Essay about Celebrity Activists in Contemporary Society

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Celebrity Activists in Contemporary Society Works Cited Not Included According to the book Celebrity Politics, approximately 10 percent of Americans get national political news from nightly entertainment shows such as the Tonight Show. For Americans under 30, the number is nearly five times as many (Orman and West 100). Citizens are looking to be entertained rather than simply educated by the nightly news. As David Schultz aptly put it, “ The new media cover politics, but only politics as it entertains, in part, because the audience the new media attract is a less politically interested audience than traditional news audiences” (20). The fact is that this American audience is less interested in hard news and more interested in…show more content…
The most notable case of a politician using celebrity endorsers is that of former President Ronald Reagan, a former B-list actor himself. Some of his supporters in 1980 included James Cagney, Zsa Zsa Gabor, and Hoagy Carmichael (West and Orman 38). The growing connection between politics and Hollywood has happened for a number of reasons, in a somewhat cyclical fashion. Politicians need Hollywood stars to support their campaigns because celebrities are useful in fundraising attempts and recognition. They have the advantages of fame, wealth, and can easily command press attention. In return, celebrities endorse candidates whose policies are beneficial to their industry. For example, while Clinton was in office he argued for “industry self-regulation and a television rating system, as opposed to formal government regulation” (Ormand and West 38). For this and other reasons, Hollywood stars donated large sums of money to Democratic candidates in return. In 2000, Hollywood contributed $20 million to Democrats as opposed to the $13 million that was contributed to the less Hollywood-friendly Republican party (Ormand and West 40). This is the new “celebritized” (Combs 123) political culture in which advocacy organizations must function. Because the media is so inundated with celebrity
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