My blog contains a large number of posts. A few are included in various other publications, or as attached stories and chronicles in my emails; many more are found on loose leaves, while some are written carelessly in margins and blank spaces of my notebooks. Of the last sort most are nonsense, now often unintelligible even when legible, or half-remembered fragments. Enjoy responsibly.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Infotainment You Can Trust

First the basics:

Infotainment or soft news, refers to a general type of news media broadcast program which either provides a combination of current events news and entertainment programming, or an entertainment program structured in a news format. The term "infotainment" is a combination of information and entertainment. People in the infotainment business may be called "infotainers" or "media personalities."

Infotainment generally refers to the segments of programming which overall consist of both "hard news" segments and interviews, along with celebrity interviews and human drama stories. Critics have claimed the combination of the two aspects is a conflict of interest by corporate news outlets —focusing on marketing, not journalism. The term "infotainment" thus may be a pejorative among those who hold professional journalistic values in esteem.

Bill of Rights

Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

My gripe:

Now I take personal responsibility for this and please know that I’m doing my best to fix the situation as fast as possible. I’m sorry for any inconvenience that this has caused.

The issue I have today is that I’ve somehow let the news and entertainment switch places. I don’t know how it happened, but it did. One night I went to sleep having watched the hourly nightly news talking about the economy, war and the weather. When I woke up the next morning there were forty seven news channels running 24 hour live coverage a day.

Actually, I think it started with cable TV and CNN and has gone down hill since. When CNN started they had about 4 hours of material each day that ran on a loop over and over until another big story came out. As you can imagine, this was a big hit. At anytime during the day you could flip to it and see what was happening in the world while you were off living life. A couple minutes later you were caught up on everything and could go back to your life knowing you were informed. Life was good.

Then, one morning, an ex-football player decided to take a drive on the freeway after killing his wife and all hell broke loose. Immediately there were forty six other news channels that were running 24 hour live coverage of every little nuance and detail of the trial and the entire circus that went with it. Overnight people who were entertainment journalists turned into real journalists. Life was weird.

When the trail finally ended the channels decided that even though they were lacking the actual news to fill 24 hours they were going to try it anyway. Life was rough.

It took the stations a while to realize that there is only about 4 hours of news in the world on an average day to report on. So in came stories that weren’t suitable for anyone to watch and that kept people kind of interested for awhile. Then the beautiful, vapid people arrived to report that news. Another little increase occurred. Another brainstorm later he news stations realized that if they started leaning one political way or another they were bound to attract people who loved and loathed their slant. And finally, stories were made up, blown out of proportion and news that wasn’t somehow now was. Life was sad.

Now we stuck with too many news channels loaded with people who are unqualified to read, let alone report, telling us about things no one cares about in a biased way for ratings while looking stern and attractive.

So if it’s not the bleached airhead telling you about a country she couldn’t find on a pastel colored map; or the tall always pissed conservative guy telling you why, for the 4356 day in a row, he is outraged at THOSE people; or maybe it’s the average intelligence news correspondent clearly attempting to talk and interview people 50 point higher in IQ then they are; maybe you just tuned in to here the extreme views of some belligerent media whore go absolutely unquestioned by a news personality who is already reading ahead to the next story involving a some other belligerent media whore.

Voila, infotainment.

This is why I no longer watch the news. I’m not sure this is exactly what the founding fathers had in mind when they choose to lump freedom of the press as the top of the most import set of laws in this country. As a matter of fact, I think that if they were to have seen how our media has devolved they would have abandoned the whole right of speaking in public all together.

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