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The Rise of Infotainment


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May 22, 2018

The Rise of Infotainment

Infotainment, or "broadcast material that is intended both to entertain and to inform," has become increasingly popular in the United States, particularly with shows such as The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, The Daily Show, and Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. These shows combine comedy with actual news, and often contain a heavy dose of satire. I have heard concerns that these kind of shows are replacing traditional news shows for younger viewers, but I would argue that these shows perhaps draw in viewers that might be completely uninformed otherwise. My concern, instead, would be the larger question of humor as a political and emotional tool--is it okay for us to laugh at the president as much as we do? Is it okay to laugh at misfortunate news? It is worth noting here that even these satirical talkshow hosts, after particular tragedies such as the recent shootings that have occurred across America, have offered serious and sober reflections on these instances. However, much of the news that is skewered on these shows is serious, and begs the question: is there a negative to receiving all your (potentially serious) news from a satirical, comedic perspective?

I say yes, and I think some balance is needed in viewing these infotainment shows. It is also worth mentioning that these shows tend to be very liberal, and therefore only provide one political perspective. In all, I think these shows should be watched in moderation, and not as a substitute for traditional news sources. 


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