Cut back on infotainment
Media companies should change their approaches to news and information by not allowing it to be dominated by infotainment. Vicente-Mariñol in his book review of News as Entertainment: The Rise of Global Infotainment, says the author “defines global infotainment as the globalization of US-style, ratings driven television journalism. This privileges privatized soft news about celebrities, crime, corruption, and violence, and presents it as a form of spectacle at the expense of news about political, civic, and public affairs”. However, the big problem is that the entertainment portion of the segment over powers the news portion making it harder for one to receive solid news. Rather than viewers hearing a story that is meaningful to their life, they might hear a story telling them something about a celebrity. At that point and time the viewers need for entertainment is filled, yet, their need for news containing substance lacks.
There use to be a time in which the news actually reported on the issues that they people should know. However, that is not the case anymore. Now the news has turned into business in which a news reporter’s job is to see who can get the dirtiest gossip on someone. These days all the news cares about is gathering an audience to increase ratings. Most people do not even realized the things that they are being subjected to but the media companies know exactly what they are doing. Media companies are driven by money and they are constantly trying to figure out how to make more money. In the video Rich Media, Poor Democracy McChesney says that there is a primary corporate objective to which news divisions are held, and that is to make a profit. Therefore, they report on what the people are interested in not the stories that could possibly change our lives and or our way of thinking. Hence, investigative journalism has died leaving the media companies with fewer places to draw in news. As a result, the audience is fed “fluff” news.
The fact that people are being fed “fluff” news is a problem. Instead of caring about real issues and how they affect our lives, our attention is turned to trivial things. Being that the media cannot control how we think, they can however, control what we think about (Agenda Setting Theory). This can be a scary thing. Occurrences like this are big when it comes to things such as politics. For example, we are currently in a war. Very rarely were we ever shown facts as to why we were fighting this war. Yet our minds are taken off that by the media covering things such as the treatment of Iraqi women. The infotainment that we were shown did nothing but contribute to the lack of knowledge that we already have. Other places in politics in which we can see infotainment taking over is during the presidential elections. In the 1989 production Illusion of News Bill Moyers talks about how “less than 10 percent of the 1988 campaign coverage was actually substance. It is twenty years later and not too many things have changed since then. The political campaigns that people run these days are full of slander not substance. Yet, again, it is infotainment it that is what generates money.
Last but not least, companies should decrease the infotainment because we are living in a generation of unformed people. One could argue that people should inform themselves and that is very agreeable. On the other hand, people should not have to search so hard attain information substance. If media companies have the information to share with the public, they should report it rather than taking the pieces they want in order to make an entertaining story.