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  • Writer's pictureRKPROST

Hedda Hopper and Gossip

Throughout Frost's Hollywood Gossip as Public Sphere, I saw Hopper's column as a precursor to the way people on social media smear celebrities’ and politicians' life. People feel the need to read more about these people’s lives or scandal news. Additionally, celebrity journalists elevate the accessibility to and speculation around one's private life even more than they did in the past.

The instantaneous nature of social media updates, gossip, reality shows, and Buzzfeed articles attracts more attention than the news or other forms of entertainment. The media and celebrities themselves provide more information about their private life to satiate the audience's desire to cater to this need. This phenomenon on social media is the elevated version of Hopper's relationship with her readers, where she invited her audience to write letters, and she would answer or include them in her column (Frost 94). This connection closed the gap between celebrities and their fans.

With such a large following and idol status in the minds of a celebrity’s fan, social media amplifies misinformation and spreads gossip. The trust built between celebrities and fans may encourage people to repeat false narratives or expand on conspiracy theories voluntarily. In Hopper's case, her "location in Hollywood and her work as a gossip columnist gave her a means and method to promote her political agenda, at the core of which was anticommunism" (Frost 86).

One difference between Hopper's column and social media is the ability to filter out the opposition. While social media allows one to disable comments or delete other people's posts, there isn't a way to catch all negative comments and remove their presence on one's post or video. Compared to Hopper's column, she could decide not to publish people's letters who "criticized her brand of Americanism and advocated political tolerance for differences of opinion and respect for civil liberties" (Frost 93). Hopper has more control over the content she publishes, which will further her political ideologies and gain due to the one-way communication through her column. One's ability to interact and communicate transactionally makes monitoring a celebrity's feedback from supporters and critics is more challenging.

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