Monday, January 07, 2008

Public Scholarship, Celebrity Politics

My friend and colleague Becky Kuehl recently did a tv interview about celebrity endorsements in politics. You can watch it here. I'm posting this partly to brag about how cool my friends are, but also to add to the discussion I've been doing here about the primary. I think Becky is right that people are quick to dismiss endorsements by Oprah or Chuck Norris, but I think what they do is create novelty in a media environment where attention is at a premium. They give voters who are overwhelmed by the amount of information about candidates a way to remember one, and a suggestion for who to examine more closely. Although nobody would say "I'll vote for whoever Oprah says" the fact remains that most people are underinformed and apathetic. If a celebrity they trust endorses someone, perhaps it will motivate them to learn more.

Anyway, Becky said some smart stuff on tv. Way to go, Becky!

6 comments:

Rachel said...

Thanks for your comment!

And speaking of worship, I will see you in living color at the Worship Symposium! I'm volunteering so I get to go for free, and that makes it that much better. :)

the chickens' auntie said...

I'm not sure I agree. Unfortunately, I know people who read what Oprah reads, eat what she eats and will vote for the candidate of her choice. Which is exactly the reason why I never encourage those who haven't bothered to register to vote to go do so.

Julie said...

I can see your point. I'd never want someone to just vote because a celebrity endorsed so and so, but as the previous comment stated I am sure that happens. Although I have to be honest...I was a fan of Obama before Oprah endorsed him, so I was glad of the attention that her endorsement brought.

Bob K said...

If celebrity endorsements didn't work companies wouldn't spend so much money to get athletes to endorse their products. It just makes sense that it has at least some impact.

And yes, Becky did a good job!

bethany said...

Auntie - I think we all agree that it makes a difference, and now you're wondering if it is good for democracy. Like Julie, the Oprah endorsement pleases me, because I want Obama to get a lot of attention. I don't think using celeb endorsements to guide one's vote is any better or worse than voting on party lines or by who is more attractive, and that has been going on at least since the dawn of tv.

Rick said...

Unfortunately there are lots of people who'll vote for whoever Oprah or Chuck says. But I think you're right that at least it gives a candidate something to hook onto in the mind of the casual voter.