Society relies on the media to communicate new information and events happening all around the world. But what about daytime television talk shows like The View, The Talk, or Ellen? These talk shows produce viral videos, interview prominent figures in society, and reach millions of viewers a week. Not only do these shows talk about what is happening in pop culture, they breach important topics dealing with politics, women’s rights, climate change and several forms of humanitarianism.
This election cycle, they stayed active in discussing politics and brought on many key figures in this election. So what influence do they have on society and this election?
These shows reach a different demographic than that of CNN, Fox News, and other similar news networks and shows. According to the Pew Research Center, most daily talk shows reach mostly women of all ages with a range of political views and ideologies. But these shows tend to be consumed most heavily by people with little-to-no knowledge of current events, an income of $30,000 or less, and an education level of high school or less.
This demographic is widely different from that of traditional news outlets and appeals to an audience that is not necessarily interested in hearing about politics and current events for a full hour or two. Daytime television helps to break up serious conversations about the world into sections – infusing comedy and less serious topics into their programming. A discussion about presidential candidates is going to be different when coming from Kelly Ripa or Whoopi Goldberg than coming from Anderson Cooper or Megyn Kelly.
Talk shows appease a separate audience, but still have a lasting impact on the opinions of the American public. People like Ellen Degeneres and Oprah have broken glass ceilings in the media fields and have become hugely influential public figures. An endorsement from Ellen or Oprah can make a huge difference in a person’s life. Being on Oprah’s Book Club List can profoundly increase the success of that book, just like being featured on The Ellen Show can open doors for average Americans. When a suggestion to watch, read, or listen to something is made by either one of these women America does it.
So what happens when people with this level of influence discuss politics and current events?
Both Oprah and Ellen endorsed Hillary Clinton during the election and their messages reached thousands of people. These statements went viral and were published in several different publications both in entertainment news and traditional news outlets such as People, USA Today and CNN. Ellen’s election reaction and message of hope has gone viral and brought faith to millions of people.
The span of these two women’s reach is expansive and statements that they make reach places that traditional news outlets cannot. Their messages are pointed and laced with their personal opinions. They have the viewership and the ability to swing public opinion for many and have done so for many years. They highlight social justice issues in the United States and around the world. Their opinions, interviews that they conduct and people or products they promote are more likely to be seen or heard.
There are many other talk shows that wield influence over society. Shows like The View and The Talk have a group of mostly well-known women discussing current events (both political and in entertainment) and these women’s opinions help to shape the opinions of many viewers. These show hosts have a following on their own and often present information in a new light. Their conversations tend to be light-hearted and riddled with jokes as opposed to regular news coverage which is either straight reporting or a discussion between a few people.
In addition to the more relaxed setting that these shows have, they also have a star power. The hosts themselves tend to be well known people in either the entertainment, music or sports industry. The View has a star studded line up of Whoopi Goldberg, Joy Behar, Raven-Simone and Candace Cameron-Bure and bring in well-known guest in both entertainment and politics. Even President Obama sat down with the women in 2010.
On Election Day, The View hosted Ana Navarro, a political commentator for CNN, Telemundo and others, to discuss politics and the election. These shows bring information to the public eye in a lighter fashion and help to reach demographics and people that may have been missed by traditional news outlets. By discussing these topics, people get a fresh perspective and the opportunity to hear about issues that they otherwise may not have.
The people of daytime television are revered public figures and their opinions and statements are taken at face value. Their programming reaches millions of people and many of those viewers are not frequent watchers of traditional news outlets. Their opinions influence millions, and with their election coverage, they brought the issues of the 2016 election cycle to the eyes of millions in several different demographics, ultimately encouraging more Americans to be politically involved.