Mar 30, 2011

Posted by in Articles, Energy & Chakras, Health & Wellness, Self-Care | 2 Comments

Why I’m No Longer A News Junkie

Why I’m No Longer A News Junkie

I used to set my clock by the Today Show. If I didn’t need to be anywhere earlier, and wasn’t already on the way to work or something, I would get up and switch on the t.v. to the Today Show at precisely 7:00 am. Then I would log in to cnn.com multiple times during the day to make sure I was “caught up” on any breaking news.

I felt like I knew what was going on in the world; felt like I could start a conversation about the latest breaking headlines; and I felt like this knowing gave me some kind of control over this messy world of ours, or at least my little part of it anyway.

But, over time, cracks began to show in my plan. First of all, I had long known that what passes as “news” is a very subjective, and often very “negative” thing. (In fact, I refused to let my husband watch the late night news in bed because it was so grim that I often had trouble falling asleep.) Bad news seems to sell, as became clear some time ago when news organizations started running ads for their broadcasts saying things like, “You’ll never believe what you have around your house that could kill you!? Watch tonight at 7 to find out.” The hysteria of these ads always amused me. I felt like saying, “So you’re telling me there’s something so risky lurking in my home that it could end my life, but you want me to wait four hours before you tell me? What if that’s not soon enough to save me?”

There were other instances, too, where it seemed that news organizations really milked a tragic situation for days, when there really was nothing newsworthy left to say. I remember, for instance, the anchors from the Today Show broadcast live from Virginia Tech for the better part of a week after the tragic shooting there. I stopped watching for a few weeks out of protest.

But then I started watching again. I felt kind of shaky not knowing “the latest” goings on in the world. But, gradually, I realized that the “news” is really so subjective, so negative, and so narrowly focused (certain crimes, for instance, get much more attention than others because of the identity of their victims and where they fit into the country’s social hierarchy) that it really isn’t all I had made it out to be. I could still be lacking knowledge about all kinds of important things because news organizations didn’t find them newsworthy.

And I also noticed how watching the news started to make me feel. Starting every day with a list of the terrible things that are happening out there just left me feeling bad. And, as a parent, I noticed that shows like the Today Show (which must have discovered that most of their viewers are parents) seem intent on scaring parents at every turn. They love to give tons of attention to stories about abducted children, kids snorting household products to get high, cyberbullying, etc. Not to say that any of those things aren’t important, but it also started to feel like I shouldn’t be starting every single day with thoughts of these things, because the actual chances of abduction, for instance, are so much lower than the media would seem to like us to believe.

I believe that life is about energy and that we are responsible for the energy we put into the world. I started to feel like it was taking too much energy for me to get back into a positive frame of mind after watching the news. And I realized it wasn’t the energy I wanted to start my day with.

This isn’t to say that I disregard what’s going on in the world, completely. Quite the contrary, in fact, because now I pay attention to the things that really matter, rather than getting caught up in an endless loop of negativity about things that really may not be worth my time.

The whole Charlie Sheen debacle was the final nail in the coffin of my regular news viewing. When his rants became the leading stories on the morning, evening, and midday news, I knew I wanted to put my time and energy into other things.

So now I wake up and scan the headlines in the newspaper, play with my kids free of background noise, and go on with my day free of the mental entanglements that watching the morning news brought me. I have a few on-line news sources I scan from time to time (maybe a few times a week), and I watch 60 Minutes or other shows that give more in-depth coverage to stories (rather than only soundbites). But my days aren’t punctuated by constant breaking news updates. And I feel a lot better. I’m still engaged enough to know what is going on in the world, but I’m not a slave to the latest “update.” I’m in charge of the energy I start my day with (and keep throughout the day). And my energy is higher and my mind clearer now that I don’t focus on the latest “breaking news.”

  1. I had to stop watching TV news years ago, because I was always talking back to it and irritated about what they do and don’t cover. But I enjoy getting news from NPR, the local paper, and some of the newsfeeds and stories posted by friends on Facebook. There, I get lots of thoughtful news coverage that I can share with my students. I also still enjoy watching _The Daily Show_ – the only TV news worth watching, IMHO, is fake news.

  2. Sharon- I agree completely– although I’d also add The Colbert Report to your list. Have you seen it? It’s fab.

    And your Facebook news feed is a great source of information to me. So thanks for linking to such great things!

    xo,
    Ali

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