Infotainment is a popular moniker given to television programming where the lines between reality and entertainment have become increasingly blurred.
On the one hand, on so-called "reality" programs like Survivor and American Idol, ordinary people compete in extraordinary situations for big prizes. This might be labeled infotainment.
More often, however, infotainment refers to "soft journalism" — or news reporting where celebrities like Britney Spears and Michael Jackson, might compete with sensational stories like a murder trial or a UFO sighting for broadcast lead-in. Because of this, "infotainment" has taken some criticism over how so-called "fluff" often takes precedence over more substantive news, such as the debate over health care or the latest statistics on the economy.
As both the internet and cable news sources like MSNBC, TMZ and Fox News have become more prevalent, criticism has also been leveled towards political commentators like Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, and Keith Olbermann for the way they report "news" as entertainment, and often with their own largely partisan political spin. Media critics are quick to note that today's "infotainment" bares little resemblance to the more objective standards once practiced by television journalists like Walter Cronkite.