Saturday, June 23, 2018

No News Is Good News

     When we were on vacation traveling the Oregon Trail, my wife and I found that we didn't seem to have much access to the news -- and we weren't particularly interested anyway. Somehow, the facts from 175 years ago seemed more relevant than the gossip and chatter that passes as news these days.

     At home, we get the weekend editions of the New York Times. I occasionally read the local paper and The Wall Street Journal. We subscribe to a couple of magazines. Then I find that the TV is invariably on, for at least a little while almost every day, and we're not even aware that we're listening to Fox News dig up some dirt on the Democrats, or someone on MSNBC getting apoplectic over an outrage they think they've heard from the Republicans.

     Then there's the internet. Yahoo and aol.com both remind me of the old supermarket tabloids. And most other so-called news sites -- from vox to huffington to whatever -- are dishing out nothing but opinions, one more outlandish than the other. And of course we all know about opinions . . . everyone (ahem) has one.

     On vacation we were spared almost all of the blathering that passes for news these days. Yes, we heard about the volcano in Hawaii. But mostly, the only thing we checked was the weather. I hate to admit it, but it was very refreshing.

     But just to make sure I didn't miss anything important, when I got home I spent a few minutes catching up on the last few weeks. There was . . .

     A celebrity wedding in England. A New York attorney ranting in a coffee shop. Some teachers on strike. More back and forth between Mueller and Trump. Roseanne making a racist joke. Elon Musk tweeting something about Tesla. A chef/TV star committing suicide. Bill Clinton and James Paterson collaborating on a political thriller.

     And, as long-advertised, Trump actually met with Kim Jung Un . . . although did anything come of it?

     Did I miss anything else? And (though I feel bad for Anthony Bourdain) does any of it really matter?

     How about you . . . have you found yourself getting sucked into the news more and more in the last couple of years, and then thinking perhaps you've wasted a lot of time and emotional energy on things that don't really matter? Do you think the news has improved your life, or made you more knowledgeable? Or have you tuned out, or consciously gone on a news diet because you've decided too much modern-day news is simply not good for you?

     I'm of two minds. I've certainly enjoyed my news hiatus. But then I wonder, was I shirking my responsibility as a citizen and voter? Is sticking your head in the sand the best way to approach the modern political scene, no matter how nasty it has become?

28 comments:

Anonymous said...

You forgot the suicide of Kate Spade and then two days later her own father died of heartbreak.
Listening to the current news of today only proves to me that most everyone is insane. The rhetoric out of the left is vile and filthy. They have reached the bottom of the barrel and unfortunately now they will be taking vile actions against those who do not agree with them. It's going to get physical. It's going to get nasty. Unless you know NO liberals you will not be spared from their abuse whether you listen to the news or not.
The only way to stay out of the fray is to keep your mouth shut. Do NOT let anyone know what you think or feel. Be careful what you say. Oh, unless you are a liberal, like Peter Fonda or Kathy Griffin, you can say or do most anything without repercussion.
What a nice country America is now, isn't it?
Bring back the Viet Nam war any day.
That was a picnic compared to what is going on in this country today.
The only good news is pot is now legalized.
As in the 60's, time to light up and drop out.

DUTA said...

For someone like me looking at you from the outside, Anonymous is right in that it's becoming physical and nasty. Kim has no use for his nuke. The americans will finish the job among themselves.

Ronda said...

It's not hiding your head in the sand when the veracity is suspect of nearly every thing printed, reported, and published. I, too, have withdrawn from the media frenzy.

Anonymous said...

The actions of the purported Christians and right wing nutters is abhorrent, and any decent human being should be worried about where those people are taking the U.S. Vilifying any group of people is disgusting. I mean, really, look at Anonymous above!

Linda Myers said...

Wow! The comments so far are quite unlike any I have ever read in your blog.

On an everyday basis, it's all overwhelming and hard to know the truth. And is it even necessary to spend time figuring out where things really stand? I like the idea of a vacation from it all. Gives me time to travel backroads, or read a good book, or rightsize my house, or brush my cat.

