The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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Are you related to Obama or Hillary?

It seems the current race to the White House has turned into another way to add the element of celebrity to public officials. Instead of utilizing investigative efforts on issues such as the war, news outlets are reporting on the genealogical connections between presidential candidates and celebrities.

Whether people actually care about the genetic connections between their future presidents and the celebrities that grace the cover of magazines is not the main question at hand. What is alarming is why a reputable news outlet would exhaust a reporter’s hours to uncover the hidden connection between a politician and an Academy Award winner.

The Associated Press released an article on March 25 uncovering the family ties between the three leading presidential candidates and celebrities.

I was at work when a colleague of mine blurted out that Sen. Barack Obama is the distant cousin of Brad Pitt. I stopped the conversation I was having and diverted my attention to the weird connection I had just heard. I asked my colleague where he read that information and when he said from AP, I almost lost my balance.

He printed out the article so I could read it with my own eyes. The words “Celebrity Link” were staring back at me from the headline. I froze. Celebrity link? Are you kidding me? Has the obsession with celebrity actually gotten to AP as well?

Seeing as how we live in a society where we are constantly bombarded by headlines about the latest Britney debacle and the next Hollywood couple to call it quits, a headline by AP about a link between Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Angelina Jolie may have been inevitable.

A society’s never ending need for all things celebrity should not be a driving force for AP, or any another news outlet, to succumb to writing a story about the genetic link between a country’s politicians and Hollywood’s most beautiful couple.

By giving this story attention, as opposed to an issue that affects the American people, a connotation is attached that this subject is newsworthy.

Others may argue AP’s motive for writing this story was solely based on the fact that society is so incredibly warped by the lives of Hollywood’s elite that they felt the need to bring in the celebrity factor into the presidential election.

The validity of this stance needs to be questioned. Every piece of information published is intended to serve a purpose, a benefit you’d say. An article published by The New York Times exposing a scandal in our nation’s capital serves the purpose to bring to light the corruption a vast majority of the American people do not see. What purpose does uncovering the ancestral lineage of a presidential candidate serve for AP readers? Absolutely nothing.

The only benefit one could derive from an article such as this is a means to increase voters and numbers in popularity polls. Possibly if a die-hard Jolie fan were to read the AP article and see she’s related to Clinton, it may be a driving force for them to support Clinton. On the other hand, I don’t see how Clinton supporters that are on Team Aniston would like to read that their candidate is a distant cousin of Jolie.

It may be that the expectation for the quality of journalism AP conducts is higher than that of the numerous weekly entertainment magazines. If this story were published in one of the latter publications I would not doubt for a moment that the intentions for writing the article were those I previously stated.

The lives of celebrities have become the main topic of conversation around the water cooler thanks to weekly entertainment magazines. When a news outlet gives attention to a story that has no merit makes it just as, or more important, than issues such as the economy. In order to stop the celebrity disease from infesting every fiber of our society we must stop shedding the light on their mundane issues.

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