Last Thursday, the White House announced that national security advisors and press secretary Jen Psaki would meet with 30 TikTok influencers on a Zoom call to discuss the information war against Russia and their invasion of Ukraine.
Erroneously referred to as “The First TikTok War,” the battle for hearts and minds around the world involves a lot more than some silly social media platform. In fact, it’s deadly serious, with thousands of lives hanging in the balance.
So, of course, Biden went for the easy political win and hosted a meeting with TikTok influencers, each with millions of followers.
For Our VIPs: Tik Tok-ing Points
In a hilarious spoof of the messaging outreach, Saturday Night Live opened their show trying to imagine what the meeting might have been like.
James Austin Johnson, playing a technologically clueless, Biden was brilliant.
This weekend’s edition of “Saturday Night Live” opened with President Biden (played by “SNL” cast member James Austin Johnson) thanking White House press secretary Jen Psaki for setting up a meeting with several TikTok stars who were recruited to help end Russia’s war in Ukraine.
Psaki (Kate McKinnon) reminded the president she had “suggested it as a joke and then it actually happened.”
That’s probably not far from the truth. Can a bunch of ignorant 20-somethings tell the United States government something it doesn’t know about what’s happening with the information war?
Johnson, as low-tech Biden, said he was struggling with this war being the first with a major social media influence, calling himself the “landline of presidents.”
“I understand Putin, I understand war,” he said. “But there’s one thing I don’t understand: Computer.”
“He means ‘technology’ but he says ‘computer,’” McKinnon as Psaki translated for the TikTok stars gathered in the room.
One of the influencers who achieved fame and fortune on TikTok by doing animal makeup on kids blamed the war on Hunter Biden.
A giggling Aidy Bryant, playing a 12-year-old girl who does animal makeup for kids, immediately pivoted to a right-wing conspiracy theory.
“You mean the (war) started by your son Hunter Biden? With his pals at Burisma? Where’s the laptop? Is it in this room?” she quizzed the president.
“You don’t expect an animal makeup girl to be alt-right,” Johnson quipped.
I haven’t watched a complete Saturday Night Live episode in 25 years. It’s just hasn’t been consistently funny since the early 1990s.
But every once in a while, they knock one out of the park. And when they do, they should be recognized for it.