Are celebrity endorsements encouraging or dissuading?

By on October 29, 2008

Blake Lively and Penn Badgley (Serena and Dan from “Gossip Girl”) recently appeared in a PSA sponsored by and posted on Lively and Badgley are joined by other young people, all openly urging you to vote for Barack Obama. The commercial mocks the “talk to your kids about drugs” ads and encourages teens to talk to their parents about voting McCain.

“Voting Republican, even once, can have disastrous effects that last for years,” one girl said to the camera. Lively offers to come pick you up and rescue you if you suddenly have the ridiculous notion to vote for John McCain.

Well, thanks, Blake and Penn, but I think I can vote without your help.
I don’t think I’m the only one who is getting sick of the endless parade of celebrities urging you to vote for one candidate or another. Yes, fame gives them the ability to voice their opinions on the national stage, but they aren’t exactly qualified; skillfully portraying a hard-partying socialite does not equal political savvy.

I’m not opposed to celebrities urging people to vote. It’s embarrassing how few young people vote (especially on this apathetic campus), and if it takes actors, musicians and comedians to get us to the polls, that’s great.

What I’m opposed to is those actors and celebrities using their fame to influence voters and promote their candidate. Not only is it irresponsible, it’s just plain annoying.

It can also do more harm than good. In 2004, celebrity after celebrity came out to throw their support behind John Kerry – and we all remember how that turned out.
Rather than encouraging voters to agree with their choice, celebrities could actually be turning voters off. And that is just as bad as voting for a candidate because your favorite celebrity tells you to.

This is perhaps the most important presidential election we’ve had in years, and we can’t leave it in the hands of superficial stars who fancy themselves as politicians.


About Elizabeth Johnston