Is SNL Propaganda Determining the Millennial Vote?
The 2016 presidential election is coming around the corner, and the popular opinion is that millennial voters will determine the next president of the United States. A millennial is classified as anyone born after the year 1981, and before the year 2005. The fact that a huge portion of the votes is on the shoulders of those so young has some worried. Younger people are easily manipulated, especially when humor takes effect. That could be said about anyone, though. People tend to remember things better if they are humorous, and for the easily susceptible and molded, that can be harmful.
Saturday Night Live is a very popular comedy skit show on NBC that often touches on political events. They make light of the election and playfully make fun of the candidates during their skits and comedy based news outlet Saturday Night Update. Some candidates are teased every episode, the most popular being Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Even if they do make accurate accusations, they are often highly exaggerated for the humor of the show.
“I think their agenda is to make comedic relief of what is going on in the world and in our country at this time. So, I think they make fun of the democrats and the republicans equally. I think that they are more liberal and that’s obvious. They tend to be more humorous when it comes to Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders and when it comes to Sarah Palin and Donald Trump they are more satirical, but they have underlying grudges,” Zosia Busé ‘16 said.
Even politicians have caught wind of this. Clinton, Trump, and Bernie Sanders have all appeared on the show to try to bring light to their own campaign, even using smear campaigns to make their opponents look bad. Although they make fun of themselves while they are on the show, it is usually in fairly miniscule ways that tells viewers that they can be self-deprecating too. In reality, they are usually small issues such as old scandals and rumors, merely small digs on their personality and the way they are publicly perceived.
“Donald Trump, he says all these crazy things so he’s easy to make fun of. He’s very informal which is an easy thing to make fun of. Hillary Clinton, I believe more of the things that are addressed are more policy based instead of how she says things. She seems like a very good debater and a very good speaker. So, the only reason I think they’d make fun of that was because they don’t agree with some of the things that she said. As for Bernie Sanders, there’s not a lot to make fun of. He says some very rational things that most people can agree with,” Gavin Foller ‘19 said.
The political jokes on the show may not be attempting to sway viewers thoughts, but they may be doing just that without realizing. Viewers that are less educated in politics could be swayed by their humor.
“I do think it can affect people’s voting average, just not majorly,” Foller said.