Live from New York, it’s… disappointment


On Oct. 13, NBC announced that Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump will host the Nov. 7 episode of “Saturday Night Live,” a move that represents a complete 180 from the stance the network took in severing all ties with the billionaire business mogul following his offensive, derogatory comments about undocumented Mexican immigrants, in June.

Trump has spent the four months since announcing his campaign denouncing political correctness and making inflammatory statements against various groups of people, including Latinos, women and veterans. He has drawn backlash from advocacy groups across the United States, including the National Council of La Raza, the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda and Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.

Despite the controversies that have followed him for months, Trump still leads the GOP pack in every national poll and in most state polls. Both an Oct. 20 Monmouth poll and an Oct. 21 ABC News/Washington Post poll put Trump 10 points ahead of Ben Carson, who has been in second place for more than a month. Some polls show the gap between Trump and Carson to be in the single digits, but no significant poll since mid-July has put anyone other than Trump in the lead, nationally.

Some initially equated Trump’s rise in the polls to a summer fling, insinuating that his supporters would settle down and choose an establishment candidate once the debates started. But we are now nearly a month into autumn. Two GOP debates have come and gone — another is coming up on Oct. 28 — and Trump is still dominating, in the polls and in media coverage. A man whom no one regarded as a serious candidate — a man with no political experience whatsoever — now has the inside track to the Republican nomination. Should that not startle or concern us a little?

It should. But what should even be more eye-opening (and disappointing) is the decision by NBC and “Saturday Night Live” to ignore Trump’s defamatory comments — and to opt for a sure ratings boost, shunting aside the status and feelings of Latinos, women and veterans. The more exposure Trump gets, the more likely it is that people may start to see him as likable, and therefore a more reasonable candidate. This is called the mere-exposure effect, and you can bet that Trump is familiar with it. In fact, he may be banking on it.

This will be Trump’s second time hosting the late-night show — the first was in April 2004; but it will be his first time as a politician, and there is an important distinction to be made there. Sure, SNL has allowed politicians, including presidential candidates, to host in the past; and more, still, have made cameos in single sketches — as Hillary Clinton did in the season 41 premiere, on Oct. 3. But allowing Trump to host, despite his racist comments against Latinos, his sexist comments against women and his open disrespect for John McCain, who Trump claims is not a war hero because he was captured by the enemy, is contemptible.

By letting Trump host, NBC and “Saturday Night Live” are choosing ratings over moral conscience, and they should be condemned for it. I would strongly urge those who wish to stand with Latinos, women and veterans  to avoid watching Trump host on Nov. 7. Nothing positive can come of this SNL … Saturday night lunacy.

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