The line between entertainment and news has always been blurred. The tension between serious journalism and commercialism dates back to before television, but it is felt even more so in the entertainment-oriented medium of television news today. In the early 1960s, networks began to worry about their image and their regulatory responsibilities, and began to expand their news operations to separate the “church of news” from the “state of entertainment.”
Today, television, movies, radio, and theatre are all forms of entertainment. The media must differentiate between them or risk losing viewers’ attention. The Fairness Doctrine was killed under the Regan administration and media has been naturally skewing towards sensationalism ever since. However, as new media technologies continue to improve, the distinction between news and entertainment has become much more difficult to make. This is why, when we talk about what constitutes entertainment, it is important to remember that the term “entertainment” has been repurposed in many fields, not just news.
The Fox News Channel, for example, has long faced criticism for its content. While many say the network is not true to news, others argue that it is merely a form of entertainment. The network’s content is often inflammatory and often contains political spin. Its news content is, therefore, contrary to the public interest. And because the network is not owned by the FCC, it is exempt from many of its regulations.