As part of my monday morning routine, I watch the View among other morning talk shows. A hot topic that they discussed was the reaction to Sarah Palin’s Alaska. The TLC show aired last night to 5 million viewers and the biggest premiere that the channel has ever had. And while sipping my cup of tea, this all made me think why are people watching this?
With the historical 2008 election over with, Palin was seen unfavourably to the general public. Her comments on certain policies, seeing Russia from her backyard and her expensive wardrobe put her in a difficult situation. So how did her reality TV show get so many viewers?
The idea behind the show is “the camera follows the former Alaska governor and Republican vice presidential nominee as she fishes, hunts, dog-sleds and rock-climbs. It’s a nature series for political voyeurs: viewers get to observe Ms. Palin observing nature.” says Alessandra Stanley of The New York Times.
So it is nothing out of the ordinary, but perhaps people are interested to see what Alaska is like since she has shown a strong connection to the state. Also, viewers are probably interested to see how ‘normal’ her life is, and how she deals in certain situations. There is a scene in the premiere episode where she is fishing and a bear approaches them. Her calmness in the situation shows that she knows how to react accordingly in somewhat stressful situations.
Others had excuses on why would a political personality have a reality show. “Some have called the series a campaign ad for Ms. Palin, the Republican vice presidential nominee in 2008 and a possible presidential candidate in 2012. Others have labeled it a get-rich-quick scheme, since she quit her job as governor of Alaska last year.”
With the 2008 election being one of the first elections to be incorporated into media rounds and social networking, the candidates of that election have become tv personalities. When SNL did a skit about Sarah Palin, it created tremendous buzz online and offline. Halloween costumes were made for Palin, McCain and Obama. They all visited talk shows and had magazine interviews. And coming up, President Obama will be appearing on an episode of Mythbusters promoting science and math programs in schools. Politics has become popular in the social media world and it is important to do so to get younger people involved.
‘Sarah Palin’s Alaska’ is definitely something new for the political and media world and it will be interesting to see how it affects her campaign if she decides to run in 2012.