Leonard: Clickbait for political incentive is getting ridiculous

While it is clear that most large news organizations these days are pushing some sort of political agenda, comparing what an actress does in a paid movie role to their real-life activism is comical and ridiculous.



Jamie Lee Curtis holds an ax during a scene from her film “Halloween: H20.”

Braxton Leonard, Opinion Columnist

Recently, Fox News posted a story titled “Jamie Lee Curtis wields firearms in new Halloween movie despite advocating for gun control.” The story was bombarded with reactions, mostly from those who saw it for what it was: cheap clickbait.

Aside from the clear lack of legitimacy in the title and the article’s subsequent claims, it’s just another example of the use of weak journalistic tactics by a news platform to try to frame the opposing political stance as hypocritical.

At first glance, I assumed the article was written by The Onion. The headline alone seemed like such nonsense, that I was surprised to learn it was published by an organization with even a bit of merit.

While I think that choosing a headline such as this one, as well as writing such a silly story in the first place, is questionable, I think it speaks more to the fact that many of the main sources we look to for our news are now so engulfed in the mess that is American politics that new sources stop at nothing to try to attack the credibility of their opposition.

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While it is clear that most large news organizations these days are pushing some sort of political agenda, comparing what an actor does in a paid movie role to her real-life activism is comical and ridiculous. Opinion or not, nonsense such as this should never be taken seriously by readers, and I think that it says a lot about where many Americans’ focus is right now: on being “right” and attempting to make their political opposition look foolish as opposed to caring about actual issues that occur in our country.

If Curtis preached gun reform and advocated against guns but spent her free time hunting or at the gun range, there would be clear grounds for an accusation of hypocrisy. This isn’t the case she is an actor who, like many others, plays characters that might not always represent who she is as a real-life human being.

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Actors follow the script, they train for their roles, and they do what they are told to do, just as people do in any other job. In my career, I make decisions and take on roles based on various factors. For this reason, I don’t think that taking a role that features Curtis wielding guns takes any legitimacy away from her status as a gun-reform advocate. I think that if Curtis is going to take on roles like the one she has in the Halloween franchise, it is actually even more important for her to advocate for gun reform.

If everyone went by the logic of the author of the Fox News article, we would run into continual problems. It would be like accusing the actor who portrays Michael Myers in the Halloween films of advocating for mass murder. Such accusations just aren’t logical, and I would argue that there is little to no correlation between the things that people playing a role in a film do what they do in the real world, where there are real consequences for things. In the real world, there are people, not characters, who suffer from things like gun violence on a daily basis.

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