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date: 27 February 2024

The Geopolitics of Infotainmentlocked

The Geopolitics of Infotainmentlocked

  • Lindsay H. HoffmanLindsay H. HoffmanDepartment of Communication, University of Delaware
  •  and Gilbert K. RotichGilbert K. RotichDepartment of Communication, University of Delaware

Summary

Although there is a lack of consensus among political communication scholars on the standard conceptualization of infotainment, scholarship converges on the idea that infotainment describes an admixture of information and entertainment. It is a buzzword used as an umbrella term for sensationalized content, satire, including tabloidization, caricaturization, impersonation, and personalization of political actors. Infotainment is not a unique and isolated genre in and of itself, but a term often used pejoratively to describe the decline and shift away from hard to soft news. This cluster of television programming has made it difficult to discern between information and entertainment content. Significantly, this fusion of entertainment and journalism has gained prominence as a function of exponential changes in the media industry. These trends in political journalism, fueled by the public’s changing patterns in the consumption of political news and the increasing use of the “softer” outlets by political actors to reach the masses, facilitated the cosmetic rise of infotainment. Consequently, we have seen the news becoming more entertaining while the entertainment programs take on politics. Notably, infotainment is contextualized as a tool of geopolitical influence; its uses and gratifications have moved beyond informing and entertaining audiences to become tools of political influence and resistance. Political satire and comedy have been used to interrogate power and create space for political freedom in various corners of the world, used as a soft means of power to transmit culture. Overall, political entertainment has become a means to an end.

Subjects

  • International/Global Communication

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