Why do some in the media and entertainment industry think they are in a position to tell young voters what to think and how to vote?
An individual’s politics result from values, beliefs, education, and personal experience. Many young potential voters are not well-educated on politics or the important issues plaguing our nation and are easily swayed. In an effort to advance their own cause, the media and the entertainment industry are abusing their influence over these undecided and uninformed voters, creating an atmosphere that is becoming the antithesis of the democratic process.
On a recent MTV2 special, Adam Yauch of the Beastie Boys flat out said to the crowd “Don’t vote for George Bush, man.” Why does he expect people to listen to his unsupported, poorly stated comments? Because he has money and power? While I support the First Amendment and acknowledge the right of an artist to speak their mind (I also back the fight for the right to party for that matter), telling your audience what to believe and who to vote for is both egotistical and irresponsible. Those in the spotlight could do much more to facilitate the involvement of young adults in politics by drawing attention to the issues and urging them to register to vote.
A recent full-page print ad for Punkvoter.com was effective by listing how the candidates feel about important issues like gun-control, gay rights and marriage, abortion, and foreign policy. However, at the bottom of the page it added “Brought to you by…” followed by a list of almost the entire Warped Tour lineup from the last four years or so. Because it is so important to take those bands that brought you a Don Henley cover song and a plethora of songs about masturbation and high school seriously. The Punkvoter website, which displays a picture of the President with the word “veto” stamped across his forehead, shows an obvious and unapologetic Democratic bias. So much for letting voters think for themselves…
Then there’s the news media’s extensive coverage of Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11, a movie that even Moore admits is half fact, half opinion. At the time of the movie’s release, the press bombarded the public with reviews, interviews, discussions, and other forms of subliminal advertising. Would it have had as much coverage if it had been a pro-Bush film? Probably not, even though it would be just as controversial and no doubt as propagandistic. The media had an agenda to manipulate the public and sway votes to the left, and they achieved this by shoving an only somewhat credible documentary down the throats of millions and calling it truth.
And now I’m choking. As a barely legal voter myself, I’ve had enough of partisan politics, conspiracy theories, and celebrities assuming that because I am young, I am an uneducated lemming who will nod along and numbly follow their lead. I don’t care which candidate a B-list celebrity supports. I am not going to listen to any more political ranting from rockers who did not graduate from high school, and if I see Michael Moore on the news again, I may just throw up a little in my mouth. If I see one more American Idol runner-up turn to the camera and talk about the importance of voting in these “uncertain times,” I may just snap and do something crazy … like vote for Ralph Nader. If you’re eligible to vote this November, think about your values and what you expect from the President of the United States. Go to both candidates’ websites and see which mirrors yourstance on the issues. And when you vote on Election Day, make sure you can explain whyyou voted that way.