Celia said...

Your vacation was fun to follow. I take news vacations often when I'm at home. My other partial solution has been to get involved with people in my town who are helping other people. KInd of be the change you want. I help our local food bank. I tutor kids having trouble reading, sometimes adults too. Won't save the world but might make a difference in someone's life. I'm also supporting getting some new people elected in my state more in line with my own views.

Olga Hebert said...

SO nothing much actually changed while you had vacation. I had a busy week but then today caught up by listening to the week in review on public radio and it just put me in a very bad mood. I do believe in keeping up with the news because I do think that is a responsibility, to be an informed citizen. But it is hard to find objective news these days, it's too much time trying to sift through fact versus opinion. Discouraging what some choose to believe in spite of evidence to the contrary.

DJan said...

I follow the news online, but it's limited to the New York Times and Washington Post. Sometimes I try to go to other places, but it's so depressing. I also watch the PBS News Hour and Washington Week in Review on Fridays only. It's enough for me. I back off when I feel myself begin to despair about the state of my country. And I try very hard not to blame anybody, because it just doesn't feel very good to be angry all the time. :-(

gigi-hawaii said...

I read the morning newspaper every day as well as online breaking news. Not all news is bad. I like reading the health and science columns especially.

Tom Sightings said...

Well, I don't know if it's THAT bad. What strikes me is what Celia just wrote. You hear all the vilifying going on in national politics. And yet, when you get together with your local officials everyone seems reasonable and rational and often even nice, even about their differences. Maybe it's because on the local level you're dealing with real people who you might soon see again at a restaurant or school function, while online or on TV it's more of an image or stereotype or cartoonish version of reality . . . and so people let fly. I dunno.

Meryl Baer said...

I have stepped back from my old news-hungry self and avoid reading about and watching endless political stuff. I waver between not wanting to wade into the swamp and wanting to voice my concerns. I avoid political discussions with folks with opposing points of view - it is a frustrating, useless exercise.

Red said...

Your conclusion is key. as much as we dislike it we have to listen and then hold the silly news accountable and then the gangsters who rule accountable.

Jono said...

I think checking in once a week to see if anything has changed wouldn't be a bad idea. I read and watch too much "news". It only serves to aggravate me. Celia has the right idea.

Keep the Faith said...

We have way too many so called "news" outlets today who are competing for our attention. It's not healthy to immerse one self in what is being called news today. I have my own opinions and unless asked directly, I keep them to myself, I have to decide whether the person who is asking is really interested in what I have to say or just looking for a fight. I don't feel a need to justify, explain or defend them.

Bob Lowry said...

When my wife and I were in Europe on a river cruise we managed to avoid most of the noise that is so prevalent at home. Politics were rarely discussed over dinner, and everyone was pleasant with each other. Imagine, 200 people from different countries, all sharing an experience together without getting upset!
It was a much needed break from the frenzy.

joeyj said...


The government is corrupted, it no longer serves the people.
It has begun.
We will have a revolution.
It will be violent.
It will be ugly.
No one will win.
But it must happen.

Retirement Confidential said...

It's dangerous to believe the media itself is the source of our problems. The news is a reflection of life, and many of the things happening in life are distressing. Demonizing the media puts up a smoke screen so no one believes anything anymore and powerful people get away with corruption. Yes, news has changed, and now more than ever, one must be a discerning reader. I subscribe to the New York Times and The Washington Post. I compare and contrast, and I avoid click bait and other nonsense. I like the daily email summaries, which cover the basics and keep me reasonably well informed.

Salvador Ortega said...

Cable news is propaganda. Network news is entertainment. What little of it I see is intermittently looking at it while on the treadmill at the gym. It is really difficult to look at any of it for any period of time without getting irritated. I read the LA online and NY times online and Sunday print. I really appreciate the NYT's effort to present views across the political spectrum on significant issues. I do suspect, though, that the national level newspaper's culture reflecting what a recent Atlantic article called the New Aristocracy of the 9.9% (really more like big city and 95th %ile) may irritate those outside that demographic.

