Sarah Palin’s Fancy Pagaent Walking

It may be a sad world when individuals tune in to parody instead of a legitimate news program or paper to find out about the world events.

Unfortunately, as media profits grow, news quality dwindles. As Internet technologies expand, the lines between opinion and objectivity blur. The final result is a parody news program serving as the only train stop on thousands of viewers’ nightly television tour of the “news.” The news has become cheaper and easier to access but somehow younger generations are growing more despondent by the minute.

I suppose this might not be an actual problem if a free press was not foundational to democracy. Objective and informative press is essential in any democracy so citizens can cast a meaningful ballot that accurately represents their feelings. However, when the news broadcasts opposing opinions screaming at deafening levels with hardly any attention payed to objective facts, the greater population doesn’t know how to make a decision. Of course, unless someone tells them what choice to pick.

As a result, a majority of young viewers avoid the news, and in turn, avoid voting. 18 to 30 year olds are notoriously low turn-out voters. According to, only about 52 percent of people under age 30 voted in the 2008 presidential election, which was actually an even larger turnout than usual.

Truthfully, young voters simply don’t care about elections, politics or anything in the news. It takes a lot to grab their attention, and even a flashy and exciting 2008 presidential election could not motivate 48 percent of this population.

Yet almost everyone knows about Tina Fey’s Saturday Night Live spot-on impersonations of Sarah Palin,
Oh, and just if you need a refresher:


Millions of voters, particularly young ones, saw this epically hilarious parody.
Obama had many advantages heading into the 2008 presidential election, but it’s impossible to not see the huge effect Tina Fey’s impressions had on Palin’s reputation. Her political career is stained with the infamous lines and fake quotes that SNL let pour from Tina Fey’s mouth.

Palin felt the biggest blow back from the youth vote, whose stomachs still ache from laughing so hard. The one thing Ms. Fey has truly taught us is that there is immense political power in humor. The challenge rests in the possibility of actually using parody to mobilize voters.

It may sound crazy, but I think that an effective way to mobilize young voters with humor does exist. A candidate should make a humorous ad, either parodying one of their own or another from the same race. Make an appearance on a comedy show (SNL, The Soup, The Daily Show, etc.) and really laugh at yourself. Follow it up with some carefully placed blogs, facebook pages and social networking.

This is just a rough outline, but I think something bold and different would sit well with young audiences. Political candidates take themselves too seriously, often for good reason. Unfortunately, this does nothing for young voters. When carefully done, something tailored to a precise target audience can really work.
Even in something as serious as politics.



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