Posted by: jbunn | July 5, 2009

The Oprah Effect – Julia Bunning

I found “the Oprah Effect” an interesting read because I recently voted in a presidential election as a “low political awareness” person.  The majority of the information I got about the candidates came from soft news programs.  While I feel that my personal voting choice was within my best interest, I was initially surprised that the less informed voters generally ended up voting for the “correct” candidate by following soft news.  I agree with the point that soft news is better than no news, but I think that hard news is the best when considering a presidential election.

One point that I found concerning was that people with low political awareness were not very effected by the hard news they did watch.  I think that hard news should help a person gain more awareness on a topic regardless of the readers/listeners prior knowledge.  While a well informed person may understand certain stories better, the less informed person should still be able to draw similar conclusions.

Presidential elections are very important in determining the future of our country.  I believe that it should be a high priority to ensure that all citizens have access to the facts in a way that they can understand and relate to. While many less informed people may be complacent with following only soft news, there are many less-informed people who may enjoy hard news more if it were more understandable to them.


  1. These are interesting points to consider. However, I think more in-depth and more understandable information is easily accessible through the internet. Hard news does not seem to interest people anymore though. There used to be a more distinct line separating hard news and soft news. As the media has expanded, politics and even crime have become more entertainment than fact. Ratings have driven TV to where it is and it seems likely that major networks have figured out exactly what brings in the most viewers, and consequently the most sponsors. People are more concerned with Palin’s attire than with her political stance. I said in class, and in other words you say it here, that it is pretty simple to choose a presidential candidate, as Republicans and Democrats have distinct political beliefs. Even with little to no previous knowledge, an individual can align with a party based on a small consumption of soft news. This lack of knowledge is unfortunately apparent in lower forms of government. Every 2 years it seems Congress loses more and more politicians. These are the same politicians meant to be extremely knowledgeable so they can represent their constituents in Washington. People tend to vote based on name recognition rather than politics at this level of government. A more politically focused form of hard news, as you suggest, would help with this problem significantly by informing people about the wide spectrum that is American politics. This would be great for America, but would anyone really watch, and would a network give up a prime time spot to experiment with it?

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