Posted by: jeanmurin | August 3, 2009

The Oprah Effect: Soft News vs. No News

After reading the study by Baum and Jamison on the effects of entertainment-oriented “soft news,” I found myself wondering not if no news was good news, but if soft news was better than no news.

The study concludes that individuals who consumed soft news through daytime talk shows such as Oprah, who is wildly popular and is known to have political candidates on her talk show (she is also not shy about the candidate she endorses, either), were more competent when selecting candidates who identified with their preferences.

Although I myself am a consumer of soft news, I try my best to balance it with other news as well. I worry slightly that other voters are basing their decisions on the impression they got from a candidate on a daytime talk show. However, I don’t really like the thought of voters being completely uninformed either.

My thoughts on this article left me feel trapped between a rock and a hard place, but if I had to choose I think I’d choose the rock: soft news is better than no news.


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