With the race 2016 nomination heating up, the candidates are attempting to differentiate themselves from their competitors. Republican candidate Donald Trump took a major step by playing host to renowned Saturday Night Live (SNL) this past weekend. Trump’s decision to host the show turned many heads and garnered a lot of attention, especially many curious viewers who wanted to see the amount of comedy Trump used. Many aspiring presidential candidates and presidents have hosted SNL raising questions as to their motives for hosting the show.
When a president or a candidate agrees to host SNL, it acts as a way to garner the attention and to raise awareness about themselves to viewers who typically do not pay attention to politics. SNL acts as a form of advertising for a candidate because it helps him or her to make an appearance on a national stage. Often times candidates receive coverage from Saturday Night Live without making an appearance because SNL cast members often take on the role of that figure. One of the most famous SNL sketches involving this concept was Amy Poehler and Tina Fey, who played the roles of Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin during the 2008 election. While SNL serves as a way to get attention from the public, others, like Donald Trump, might have different motives for appearing on the show.
According to the article “Donald Trump, media manipulator in chief” Donald Trump’s motives for hosting Saturday Night Live may not have been strictly to gain public attention. The article states, “Every time the media focuses on events such as Trump on SNL or his Twitter feeds and his fights with Fox News’ hosts, the media is not pressing Trump on his understanding of public policy issues. And that’s a big win for the master media manipulator Trump.” This source ultimately insinuates that Trump might have gone on SNL to draw public attention away from his policies and draw attention to his appearance on the show. By doing this, Trump gains more support without having to reveal his plans for policy, which many say is his weakness. Saturday Night Live and other shows might serve a function to bring a candidate to the limelight, but sometimes there is an underlying motive to draw attention away from the more important aspect: the issues and policies of the person.