Abstract and Keywords
This chapter reviews the controversial relationship of entertainment and political communication and presents a theoretical framework to integrate seemingly contradicting concepts and research findings. On the one hand, concerns have been raised about the decay of news quality and political culture due to the growing influence of entertainment media. On the other, researchers have highlighted the potential of entertainment in terms of audience interest, cognitive accessibility, and public outreach. A literature overview shows theoretical and empirical support for both sides of the controversy about the (dys)functionality of entertainment in political communication. Therefore, in an attempt to reconcile the divergent findings, the chapter presents an extended dual-process model of entertainment effects on political information processing and engagement. This framework offers substantial extensions to existing dual-process models of entertainment by conceptualizing the effects of entertainment on different forms of political engagement that have not been incorporated so far.
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