Guest Post by: Olivia Underdah, Student.
In today’s media driven society we have a million options when it comes to where we get out information, but which ones can we truly trust? Infotainment, or media that is works to both entertain and inform, is now a key aspect of our world allowing viewers to gain “information” in a new and exciting format. The problem with infotainment is that it’s not a true news show, so the standards of accuracy and fact-checking are not necessarily in place. So how reliable is the information you gain from these pseudo-news outlets?
The entertainment aspect is most certainly present in shows like The Colbert Report or The Daily Show, and yes the clips they use are often excerpts from real news outlets, but the whole premise of the show is based upon satire. Yet, this is still a main source of news for a significant amount of people; this is surely something worth noting. This then poses a different question, should these types of shows have a more structured method when it comes to fact checking? With so many people taking this information at face value maybe there should be a system of accuracy in place.
Then you get into shows such as Cops or America’s Most Wanted, which give us the idea that we are seeing real action unfold or helping in catching a criminal, which is not completely false, but their main purpose is to entertain and make money. They blend the facts in with cheap entertainment, and often manipulate the situation, because once again, they are not claiming to be a real news source. With all this freedom to “entertain” while they inform a lot of real information may be lost, or altered, but the ratings still soar, people still watch and networks still make a great deal of profit.
This area of the media is one full of blurred lines, and pseudo-truths that are extremely hard to regulate. Infotainment is a great source of cheap income, but not a source that we should use as our only means of gaining information. Yes, they contain some factual information, but how much? We need to be the watchdogs, it is our responsibility as media consumers to know where our information is coming from, and not place our trust in just anyone. Until there is some sort of system in place to regulate these programs we need to be careful with how much faith put in them as credible news sources.