Pop Culture, Politics, and the News: Entertainment Journalism in the Polarized Media Landscape

Research output: Book/ReportBookpeer-review

Abstract

From controversies over Hollywood's on-screen portrayals and behind-the-scenes diversity to the latest outrage over a celebrity's public statements or private behavior, the world of pop culture now serves as the basis for political news and commentary across a wide range of outlets and from both left and right perspectives. Drawing on dozens of interviews with entertainment journalists who produce politically minded coverage as well as testimonials from audiences who share it on social media, this book argues for the importance of reframing our understanding of impactful journalism and persuasive political communication at a time when issues of identity and "culture war" have moved to the center of US public discourse. Yet although entertainment journalism must be taken seriously as a form of political communication even though it may sometimes appear frivolous on the surface, the day-to-day economic pressures of the digital news landscape can also complicate its public value. By squaring journalists' accounts of industrial practice with critiques of hyper-commercialism, "clickbait," and the lure of social media virality, the book highlights both the potential dangers and the potential benefits of channeling political discourse through the attention-grabbing lens of pop culture and celebrity news. In addition, it examines how audiences engage with this highly accessible and emotionally resonant form of journalism on social media and use it as a resource for political expression and discussion, raising important questions about how it may serve as a bridge to public issue engagement as well as a potential distraction from on-the-ground political concerns.

Original languageEnglish
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages252
ISBN (Electronic)9780197557587
ISBN (Print)9780197557594
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2022

Keywords

  • celebrity
  • culture war
  • digital news
  • diversity
  • entertainment
  • Hollywood
  • journalism
  • news audience
  • pop culture
  • social media

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