Why I don’t watch the news (and why this journalist hates it)

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

About smellincoffee

Citizen, librarian, reader with a boundless wonder for the world and a curiosity about all the beings inside it.
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8 Responses to Why I don’t watch the news (and why this journalist hates it)

  1. Cyberkitten says:

    I started watching American news (on YouTube) about 4 years ago to find out what was happening over there. I was honestly shocked at the difference between US & UK news programs. For a start the US shows are VERY partisan. UK shows at least *try* to be more balanced (though they do fail and are often accused of pushing agendas – and at least sometimes that’s true. Second there’s a LOT more shouting and cross talking on US news. It took a bit getting used to how RUDE it often came across as. After a while though it did become highly entertaining – from 3.5 thousand miles away!

    I don’t watch TV news much – ever since I ditched my TV. I catch a bit on YouTube but generally I check out the BBC website and that’s about it – mostly to check the weather report and the headlines. If I want to understand anything that’s going on right now I’ll dig a little deeper. I used to get a quality broadsheet paper on Sunday but found that it took me a week or more to work my way through it. Now I’m retired I might start doing that again (or subscribe to a few quality magazines). If I was in depth knowledge of a subject…. I’ll read a book about it! [grin]

    • It’s entertaining until you realize the drivel possibly drives people to support candidates on the basis of entertainment and charisma, and we wind up with reality tv stars running for office. 😉

      The BBC is one of the news sources I check…I used to listen to their world-in-brief updates but I just don’t like being THAT plugged in. As wonkish as I am about foreign policy I don’t want politics in my head 24/7!

      • Cyberkitten says:

        Too much News is definitely a bad thing! I pop on to the BBC website maybe 5-6 times a day for 5-6 minutes just to see ‘what’s happening’ out there but I’m no longer an obsessive ‘consumer’ of News. That was in my student days. But that was also back in the days before 24 hour news. Happy times… [grin]

        BTW – My review of ‘The Second Sleep’ should be up in a few hours. It’s probably going to be at least *slightly* polemical…. Especially about the ‘ending’. [lol]

      • I’m sure it will make for fun reading.. 😉

  2. I set aside television in 2003. I read all my news, and I try to support the journalists I respect by spending money on their publications.

    Thanks for sharing this interesting video.

  3. great book study says:

    Loved this. I loathe the “news,” too, and quit watching even before we got rid of TV — probably the end of the Bush years. It’s REDUNDANT, too. They parrot each other, repeat the same images/videos over and over again, and the phony dramatic deliveries all are mental torture. Do you ever feel like you are left wanting more info? That’s how I feel about newspapers, too.

    BTW, I was just browsing Walter Williams’ recommended websites, and I saw The Economist (assuming this is the site you are suggesting). I’m totally excited to begin getting some real worthy news. Such great suggestions on his list that I can just throw away all of my online alternative new sources right now, though I do love my independent “journalists” who have been cropping up all over the place. (FYI: Check out Amazing Polly @99FreeMind on Bitchute. She does all the work journalists in this country should have been doing since the inception of a free press.)

    • I’ll have to check that out! I read one of Williams’ collections this year a few months back (“American Contempt for Liberty”) and his death yesterday reminds me I need to finish the review of it. I found him interesting but the collection incredibly repetitive.

      The Economist has its stances, but they’re not ideological or partisan. I’ve found them to be reliably considered.

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