Sunday, September 28, 2008

On Soft Power vs. Hard Power

Although I have two blogs, I sometimes have a hard time deciding where a particular essay fits, because they meld both traditional pop culture topics but usually dissect the media or another area of American culture. Sometimes the line is blurry, like what I recently wrote about teen sex. James Poniewozik's "Tuned In" column in Time this week is the perfect example of how the soft media, the celebrity media, "women's" media, are really having an impact on the presidential election:

When The View gives an increasingly press-shy candidate his toughest interview in a while, when it and David Letterman prod the scars of the Democratic primary in interviews with Clinton, when pundits debate the fairness of Us Weekly covers and when Saturday Night Live crystallizes the discussion of sexism and vice-presidential choices, what's so soft about them?
I've long suspected that many people pay more attention to soft media, because it's easily digestible in a way that traditional hard news isn't, and permeates the national consciousness in a way that is palatable to people who don't care for "real" news. This campaign is giving those who reside in the soft news section of the media to shine.


John said...

What, no mention of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report, the most successful blends of "soft" and "hard" power in the entertainment industry today? How many people rely on them as their sole television news source? They certainly are digestible in a way that the news isn't. Plus, they have the thing that so many pundits desperately need: a sense of humor and the ability to laugh at themselves.

MediaMaven said...

I think The Daily Show and Colbert weren't mentioned because they are political. The View, for example, doesn't specifically discuss politics, whereas those are explicitly about politics and current events.