One example that Ben Franklin used infotainment in was a ballad The Downfall of Piracy in 1719 according to USA Today (Society for the Advancement of Education). Today infotainment is used in real news and has been known to get their stories from infotainment sources like TMZ. Infotainment is most of todays news. The reason I say this is because there are many infotainment shows that are highly watched. The more watched television ones are Extra, TMZ, The Insider and many more on cable like The Soup.
These shows are highly watched for entertainment and sometimes even quoted on actual news. Many other infotainments shows quote from People Magazine and Vanity Fair. News shows will keep their audience by showing clips of the infotainment in the beginning clips of the news hour and then show the story at the end of the news hour. TV news shows compete to keep their audiences. The competition is getting fierce with 24 hour cable news networks and the internet. The major new networks have even included infotainment in the news.
According to an article The Dawn of a New Era in Infotainment by Jonah Goldberg of National Review Online; CNN was known to talk about an Obama skit that was aired on SNL. Now whether CNN checked the facts or not it was good TV time that would attract viewers. Frankie Rich from The New York Times calls infotainment a mediathon. After reading the article which was written in 2003 seven years ago not much has changed about mediathons. A mediathon: a relentless hybrid of media circus, soap opera and tabloid journalism we have come to think of as All Calamity All the Time.
The latest being the scandal with Tiger Woods and the women he allegedly slept with. Rod Blagojevich the former Governor of IL turned into infotainment after airing on Celebrity Apprentice and his wife airing on the TV show Im a Celebrity, Get Me out of Here. The name of the article is How 15 minutes Became 5 Weeks written by Frankie Rich from The New York Times. The title itself is very true in our media and news industry. If you are a celebrity, governor, or athlete and you are involved in any kind of scandal the media will eat you, digest you, and then pick you back up for more.
For example more recent ones Michael Jackson, Chris Brown, and Sandra Bullock; Michael is gone but still being spoke about his sexuality and children. Chris Brown another singer is still in infotainment about his court case from when he hit Rihanna, and the newest Oscar winner Sandra bullock and her husband cheating on her. Mediathons have an effect on ratings and readers and many companies will pick up that mediathon to keep their readers and viewers. If they dont do it their audience can easily go someplace else. Like I had mentioned before competition is fierce.
When politics come into the news people look to media to see what is happening and feed off of the information that is given. When it comes to election time media can have quite an impact on how the people vote. The people look to news for facts as they should. It is the job of the news to inform the people. Others look towards infotainment shows like Oprah and Jon Stewart. In the article from Slate. com Democracy for Dummies by Jack Shafer he talks about how politicians use entertainment for their gain.
Shafer speaks on how President George W. Bush and John Kerry appeared on a number of shows both day and night shows. Laura Bush appeared on The Tonight Show, and Larry King. John Kerry appeared on The Daily Show and John Edwards, Kerrys running mate, has made appearances on Live with Regis and Kelly, The View, and The Tonight Show according to Marc Ransford Media Relations Manager author of the article Bush, Kerry Using Entertainment Television Shows to Reach Public.
Infotainment media is used to gain the vote of those readers/viewers. Obama is a good example of his method he used his time towards the younger and middle class voters during campaign. Obama appeared on Oprah and she spoke about him being president on her show October 18, 2006. Oprah a year later did speak in favor for Obama when he was elected to be president at a Rally December 9, 2007 thedailymotion. com. Oprah also spoke for President Obama when she appeared on Larry King Live May 3, 2007. As everyone knows Obama did win the election making a mark in history. He still uses the media to answer questions and try to stay in favor of Americans.
Obama has had 158 interviews 90 being on television 11 on radio and the rest of the 57 were newspaper and magazines Knoller, Mark Obamas First Year: By the Numbers. The audience will continue to choose what they want to hear than what we need to know. Infotainment is winning against news the question is how did this happen? In an article from USA Today (society for the Advancement of Education) Michael Medved has quite a bit to say on this topic. Medved says that the audience has let this happen.
We continue to choose to watch entertainment rather than the news. The news that we do receive is usually the bad than good. In 99 73% of news lead stories were of violence or natural disasters. Not much has changed in news since then many of the headlines are of violence in schools or natural disasters around the world. Many news directors do air these stories for the viewers. In order to keep their attention and keep them entertained. The news networks air what will keep you watching. The Internet does offer its share of wonderful news.
The bad part of reading news on the Internet people will read what they want or what they are in favor of. If you are for the vote of healthcare you are likely to read on how its going to pass not how it wont make it. The Internet gives you options you can click on what you want to hear or know The media in your life An Introduction to Mass Communication pg. 275. To capture the attention of the audience is fierce.
Because we have so much technology out today and we have all these options to choose from. What are the news networks to do or the newspapers and magazines that choose to eliver the news that we need to know. I think that the news networks should still include the news that we need and tell the public what we need to know. I have discussed on how infotainment is included in our news today and how it dates back to the days of Benjamin Franklin. How the news and media affect our politics and how the politicians use the media likewise for their benefit. In my opinion I believe that infotainment was created to keep the attention of the audience but I also think it was created to distract the people from the real news.
It was created so that people didnt have to think about the negative news that was being told. Instead its easier to forget about it and watch TMZ. The audience is us. We are the people that make the choices. We are the ones that affect the news. So why dont we? If the people chose to discard the infotainment that is being given it would most likely go away. But as long as we feed into the mediathon and infotainment shows they will remain. Leading to our lack of knowledge about what is really happening.