The affects and effects of news consumption in the UK

Originally published at: The affects and effects of news consumption in the UK | Boing Boing


People can avoid the news all they want but it’s going to catch up with them, per Cory’s concept of “Peak Indifference”. Or, as it was put during the lead up to WWII (though not by Trotsky): “you may not be interested in war, but war is interested in you”.

For the sake of British people, I hope this winter isn’t harsh enough that they learn the cost of indifference the hard way.


Yeah - if news is ‘anxiety-inducing’, avoiding it is not the solution. Engaging with it and acting accordingly is the way to deal with it.
People who refuse to engage with news and still believe they are ‘informed’ enough to determine their beliefs and voting preferences are just another class of fuckwit - the useful idiot class of fuckwits perennially voting against their own interests by voting for for politicians who seek only to exploit them.


News avoidance is an interesting (and seriously understudied) phenomenon. I used to work with Ben and Rasmus; some colleagues and I have just won a grant to study barriers to news which in some sense will be a follow-up piece to this study.

AMA, I guess…


The Daily Mail’s ‘Everything’s awful and it’s all because of [insert topical hate figures here]’ or ‘Here’s someone famous doing something we disapprove of - comment below’ genres of ‘journalism’ have turned it into the biggest, and most influential, news source in the UK - and now increasingly in the US and Australia.

Its ruthless obsession with making everyone angry, depressed and hateful drags the rest of the media with it - even the likes of Murdoch is being outcompeted by the monsters at Associated Press. And where the media goes, so goes the politics and then the country. You don’t have to read the Mail (please don’t) - but its influence in the encruddification of the UK is everywhere.


Agreed. But much of what it prints is just not news.
It is less a newspaper and more a social conditioning tool.


Don’t forget their other specialty: “[everything] causes cancer”.


Damn - I forgot that!

Right up there with the Express’s endless ‘miracle cure for Alzheimer’s’ front pages. Sadly, no cure for piss-poor ‘journalism’.


This is definitely true to an extent, but what upsets me more is the framing. Mainstream media in the UK is a nonstop barrage of lies and disinformation, some major but a lot of it very low level. But i find that part is what upsets me* most rather than the actual news being reported.

If i’m near a TV and the news comes up, i will likely leave the room. Scanning the headlines of newspapers in a shop makes me recoil. I then look it up online using a whole bunch of different sites to see whats likely going on.

*part of this has been due to my brothers ex, living with a compulsive liar for several years has made me very sensitive to lies…


And will cause house prices to crash.


Scaring old people is the basis of right-wing media everywhere.


This discussion is prone to a West Wing-type false assumption that conflates effective citizenship with mainstream news fandom. That’s not only smug and simplistic; it’s often the opposite of the truth.

When it comes to foreign policy, say, or labor relations, uncritical news consumption will leave you with a worse understanding of the world than a child. A five-year-old who saw families blown to bits in Pakistan or immiserated by Amazon would have at least some intuitive grasp of the reality; Aaron Sorkin sees those things and jacks off into a flag, because the news has wired his brain back to front and he thinks it’s made him smart.

I’m not saying ignorance is wisdom. But if you can’t smell the choking stench of bullshit rolling off the news, you’re in no position to lecture “low-information voters” who surely do smell it. What both halves of the general public need to understand about the news is that it’s evil and stupid, but you can learn a lot by asking why it is saying things.

(This is all ten times truer for the loathsome British news industry, which cannot be despised hard enough)

On the plus side, some of the puzzles are fun!


I think the problem with this group of individuals is not that they don’t engage with news, it’s that they engage with news that is inherently biased and manipulative, and haven’t been given the skills to deal with that.

For people who choose not to engage with news at all, the problem becomes indifference/apathy/a belief that they have no agency and so they don’t vote at all.


You have a point but ‘news’ is an invented concept and increasingly means the argument of a position, rather than the supply of objective information.
News in the UK has increasingly become polarised so reading the Mail/Daily Telegraph effectively means taking a right-wing-only viewpoint, like only watching Fox News in the US.
How are poor to middle class people (the subject of this study) supposed to readily find bias-free and trustworthy information sources…?


Well, at the risk of being shot down for selecting what others might see as equally biased, they could start with The Guardian and the BBC. Whatever faults anyone can find there, they are at least better than the Daily Heil and the Torygraph.

ETA and seeing as too many probably won’t want to expend the effort to read real news they could also try watching ITV News and Channel 4 News.


It is absolutely depressing watching the effects of things like the Daily Heil (my dad is a regular reader, sufferer, and consequently brexiteer (a phrase I fucking loathe)).
He has a miserable worldview, which I get is all too understandable in this timeline, but it is, of course, all the fault of the “foreigners” etc. (And the strikers who refuse to be forced to work).
It’s an uphill battle with his views which I surrendered a long time ago. But I will never forgive these bastards for the misery they have inflicted on an old man.
Rant over, thanks for listening.


The trouble is that they are told that these are the ‘enemy’…

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Main, I can completely relate, had a surreal conversation with my Mum yesterday (a DM reader):

M: “Good luck driving down next time; Ghengis Khan (Sadiq - London mayor), is extending the ultra-low emission zone so you’ll have to pay to visit me. I can’t believe how stupid and arrogant he is.”
G: “No, I won’t, I have a low-emission diesel.”
M: “Well, it’s completely unreasonable, he’s unelected.”
G: “They haven’t been able to hold elections, due to covid, but they are coming up aren’t they?”
M: “Well, yes, and now (Jeremy) Corbyn has said that he might run.”
G: “Which would be worse…?”
M: “Well, yes.”
G: “And with the low emissions zone, did you know that it is only the oldest and most polluting diesels that will be charged? Wouldn’t it be good if they were off the road as they worsen the air quality in London and you are nearly 90 now?”
M: “Well, yes but…”

Ad infinitum…


They really like someone else doing their thinking for them - it’s just too uncomfortable when someone helps them do it for themselves (as above), because it means changing their mind and non-thinkers HATE that.


Hit the nail right on the head there.

But I will add, ( @anothernewbbaccount ) (and not trying to pick a fight here), that it’s the subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) indoctrination that so galls me.
My father is an intelligent man. He got to 86 without losing his marbles. (unlike his mum).

What pains me is the right-wing viewpoint (quicker than saying racist, anti-trans, etc.) that he has managed to swallow after years of misinformation.

(The internet didn’t invent misinformation, it turns out).