News is bad for you


#1

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#2

Presumably then fear leads to anger and anger leads to the Dark Side?


#3

Nope, it leads to snarky comments on blogs trying to harvest as many thumbs ups or gold stars as the software will permit.


#4

I often take time away from reading the news because I start getting PTSD symptoms.

Maybe I should be taking more breaks from the news?


#5

Most of the article boils down to: news is done poorly, and is misleading at best, manipulative at worst. So really a condemnation of the state of journalism, not news consumption. As for the “the news isn’t relevant to you” tip, that’s a pretty bizarre celebration of myopic judgment. The actual quotation is

name one that – because you consumed it – allowed you to make a better decision about a serious matter affecting your life, your career or your business. The point is: the consumption of news is irrelevant to you.

Uh, since when are world events that don’t affect “my business” irrelevant to me? And is stress about world events and news really bad for me? Only if my goal is to be in blissful ignorance all the time. This article smacks of first-world self-help bullshit that tells you to tune everything out that doesn’t lead to your “personal spiritual fulfillment” and focus on the “simple pleasures” in life (you know, how good your leather car seats feel, and how nice the crisp, clean, quiet fall air is in your enclave…)

Finally, artists do all of their best work when they are young? Ok, even if I let that one slide, this leads unquestionably to the conclusion that this is because they’ve read less news? Ok, but they’ve also eaten less star-fruits, so let us not leave any variables on the table…

How about this headline next time: Bullshit fluff advice pieces are bad for newspapers.


#6

I agree with this. It’s a key component of neo-liberalism, that the only thing we should be concerned with is ourselves and our personal health and fulfilment. It ignores how interconnected we are with the rest of the world, even if we don’t want to be. If we ignore the world, we can’t make decisions in the voting booth for example, or know how to more effectively spend out dollars in a way that conforms with our morality… of course, if you (not you personally, but people, I mean) are the only thing that matters, then it doesn’t matter how you vote or what you buy or don’t buy…

Edited to add: even the headline of the piece is focused on personal happniess as the key gauge of a good life.

Also, there is an issue about taking the news too much to heart, especially with things you can’t directly changes. Putting your mental health in jeopardy, as @the_borderer suggests watching too much depressing news can do, is not a good thing either. So, it’s got to be some sort of balance between informing yourself and not letting it sink you. Because, if you’re emotionally sunk, you can’t do anything effectively either.


#8

I have significantly reduced my news consumption in the past few years and think I´m better off for it. I still skim a news site a few times a week, but I don´t watch TV or listen to radio news or read newspapers multiple times a day anymore.

Sometimes I catch a glimpse of someone´s free newspaper on the underground. With all the fearmongering going on there I can see how reading this stuff would make people feel even more anxious about the world than they need to be, and usually for the wrong reasons.


#9

I had a professor in college who took us through some pretty tough history and writing. She would absolutely bristle when the class would get mopey and helpless after a particularly depressing piece, and remind us: “no one wants your pity, pity is condescending. If you want to help, if you want to change things, don’t get sad, get angry.” That being said, I absolutely agree that a person with enough troubles of their own can stand to balance things on the “less depressing news” side for mental health, as the ongoing collapse of the outside world just seems like evidence of hopelessness. Having the choice to embrace anger and inspiration over defeatedness can also be a privilege of circumstance…


#10

It’s not so much the actual news media is bad for you (although I agree it’s bad). It’s just most people don’t have good filters to ignore all the crap and overblown headlines. The worst offenders are the news editors themselves that just regurgitate every meaningless story as if were ‘breaking news’.
As to news not affecting your life, how about knowing about that new movie, or that Twin Peaks is coming back to TV? Just how can you tell what is important when you can’t predict the future? How about that tornado approaching? Or a great injustice that you need to raise your voice, or just finding out that your grandson just won the spelling bee?
Just by tuning news out, you just fall into ‘ignorance is bliss’, kinda useless, imho.
We want to be well informed people, and the news is part of that information; both good news and bad, well written and researched and garbage


#11

I generally agree that news is garbage, but I take issue with the following:

If you think you can compensate with the strength of your own inner contemplation, you are wrong. Bankers and economists – who have powerful incentives to compensate for news-borne hazards – have shown that they
cannot.

Is there any reason on Earth that I would think that bankers and economists would be people who were particularly good at evaluating risk? Economics is basically the science of trying to make sense of the world when you put zero value of human beings trusting one another, and bankers are people who are paid a lot of money because they shook the right people’s hands earlier in their lives. The financial industry an competence don’t really have anything to do with one another.

On the other hand:

It grinds us down until we adopt a worldview that is pessimistic, desensitised, sarcastic and fatalistic.

I’ll give him that one.


#12

I’m getting caught in a meta-cognitive loop here. News is bad for me, including the news that news is bad for me, so I should not consume this news as it is bad for me, leading me to consume other news that is bad for me, because I cannot consume this news as news is bad for me and…

It’s all a bit of robot-head-explodey “this sentence is not true” logic twisty.

Which I suppose just proves the article’s point that news will make you more anxious.


#13

I’m not news-free, but I probably could be. I killed my TV in 2002 and never looked back. (Actually, I had quit watching it before that, except there was the X-Files.)

I was about to say that it helps me to keep abreast of the various legal threats to the ACA, being an insurance guy. Then I realized - no it doesn’t. It helps me feel smart and rebut foolishness. But that doesn’t actually help me one bit.


#14

Nods, I’m inclined to agree with the article, but its very existence is…highly suspect!


#15

Wait . . . is this one of those “good news/bad news” things?

So what’s the good news?


#16

Agreed; I would say the more important reason news is bad for people is how unbelievably poor most of it is at making these things possible. Doling out lots of cheap information without valuable context is the main problem, and probably a large part of why it’s so stressful to deal with in the first place.


#17

It is impressive for someone to spend so much time rationalizing their ignorance.

Why stop at news? Why not avoid reading altogether? In the long run, it’s not going to make you any happier. Knowledge is a heavy burden, and you’ll feel better without it. Why not stop living? Everything’s only going to keep getting worse. You’ll get older, and your body will fail. Your mind will decay. Quit while you’re ahead.

The way I see it, if you want to base your life entirely around your personal happiness, suicide at birth seems like a good idea. You’ll never top that idyllic time you spent in the womb.


#18

I dislike much news, I try hard to avoid crime news, one of the most common fear-drums beating.

I don’t know if fascination with crime has risen while crime in North America has decreased or if news agencies emphasize crime because its really easy & easy clickbait, but also, fuck those news agencies, which is most of them.

If a headline strikes me as wrong or sensationalist, I’ll look elsewhere, or not at all, for the topic covered if it interests me.

My parents demonstrate for me how well news-fear-mongering works on average people. It is disgusting.


#19

Boingboing is bad for you

FTFY

:wink:


#20

Not to mention deja vu.


#21

The biggest free paper here in Mud Island is owned by the Mail Group.Make of that what you will.