Welcome to the Infotainment Freak Show

In his essay titled, "Welcome to the Infotainment Freak Show," Marty Kaplan, Norman Lear Professor of Entertainment, Media and Society at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and the founding director of the Norman Lear Center for the study of the impact of entertainment on society, writes,

"When Ted Turner launched CNN in 1980, there were high hopes for the broad diffusion of news. The results of the twenty-five-year experiment in round-the-clock cable "news," which now includes Fox and MSNBC, are now in. Here's what cable news is really good at: trapped miners, Michael Jackson, runaway brides, missing blondes, Christmas Eve murders, Princess Di, Paris Hilton, hurricanes, tsunamis, disinformation, whiz-bang graphics, scary theme music, polls, gotcha, HeadOn ads, 'Thanks for having me,' people who begin every answer to antagonistic questions with 'Look,' people who say, "I didn't interrupt you when you were talking," and anchors who say, 'We'll have to leave it there.' Here's what cable news is not so good at insight, context, depth, reflection, proportion, perspective, relevance, humility, information, analysis, news."

In a media atmosphere that prefers entertainment over enlightenment, segments such as the one occurring on Aug. 10 on Morning Joe have become the norm. Rather than spend time talking about issues of substance, Joe Scarborough and his team instead decided to spend a whole segment of his show poking fun at Rep. John Boehner new tan. It's not as if anything else more important is occurring at the moment in the world, right? Infotainment, as epitomized by this segment, often reigns supreme in the mess that is the contemporary American "news" industry.


Furthermore, this misguided adventure has spawned a following of the clamorous disinformed, the magnitude of which is on the verge of co-opting one of our two-party system. It is well past time for MSM to stop treating these hate-mongers as colleagues and confront them for the self-serving rable-rowsers that they truly are , much as it is well past time for the Democrats to confront the hollow, empty self-serving babble coming from the right. Evil only grows where good allows it to.