Walt Disney once said, “Movies can and do have tremendous influence in shaping young lives in the realm of entertainment towards the ideals and objectives of normal adulthood.” Disney’s argument displays that the media makes a huge impact on the decisions of young people. The media has never had such an influence on people’s perspectives and decisions as it does today. In this day and age, this new media is everywhere: on the internet, television, the radio and anything else that is electronic. In the past, the media was not as advanced; it influenced Americans’ presidential choices less than it does today. The new media makes an impact on whom to vote for. Now that most Americans get their political news through the media, they are subjects to biased information. One form of this new media is the website, College Humor.
College Humor has made a grand impact on so many people’s choices, especially choices concerning politics. On College Humor there are many political videos, articles, and visuals that influence many Americans’ presidential and political party choices. College Humor’s website is always up to date with the latest news, making it an accurate source for political information. It even has a timeline to display when specific political events take place. In addition, this website is also a show featured on MTV which helps to broaden its audience.
College Humor’s audience is mainly college students. College students are usually new voters, therefore they are usually new to politics. In addition, many of these students have yet to decide which political party they would like to support. College Humor’s Youtube page alone has three million subscribers and has over one billion video views. Thus, over three million people’s views on politics are being altered. College Humor displays the Democratic Party as extremely liberal and the Republican Party as extremely conservative. There is no “in the middle party” or Independent Party. This website’s use of the rhetorical device humor persuades its audience to vote for either Barack Obama or Mitt Romney because it allows you to see the views of the Democratic Party and the Republican Party in their most extreme form.
On College Humor, some of the articles, pictures, and videos mock Obama and the policies that he is supporting. One video featured on College Humor is 6-Year Old Gives 10 Reasons NOT to Vote for Obama. In this video, a young child is directed to state ten reasons why Obama is not the right candidate for president. These ten points let the audience know both about Obama’s character and what he would like to accomplish if he wins this election. The video is biased because it is from a Republican’s perspective and only displays the negative aspects of Obama’s policies. The fact that a child was used to display these reasons is a way to appeal to the audience. Most people would pay more attention if a child is speaking rather than an adult. In addition, the child’s diction is sophisticated.
Thus, the child is able to establish reasons not to vote for Obama accurately and gain more awareness because of his age. The comments on the video are both negative and positive. The Republicans reacted by stating that the child is “smart for going against Obama,” that “he is more sophisticated than most Democrats,” that “there is nothing wrong with indoctrination,” and that “this is the best video of the year.” However, the Democrats were offended by this video. They stated that “using a kid for this is shameful,” that they would “vote for Obama for all those reasons,” and that “making your kid say s*** he doesn’t understand is pretty f***** up.”
The point that the parents are trying to make by using their son is interpreted differently by members of both parties. It persuades people who have not decided whether or not they are Democratic or Republican because it allows you to get a specific perspective on the Republican party. Many young people who agree with the video might consider becoming a Republican and many who do not agree might consider becoming a Democrat. In addition to videos, articles, and visuals that mock Obama, there are videos, articles, and visuals that mock Romney.
College Humor created a video called Mitt Romney Style. Throughout this video, an actor playing Mitt Romney dances and sings about his views and characteristics as a Republican candidate for the 2012 election. This video mocks Romney’s reputation as a rich man who believes that society should be ran by an elite. It displays how Romney lives a sumptuous life. Romney is portrayed as extremely rich in the lines “I’ve got a private jet that flies me way up in the air” and “I bought a mansion for each of my two million heirs, straight up millionaire.” In addition, Romney’s comment that forty-seven percent of Americans believe that they are “victims” and that they will vote for president Obama “no matter what” is referenced in the part when Romney laughs at the forty-seven percent sign on the waiter’s back. Both parties reacted differently to this parody. The Democrats thought the video was hysterical.
They commented saying that Romney should actually sing this song because then they would “definitely vote for him.” Other Democrats made comments saying that this is the reason Obama is the better candidate. Many Republicans thought this was a harmless video that was meant for a good laugh and that’s all. Other Republicans found the video to be very offensive. One Republican actually commented and said, “these cheesy/immature videos and others like it have and will influence how voters (especially young ones), decide who to vote for.” Another Republican stated, “these dumb and false videos are why I weep for the USA’s future.” People watching the video are being persuaded to vote against Romney. Romney is made to look incompetent.
The audience visualizes Romney as someone who loves women, is really rich, and is absurd. While the video I discussed about the six year old mocks Obama and Mitt Romney Style mocks Romney, there are also videos on College Humor that mock both Romney and Obama. A video featured on College Humor called Epic Rap Battle: Mitt Romney vs. Barack Obama ridicules Obama and Romney and changes the view of many voters. In this video, two actors imitate Obama and Romney.
The two actors have a debate while rapping. By the end, the audience is asked to choose who won and the viewers comment with their opinions. The Republicans commented, “Romney!!!” while the Democrats commented, “Obama!!!” One comment said “Oh s***! This changes everything.” This displays that this video alone changes the views of voters. Viewers who do not know who they are voting for are receiving false information. Therefore, they might vote for a candidate they THINK suits them but might actually be the complete opposite. Along with videos and pictures, there are also surveys and quizzes on College Humor that persuade voters.
On College Humor, there is a quiz called Political Party Picker. This quiz tells the person taking it which political party he or she belongs to. The questions only give two answer choices and both choices are extremely conflicting. For example, on of the questions states “If Mitt Romney is elected president, you will…?” The Democratic answer is “Cry! Panic! Flee the country and never return!” The Republican answer is “Party like crazy and celebrate getting your country back.” There is no answer that is placed in the middle, which means there is no Independent Party choice. In addition, at the end of the quiz you can only be a Republican or a Democrat.
If the person chooses both Democratic and Republican answers, the quiz says that he or she is new to politics and chooses a political party that he or she belongs to. A person who does not know which political party he or she fit into might take this quiz in hopes for an accurate response. However, because there are very few questions with opposing answer choices and no Independent Party, the quiz is not realistic at all. A person who does not know much about politics such as a college student might take this quiz literally and think that he or she is apart of whatever party he or she received. He or she might only vote for that party’s candidate. This alters the person’s entire view on politics. This displays that media alone can persuade a person’s perspective.
Any kind of media can persuade a voter’s perspective. College Humor uses videos, visuals, music, articles, and even quizzes to do so. The variety of types of media College Humor uses makes its argument potent and cogent. College Humor’s au courant information creates a reliable appearance for the website, which allows many people to believe what it has to say. Many college students, and other young people, are naive and therefore trust websites similar to College Humor. They confide in what the media says because they presume it is genuine.
The media is a powerful tool of persuasion because so many people use it as their only source of information. It can change views as well as formulate new views, especially political ones. The media has a massive impact in persuading voters and “tremendous influence in shaping young lives.”
Courtney from Study Moose
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