If we take a step back what is the purpose of the News? Down to its very core, what helps news make money? Since newspaper sales are on the decline, selling the news directly to the consumer is a dying form of income. So the way News keeps afloat is through advertisements. Keeping your attention, keeping you engaged with watching, reading, to effectively sell you more ads. That is the core job of the news. Remove your old ideals about informing its citizens and educating the masses on current events, that is what the news used to be. That’s a romantic’s way of looking at why the news exists, lets get real the news primary job is to sell ads now.
The local and world news is now a form of entertainment, not education. Because the masses don’t want to think, learn, they want to relax, build anxiety and share that anxiety with their friends, family and work colleagues. It’s called socialising and gossip. What’s the best form of gossip, problems and fear. The more you talk about the news, the more you rely on it for your social groups, the more you watch it the more ads you watch. Boom the cycle continues and you are now the product because you never had to pay for it in the first place. If you’re not paying for something then you’re the product, not the customer.
Knowing what’s happening in the world is vital, it’s important. Otherwise, you’d be an ignorant uneducated citizen. Wrong, if something is life, country or work threatening, then you will be informed by your family, friends and work colleagues. The bonus is you will only be given the highlights. Let everyone else do the hard work and sieve through the bullshit to give you the best info. Then after that do a little bit of diligence if you must and research it your self if it’s that important to your livelihood. Otherwise, who gives a shit.
The News can course, stress, fear, anxiety and as a result depression, higher blood pressure and a lower immune system. It can also turn you into an extremist by throwing you down an echo chamber of one-sided opinions. The news can also help with entertainment, procrastination and form social groups. But so can a book, movie or hobby, without all that stress, fear, anxiety, polarisation and social demise.
I haven’t watched the local or world news since the Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011. I only watched that because New Zealand was on a tsunami warning (big fuck’n wave of destruction). After culling news from my life, I have more time, I’m more relaxed and stress-free. I’ve found that I’m better informed and have a better understanding of current events from reading about history and philosophy while being informed by my social groups. I have the ability to take a step back when a family member or friend tells me about a current event. I can be subjective, instead of reactive emotionally. Which in turn keeps me more grounded and stress-free, because everything under the sun has happened before. Educate yourself with a bit of history and you’ll come to realise that issues today have been around for thousands of years, they just change the cover art they present themselves in.
Let me put it this way, would the world end? Would you die if you stop consuming the news? Is your livelihood dependent on consuming the news? If the answer is no to these three questions, then let it go. Find a more productive task to do with your time. Or at the very least a more entertaining form of relaxing, like reading, going for a walk, learning something or watching a movie or TV show, on a subscription platform. Because remember if you’re not paying for it, then you’re the product.
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