I can’t remember the last time I watched televised news; it was around 2008, I believe. If I hadn’t stopped by the time I read Amusing Ourselves to Death, that would have been its death knell. The video in sum:
- The news’ focus on spectacular events — catastrophes, crimes, etc — creates for the regular viewer a distorted view of the world, one that is far more dangerous than it actually is.
- News is too “fun”: the drive to keep eyes constantly locked on it leads to sensational programming rather than serious, sober consideration. Because of the entertainment incentive, the news isn’t actually educational: it’s a giant gossip fast.
- The news tricks you into feeling informed. The constant barrage of psuedo-information prompts people to mentally check out. Watching people argue is not informative. You don’t leave news debates more informed; you leave it more charged in your own prior convictions.
For my own part, I try to stay informed through reputable print services like The Economist. If this journalist’s perspective resonates with some of your own doubts, check out Postman.