Kevin Green of Virginia said...

Good questions, Tom. I sigh when I read posts like that of Anonymous, above - and while understanding the discouragement the comments reveal, wonder if we're perhaps all too eager to vilify entire classes of people by hiding behind the cloak of anonymity. I spent almost forty years wearing the uniform of my country and do not hesitate to identify myself as a liberal - determined to do what I can to continue the historically liberal advancements of the country and people I love. And, at the same time, I'm a pretty conservative person - worried about the financial, environmental, commercial and moral state of the nation. I love your blog because it's articulate, thoughtful, beautifully written, and concerned about things that matter. It's time we all got over our own selves and communicated as a people with one another - and your medium is a fine place for that to happen.

vivici said...

thank you for sharing
obat kuat viagra
obat kuat usa
obat kuat asli
obat kuat original
obat kuat viagra asli
obat kuat viagra original
obat kuat viagra usa
jual obat kuat viagra

Snowbrush said...

I've heard of people going on a "news fast," and I've wondered what it would be like. I probably won't do it because I'm alone most of the time, and NPR keeps me company.

Tom, as far as I can remember, you're the only person whose comment on my blog inspired an entire blogpost.

Anonymous said...

I am an American man, and I have decided to boycott American women. In a nutshell, American women are the most likely to cheat on you, to divorce you, to get fat, to steal half of your money in the divorce courts, don't know how to cook or clean, don't want to have children, etc. Therefore, what intelligent man would want to get involved with American women?

American women are generally immature, selfish, extremely arrogant and self-centered, mentally unstable, irresponsible, and highly unchaste. The behavior of most American women is utterly disgusting, to say the least.

This blog is my attempt to explain why I feel American women are inferior to foreign women (non-American women), and why American men should boycott American women, and date/marry only foreign (non-American) women.

https://BoycottAmericanWomenNow.wordpress.com/

BOYCOTT AMERICAN WOMEN!

Kathy @ SMART Living 365.com said...

Hi Tom! You have attracted a number of VERY interesting comments on this post! As for news consumption, Thom and I gave up watching it on the TV years ago. This summer, Thom is off FB and all internet news and already in just a week, he says he feels so much calmer and at peace. Of course I am there to keep him informed if anything critical happens. But I am also very discriminating about where I access news and do my best to vet it before accepting it as true. There is a lot going on right now and I do believe it is important to stay engaged if there are actions we can do to help. But making ourselves crazy over things we can't change is madness. Learning that balance is "SMART" for us all! ~Kathy

Tom Sightings said...

Salvador: Good point. Kevin: Thank you. Snowbrush: Uh oh!

Rebecca Olkowski said...

The way I feel about it is that the news is important to stay on top of, but get it from legitimate outlets that focus on facts. I'm just finishing up a post on that. Otherwise, it's nice to get away from it and enjoy a trip without stressing over it.

David @ iretiredyoung said...

Most of the TV news now is just a ratings grabbing exercise in my view. Perhaps we should go back to when TV news was a 20 or 30 minute programme shown just a few times a day.

Karen D. Austin said...

For the same reason (vacationing) I have been detached from the news cycle for a few days here and there during the summer. Oh, it's so great for my sanity!I do think it's important to be an informed voter / consumer. But the 24/7 access to news stories can be relentless and doesn't necessarily translate to meaningful action but an alternation between depression and outrage. Thanks for sharing your respite from news.

Dr Purva Pius said...

Do not use all of these Private Money Lender here.They are located in Nigeria, Ghana Turkey, France and Israel.My name is Mrs.Ramirez Cecilia, I am from Philippines. Have you been looking for a loan?Do you need an urgent personal or business loan?contact Fast Legitimate Loan Approval he help me with a loan of $78.000 some days ago after been scammed of $19,000 from a woman claiming to be a loan lender from Nigeria but i thank God today that i got my loan worth $78.000.Feel free to contact the company for a genuine financial Email:(urgentloan22@gmail.com)