Thursday, April 28, 2011

No news is good news

I mean that literally. I hate watching the news. I hate reading it almost as much. Because as impartial and detached as any journalist tries to be, they can't help but spin a story for the maximum psychological tweak of the ignorant masses' need to be afraid of the bogeyman.

I say this despite the fact that I have a degree in Journalism.

The only time I really watch television news is when I am exercising. I'll tune in the local news for five or ten minutes while I am waiting for either a rerun of Friends or the New Adventures of Old Christine to come on. And in that five or ten minutes you can bet I'll hear the phrase "soaring gas prices" or "sagging economy" several times.

Television news is the worst purveyor of fear mongering there is. I know it is over simplification to blame a down economy on how it is reported, but I firmly believe that people hear some reporter spouting doom and gloom about unemployment and housing markets (based on a few lines the reporter has gleaned from a 300-page government report on trends) and they over react, creating self-fulfilling prophesies.

If the news isn't spouting doomsday scenarios, it is spouting inane information about nothing. Yesterday one of the local news channels reported that you could buy a dozen doughnuts at QFC for $7 via a Groupon coupon. Give me a fricking break. How is that news?

I know it is ostrich like to not want to emerse yourself in worst case scenarios. But hell, ignorance really is bliss. What good does it do for the average person to know whether the Dow is up or down on any given day? And I don't need a news report to tell me the average price of gas is almost $4 a gallon. I see it when I go to the gas pump.

It makes you wonder what people did before mass media and the Internet. Would a world without a constant influx of information really be so bad?


Nachtigall said...

Barry Glassner: Culture of Fear
I don't watch news anymore. I cherry-pick my news from the internet in an ostrich-like attempt to remain blissful and ignorant. ;p

Time said...

It's nice to know that a published sociologist gives a bit of credence to my rant :) I'll have to pick up the book. Thanks! And I try to pick and choose my news off the Web, too. But most of the major sites seem to sneak in the doom and gloom stuff on their home pages where I'm forced to pick at it scab like to keep my anxiety level topped off.