Infotainment: A Disney World of Democracy

If you have not yet seen Bill Moyers’ June 8 interview with Marty Kaplan on Big Media and the impact of money on communications, and especially broadcast news, this is a most see.

Kaplan founded and heads The Norman Lear Center, which studies politics, entertainment and commerce and their impact on us, and he discusses how broadcast media have dumbed down — and taken us for the ride.   

“Big money and big media have coupled to create a ‘Disney World’ of democracy in which TV shows, televised debates, even news coverage is being dumbed down, resulting in a public less informed than it should be. […] Each year it gets more depressing and it’s hard to believe. We, not long ago, did a study of the Los Angeles media market. We looked at every station airing news and every news broadcast they aired round the clock. And we put together a composite half hour of news. And if you ask, ‘How much in that half hour was about transportation, education law enforcement, ordinances, tax policy?’ everything involving locals, from city to county. The answer is: in a half hour, 22 seconds. […] [S]omewhere in the 1980s, when 60 Minutes started making a profit, CBS put the news division inside the entertainment division. And then everyone followed suit. So ever since then, news has been a branch of entertainment and, infotainment, at best.”  

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Tekla Szymanski

Tekla is a New-York based independent content strategist and front-end web developer, a multilingual journalist, writer and editor (both offline and online).

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