in Showgirls, but such consummate actors as Lark Voorhies, Mark-Paul Gosselaar, and Mario Lopez. Considering all that these brave kids did to lift the spirits of America from 1989 through 1993, we felt that this was the least we could do in return.”
Hayden did not reveal details of the covert program beyond confirming that agents destroyed the show’s master tapes and all existing copies, as well as scripts, props, sets, and memorabilia. “As far as we’re concerned, season three of SBTB never existed,” Hayden said. Tim Russert asked the usually reticent director why the Agency opted to destroy only the third season while leaving the first, second and fourth seasons — not to mention the entire run of Saved by the Bell, the College Years — intact. “Those seasons were deemed to be less vital to America’s national interest,” Hayden said. “And the College Years? Come on.”
But Democrats are having none of it. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, appearing Sunday on Face the Nation, was blunt. “Now they’ve gone too far. We simply cannot have rogue elements of the US intelligence community taking it upon themselves to decide which of our nation’s sitcoms are preserved for syndication. Along with the rest of America’s TV-viewing population, we Democrats mourn the tragic loss of these 26 episodes, including such classics as ‘Fake IDs,’ the searing ‘No Hope with Dope,’ and the heartwarming season-ender ‘Home for Christmas Parts 1 and 2.’”
She vowed that the Justice Department, in cooperation with AFTRA (the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists), would begin an immediate investigation into the matter. And she urged Americans to remember the incident come November. “Voters should ask themselves which party will be there to protect our precious national heritage.” Her voice rising, Pelosi said, “First they came for Saved by the Bell and I said nothing because I never really liked Saved by the Bell. They came for Growing Pains and I said nothing because Kirk Cameron always kind of got on my nerves. When they came for Full House I said nothing because that was the one with the Olsen twins. By the time they came for Diff’rent Strokes and Married . . . With Children there was no one left to speak up.”
Saved by the Bell, Season Three — Never Forget!