, Research Paper
In today?s society the media usually dictates the way that we view public
figures. These figures include anyone who is in the public eye whether it
between musicians, actors, athletes or politicians. Politicians spend much of
their time in the spotlight due to the fact that their public exposure, or
over-exposure, is usually what is responsible for their current position in the
Tabloids are part of our American popular culture. Whether we are on line at
the supermarket, in a pharmacy, or department store, these outrageous scandals,
which are uncovered by the press everyday, are staring us in the face. These
papers make their profits by publishing the stories which are not fit to print
in the accredited papers as well as the gossip which is not yet confirmed.
The political world is very much affected by this form of press. If someone
had a choice of a story which highlighted Clintons foreign policy or a story
which outlined the Presidents sexual escapades, which one do you think that they
would choose? We all know that scandals draw a lot more attention than almost
any form of media by playing on the public appetite for controversy.
There are three major tabloids in print which are widely read, the Star, the
National Enquirer and Weekly World News. All three of these magazines have
featured stories that represent the president in a questionable light and put
pressure on him for answers to many accused scandals.
Over the years the tabloids have brought out the worst part of American
politics. They have shown the side of politicians that you are not supposed to
see, the skeletons that they hide in their closets. These ?scandal sheets?
have uncovered things that the public would have never found out. On the other
hand, if you catch them on an off day, they might actually print emotional
stories which show a good perspective on the politician.
However, most of the stories that are run within the tabloids happen to be
stories of deceit that happen to show how that public official is a liar or a
cheat. One of the most popular tabloid stories in the past couple of years is
about Monica Lewinsky, who had an affair with our President, within the oval
office. All in all this was a big blow to the president seeing that he was under
scrutiny with the American public for quite sometime. However, the media did not
tarnish the image of Ms. Lewinsky to badly: she is making more money now than
she was as a White House intern. In the September 26, 2000 issue of the National
Enquirer, Monica speaks out concerning the whole situation as well as revealing
that she will be hosting her own shown on a British television station named ?Post
Cards with Monica?.
An article appeared in the November 16, 1998, edition of The Polling Report.
The article, which was written by Richard A. Brody, featured important data that
shows the affects that the tabloids do have on the political scheme. Brody
reported that the September 13, 1998 Washington Post/ABC News Poll found that
77% of the public rejected the notion that the President had "high personal
and ethical standards.? This is one way to look at the whole situation. Yes,
indeed the whole Clinton scandal did have a large affect on the way that the
American public viewed Clintons morals, but Brody found something even more
interesting. In another Washington Post/ABC poll found that after the scandal
the percentage of people who thought that President Clinton looked out for and
understood their problems raised from 54.9% to 58.9%. So in fact the scandal did
not really have that much of an affect on people thoughts on his leadership
Although, not all of the stories within the tabloids are damaging towards the
president. Hillary Clinton, the president?s wife, has also been a popular
topic in the tabloids. In the October 16, 2000 edition of the National Enquirer,
Hillary is quoted bad mouthing the Vice-President wife, Tipper Gore. She was
quoted to say that Tipper was a ?moron? and that she is ?intellectually
inferior?. Tipper has nothing good to say about Mrs. Clinton as well. The most
popular subject with Mrs. Gore would of course be President Clinton?s numerous
sexual infidelities as well as the accusations of affairs by Mrs. Clinton.
Mrs. Clinton has had to deal with a lot of ridicule from the media when it
comes to her husband. Along with the public bad-mouthing from Tipper, Kathie Lee
Gifford put her thoughts in when it came to the president?s escapades. But,
she did not say what you think she did. She gave Mrs. Clinton nothing but
support in these trash sheets. In the October 26, 2000 edition of the National
Enquirer, Gifford states, ?(Hillary) dealt with it the right way — privately.
Her own way.? This is what you do not often see in many tabloids, positive
reinforcement for politicians and their spouses. Not only are the actual
politicians and their spouses put under public scrutiny by these papers, but
their children are placed in the spotlight as well. Gore?s daughter was
ridiculed in the September 9, 2000 issue of the National Enquirer for her wild
past while in high school and college. Former classmates at National Cathedral
School in Washington, D.C., recalled how Karenna was often at the center of
pot-smoking and drinking gatherings. Seeing the ridicule that these articles
posted about Ms. Gore it seemed out of line that in the paragraphs to follow
they praise her decision to get married to a successful doctor as well as her
knack for the political world.
In the American Journal Review for the week of November 28, 2000 the tabloids
were torn apart by one of the staff writers, Darcie Lunsford. She noted their
negative affect on the way that the American public looks at politics. Ms.
Lunsford is not the only writer who would note the affects that tabloids have on
the American publics view of political office. Howard Kurtz, a staff writer for
the Washington Post, also wrote of his disapproval of the ways that tabloids
seem to portray politicians. His article outlined how politicians try to keep in
line so that the tabloids will not rip them apart on a public stage.
Seeing that people usually vote on name recognition, the tabloids have a
large affect as part of the media. Most people, while standing in line, will
draw their own conclusions solely based on the headlines. To understand the full
affect that tabloids have on public opinion, we must first understand the
affects that media truly has on America. America is controlled mainly by the
media and our opinions. Our viewpoints are more likely parallel to the opinions
of the media than anything else. Media plays a very important part in our
society. Since the majority of the American people don’t fully research issues,
they rely heavily on the media to bring them the story, however different
sources of media are important if one wants to excel and become knowledgeable on
critical issues. It is the media that controls the nation, it is the media that
selects the agenda, it is the media that helps to educate, inform, and
It can safely be said that politics is a type of a theatrical performance. In
our modern world winning an election is based on image and performer, the best
performer usually wins. Some people are not interested in news and politics
because they have difficulty watching and understanding this political movie.
The political movie takes place within the media, on television, the radio and
Media’s job is to inform. We are not against the tabloids quest for profit,
but it is our opinion that when the media, the informer, promotes untrue stories
to catch ratings, it can be seen as dishonest. What is the point of having a
teacher who is interested in making money and forgetting about the most
important thing, which is to educate the children? In a nation that is so
dependent on the media, it must be their duty to properly supply us with correct
information. We are not alone on this argument. The restriction of such tabloid
press is exemplified in various countries.
For example thousands of stores across Canada have pulled copies of The
Enquirer off their shelves after uncouth stories were published of Princess
Diana?s elicit love affairs so soon after her death. Going one step further,
in Iran there was a temporary ban placed on six of the countries major tabloids.
These examples have shown that the undignified press found in such tabloids will
not be tolerated in other countries, proving that many people feel the negative
affects such magazines have on public opinion.
In conclusion, the effects that tabloids have on the American public are
those which prove to be very hazardous, especially in the political scheme of
today. It is the position of the print media, and media as a whole, to mirror
the images of society as well as the actions of our political leaders (whether
private or public). When filling its public duty to inform the individual,
tabloids often overstep their bounds by deceitfully providing false information
playing on the tacit position of many Americans. Papers, such as The Enquirer,
have a negative affect on public opinion by frequently filling their articles
with falsities, smut, and scandal ? tarnishing the reputation of many of our