TV with its greater arsenal of tools would have brought voters and politicians closer. Viewership and profits skyrocketed—televised presidential debates allowed people to see who they were voting for, which was previously impossible with newspapers. This golden period for television was short lived, however, as TV stations had to replace “boring,” albeit useful, political news with entertainment programming to garner profits.
When TV started broadcasting presidential debates and other “infotainment” programs, voter turnout percentage has decreased steadily (Gentzkow, 2006). While this transformation of TV might just be passed off as inevitable corporate greed, the unwelcome emphasis on scandals and drama leads to a greater problem than corporate profits. It is a weakening of democracy.
As Americans sit hopelessly in an echo chamber of scandals and drama of politicians, they are forced to think that politics is like Hollywood: littered with scandals, mishaps, and drama. This is the most likely reason for decreased voter turnout: conflicting news stories all competing for attention. They make Americans cynical and deters them from voting—why would they even want to vote between 2 candidates shown in the unfavorable spotlight of drama and scandals?