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26 January 2014

Listen to the political, not the popular

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Our culture vilifies celebrities, and yet turns to them for advice, even on political and global issues. But these public figures are not experts, and comments can lead to the spread of misinformation.

In a recent CNN interview, former NBA star Dennis Rodman drunkenly made inappropriate remarks about an American captive in North Korea.  He may be one of the greatest rebounders of all time, but Rodman’s erratic behavior when addressing missionary Kenneth Bae, who is detained for anti-state crimes, illustrates one thing: Looking to celebrities for political advice can cause confusion.

These figures are obligated to be careful about what they say when the media can inform or misinform millions in a matter of seconds. Rodman’s basketball skills give him no right to propagandize others’ views about a country where millions have died of starvation and leaders use nuclear weapons as an impending threat.

It is also not appropriate for other celebrities to speak out about politics. Their high status in society means they can influence public opinion, but, their views do not equal those of political correspondents or the average American.

Rodman has referred to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un as a good friend. And after the CNN incident, Rodman admitted he had been drinking before the interview. An individual who is inebriated during an interview is not a role model. Why we want the sloppy Lindsay’s and adulterous Tiger’s of the world to influence public opinion is beyond comprehension. However, Rodman and the like are not solely to blame. Politics can be confusing as is, and the public’s responsibility is to take their views with a grain of salt.

Rodman said it best himself: “I’m not the president. I’m not an ambassador. I’m Dennis Rodman.”

Despite fiery debate between well-versed political correspondents, their educated and researched viewpoints are always preferable when it comes to shaping our opinions.

 

Alyssa Jacobson is a junior majoring in advertising and political science.