It was during the financial meltdown in 2008 that I first decided to stop listening to, watching, or reading the news. The daily litany about foreclosure figures, bankruptcies, unemployment, and plummeting house prices was justing too depressing.
And do you know what happened when I did cut out all this negativity? Nothing bad I can tell you, indeed I soon found out it was making me feel a lot better. And it makes sense, doesn’t it? An endless diet of depressing, morbid, unsettling information (over which you have no control) has to take its toll on your mental health. Stop consuming it and you pretty quickly feel a lot better.
“There are many things of which a wise man might wish to be ignorant.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Fast forward 12 years and here we are again. A 24-hour news cycle devoted to dispensing information about a Pandemic. Non-stop. A never-ending succession of (in the main) ignorant talk heads, journalists, and reporters deluge us with bad, negative news and all with a political spin that takes them further from the truth.
I can’t put it better than Montag writing in New Pathology: “That’s the very problem with the Coronavirus and the news. It’s just a topic that’s been blown way out of proportion. Because fear sells and it’s incredibly easy to get people to be fearful of something they can’t see, hear or smell and that’s going to kill them and all their family members.”
So why would I want to feed my brain with negative information that I can’t change anyway? “Change the changeable, accept the unchangeable, and remove yourself from the unacceptable.” — Denis Waitley
Think about it: I’m not sure how anyone can “like” absorbing information that affects their thoughts and emotions in such a negative way. That’s certainly not my idea of a good time. And there are so many better things you could be doing than watching an avalanche of disinformation. If you want some other good reasons to stop watching the news see this thoughtful article by Niall Doherty on Ebizfacts, he has several great ideas.
Journalist Mark Manson describes the news “like the societal version of flossing: it’s not fun, yet we continue to do it every day anyway, as a sort of obligation to prevent decay of the social order.” He wrote this in this article before the pandemic, but it still applies.
Among his many insights as to why the news is so terrible:
– They present emotionally-charged information that feels important, even though it isn’t (a politician making a gaffe, for instance).
– They catastrophize everything to make you believe this is a once-in-a-lifetime event and nothing will be the same ever again… until something else happens.
– Once they’ve overblown the severity of an event, they shuttle in a small group of “experts” to help you process the significance of the event. Unsurprisingly, most of these “experts” end up saying, “We’ll have to wait and see.”
– They obsess over pointless details to human interest stories—what kidnap victims were wearing, who were the mass shooter’s parents, how many tacos Joe Biden ate yesterday, etc.
– They aim to entertain rather than inform. CNN now has entire segments where they simply show popular YouTube videos and then laugh about them.
I can’t find anyone who claims to watch the news is good for you in any way whatsoever. So do yourself, your family, and your friends a big favor and stop watching it now, and at least for the next 3 months! You’ll be surprised how much better you feel.
Related article: Keep reality in check during Covid-19.