why i quit the news

i’ve had a lifelong frustration with and always wanted to quit the news. i’ve long felt it was no longer journalism, but simply biased entertainment. the goal wasn’t necessarily to inform, but rather to influence and generate clicks…for it’s all about profits.

someone said the goal of the news is to make all the problems YOUR problem. that way, you keep paying attention to it…

i’ve long wanted to stop paying attention to the news. but one worries that one will be out of touch with the world. but then i read a passage from Erling Kagge’s book Silence In the Age of Noise:

“in the spring of 1984, i returned home to norway after sailing in a thirty-five-foot boat to west africa, and then across the atlantic to the caribbean and back again over the same ocean. my friends and i were gone for eight months. this was in the old days, before the expansion of the internet, so we hadn’t received any news from norway. the only exceptions were letters from girlfriends, friends and family that were sent poste restante to the harbours where we were expected. back home again, i pored over newspapers and radio programmes the way i had habitually done before we’d set sail. i was surprised to realize that the news and debate programmes were broadcasting almost exactly the same content as when we had left the previous autumn. politicians were mostly debating the same questions with one another. even the arguments were the same.”

i’d always known this, but it took reading this passage to finally make me acknowledge that the news: the people, the issues, the problems, even the positive stuff, had all happened before. and will all happen again. humans don’t change. more critically, the news doesn’t change.

this gave me the freedom to finally quit the news. gone are the days when biased coverage frustrates me. gone are the eye rolls about click bait headlines meant to draw attention, not to inform. and gone is the maddening circle of hell where most people think “opinion” is news.

the really great news is that I have not felt out of touch. news is predictable, the same things happen again and again, and the pundits comment the same way, time after time.

i’m free!

besides, if something truly and legitimately newsworthy happens, you’ll hear about it…

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