Leave it to Saturday Night Live to use the uncanny resemblance between Tina Fey and Sarah Palin to make targeted fun of the 2008 vice-presidential nominee. Indeed, Fey’s parodies of Palin succeeded in making her the laughing stock of the show each week. The SNL skits so negatively influenced voter perception of Palin that it became known as The Fey Effect. Viewers of SNL just never seemed to take the real Palin seriously after her unflattering exposure on SNL.
Could it be happening again? Is Hollywood trying to influence voter perceptions in the upcoming 2016 election? Why not? It worked once, it could again. This time Hollywood image makers have joined the camp of presumptive candidate Hillary Clinton. This time, instead of making Hillary the object of ridicule, Hollywood is out to boost her image as the next president of the United States and leader of the free world. Hollywood is once again using fiction to shape our reality.
Enter the new CBS television series, Madam Secretary. Tea Leoni, the leading character of this popular show, bares a striking resemblance to a younger Hillary Clinton. In Madam Secretary, Leoni plays a strong willed, independent Secretary of State who “drives international diplomacy, battles office politics and circumvents protocol as she negotiates global and domestic issues.”
Hillary played the part of a real life Secretary of State. The fictional Madam Secretary succeeds in sending a subliminal message to viewers which suggests if Hillary could run the State Department, she could be even better at running the White House. The fact is, we know so little of Hillary’s actual responsibilities as SOS that it’s difficult to assess her accomplishments apart from what’s in her own memoir. Instinctively however, we form a favorable opinion of Hillary’s competence largely because of the TV show.
But wait. It gets even deeper. Psychologists recognize another force that Hollywood may be counting on to boost Hillary’s image in the minds of the voting public. It’s a complex psychological phenomenon called transference.
Transference occurs when a person takes the perceptions and expectations of one person and projects these onto another person. They then interact with the other person as if the other person is that transferred pattern. — Changing Minds.org
Although transference can be interpreted in many ways, the simplest way to think of it is an unconscious redirection of feelings from one person to another. Hollywood has accomplished its goal if when we watch Tea Leoni as Madam Secretary, we see Hillary Clinton — that’s transference. And that image is enough to form a lasting impression that will work in Hillary’s favor in the 2016 campaign (should she run) and, ultimately, position her to win the White House.
Recent U.S. presidential elections have shown them to be less about the candidate’s qualifications, experience and leadership ability and more about image, which is often manufactured for a purpose. More often than we’d like to admit, American voters are drawn to the candidate with the most favorable Q score.
The Q Score is a measurement of the familiarity and appeal of a brand, company, celebrity, or television show used in the United States. The higher the Q Score, the more highly regarded the item or person is among the group that is familiar with them. Q Scores and other variants are primarily used by the media, marketing, advertising, and public relations industries.
Hollywood is no fool. The powers-that-be in Hollywood have spent millions and made billions anticipating the moods, behaviors and tendencies of their target audiences. Hollywood’s influence on what we see, buy, think, and even, how we vote is well documented. Perhaps the most revealing comment came from a Hollywood insider, producer Jeffrey Katzenberg. Katzenberg wrote in a recent email:
If Secretary Clinton makes the decision to run, I expect she’ll have near-unanimous support here. Hillary represents our best chance to win in 2016, build upon the successes of the Obama administration, and keep the country moving in the right direction.
Hillary, you may recall, ran for president in 2008. But she was not the chosen one back then, She opted instead to accept the Secretary of State position in her rival’s (Obama) administration. It’s true, politics makes strange bedfellows, which means, “People who would normally dislike and avoid one another will work together if they think it is politically useful to do so.” But this question remains for voters to ask:
What concessions did Hillary make and what promises did she give or get in exchange for her support of an Obama presidency ?
Bottom line, it’s the exclusive constitutional right of the American voter to elect the president of the United States. Even though past low voter turnout suggests this right is largely being taken for granted. The choice for president should be based on more substantive issues than image alone — no matter how much Hollywood tries to exert its influence. Look for Hollywood to turn up the heat as the 2016 campaign and the election draw near. If Hollywood picks our next president, it could result in another Tinseltown inspired presidency with an audience rating of unsuitable to watch.
But, take heed of the false prophets, who come unto you in sheep’s clothing, and inwardly are ravening wolves. Matthew 7:15