Richly detailed and empirically grounded, this first book-length study of infotainment and its globalization by a leading scholar of global communication, offers a comprehensive and critical analysis of this emerging phenomenon. Going beyond - both geographically and theoretically - the ‘dumbing down’ discourse, largely confined to the Anglo-American media, the book argues that infotainment may have an important ideological role, a diversion in which ‘soft news’ masks the hard realities of neo-liberal imperialism.
War as Infotainment
Television news, particularly 24/7 rolling news, reaches its apotheosis in times of war and conflict. The dramatic visual spectacle of violence and death grabs the attention and engages the audience like few other media subjects, whether its causes are human (wars, riots, killings), natural (floods, earthquakes, hurricane) or both (famines). The potential for constant twenty-four hour breaking news was most clearly demonstrated by the sudden rise to global fame of CNN during the 1991 Operation Desert Storm and similarly of Al-Jazeera during the US invasion of Afghanistan a decade later and of Iraq in 2003, as well as by the imitations that these have spawned. As noted in Chapter 3, CNN created a new paradigm of 24-hour news culture, which ...