Should celebrities leave the political talk to journalists and politicians?
With award season in full swing, it’s time to get cozy on the couch as we witness our favorite celebrities walk across the award stage and deliver politically laced acceptance speeches.
Since the first televised presidential debate between Kennedy and Nixon in 1960, politics and entertainment have been intertwined. With former actor Ronald Regan seated in the Oval Office as the 40th President, Arnold Schwarzenegger and the 38th Governor of California, and our current celebrity President, Donald Trump, we Americans are used to seeing celebrities in positions of political power.
As the old proverb goes, “with great power comes great responsibility.” Our great country needs to be led by intelligent, socially aware individuals who have the prosperity of America as their number one goal. As we have seen in the past four years, when entertainers get involved in politics, our country becomes a new episode of “Keeping Up with the Americans.”
According to Daniel Boorstin’s book, “The Image,” highlighted in Brian McKernan’s article,“Politics and Celebrity: A Sociological Understanding”,when a celebrity, “a person who is known for his well-knownness” speaks on political matters in which they are not thoroughlyinformed they “portray the image of a qualified politician but lack the actual skills to be a competent politician in any traditional sense.” This pseudo-politician can cause incorrect, or biased information to corrupt the minds of the public.
The purpose of journalism is to find, organize and report political and social facts to the public.
The purpose of the entertainment industry is to, well, entertain. When the two are sewn together, it is hard to unravel the facts from the feelings.
As the years press on, more celebrities continue to intertwine their political agendas with their entertainment career and Americans are beginning to lose interest. According to a 1,000 voter survey by L. Brent Bozell and Tim Graham of Investors Business Daily, nearly 75 percent of voters are attempting to escape the polarizing political state when they watch televised sports or other entertainment mediums.
With entertainment needs failing to be met, big corporations such as the NFL are experiencing significant drop in viewer ratings.
Televised sports are not the only entertainment department losing viewers because of increased political involvement. Noah Peterson of the Washington Examiner reveals that in 2017 the 69th annual Emmy awards “just narrowly escaped being the least-watched Emmys on record” due to the excessive amount of negative political comments toward our nation’s leadership.
Will the backlash and ratings decline cause a decrease in celebrity political commentary? We will have to wait and see.
The responsibility of our Hollywood royalty is to entertain, not advise. We look to construction workers to build our homes and we turn to our doctor for medical advice, so why do so many Americans draw their political views from entertainers?
The aims of a politician are extremely similar to the goals of the typical Oscar nominee. Politicians and celebrities create their own persona in order to appeal to viewers or voters emotions and interests. While their approaches are akin, the product delivered is drastically different.
Our society is information driven, but where we find information can make a big difference between fact and fallacy.
In an article in the Independent, actor Mark Wahlberg shares his perspective. Making his way up from the streets of Boston to the red carpet of Hollywood, Wahlberg has some insight into the lives of struggling Americans. Whalberg emphasized that his contemporaries “live in a bubble,” and that they do not understand what the common American life entails.
Stepping down from their golden platform into real-life America is not typical of celebrities. If they do not live like us, how can they speak on the policies and laws that directly impact our demographic?
While agreeing with Miley Cyrus on issues like immigration might make us feel closer to her, she
does not live with the same lifestyle as we do. Like us, her opinion is influenced by personal experience; however, her personal experience is nowhere near the same as middle class Americans.
We do not need the opinions of the stars shaping the world of politics. What we need is the world of politics and journalism informing us with facts so we can form our own conclusions.
Good journalism presents the public with objective facts. Celebrities entertain. If a celebrity is voicing their opinion tailored to appeal to a certain demographic, they are not accurately informing the masses on political issues, they are performing.
Sifting through opinions to find facts is necessary in today’s media. Opinions can be made up, but facts are concrete. It is time to understand the difference.
We the people have the freedom to vote for leaders and laws that we believe will benefit our country as a whole. If we pull our facts from the royalty of society, how will it translate to us common folk?
In a time of immense political polarization, celebrities only facilitate the divide by advocating one side based on personal opinion. Political informing should simply be left to the professionals in the field.