Quit the News

Co-signing this article found on Raptitude:

The news isn’t interested in creating an accurate sample. They select for what’s 1) unusual, 2) awful, and 3) probably going to be popular. So the idea that you can get a meaningful sense of the “state of the world” by watching the news is absurd.

Their selections exploit our negativity bias. We’ve evolved to pay more attention to what’s scary and infuriating, but that doesn’t mean every instance of fear or anger is useful. Once you’ve quit watching, it becomes obvious that it is a primary aim of news reports—not an incidental side-effect—to agitate and dismay the viewer.

Curate your own portfolio. You can get better information about the world from deeper sources, who took more than a half-day to put it together.

I quit watching TV news (and reading the more opinionated news sites) several years ago and I can attest that my life, outlook, and – I truly believe – knowledge of the issues have improved. I used to watch daily news shows that mirrored my liberal preference and thought they were rationally informing me, unlike those ‘other’ news shows. All it took was a month-long media break to clear my head and, upon returning to TV, see these shows for what they were. I was surprised to realize they were just as alarmist, loose with the facts, and conflict-oriented as their conservative counterparts.

How do I stay informed? I subscribe to two fine email newsletters that I read on my lunch break: The Week’s 10 Things You Need To Know Today and Vox’s Vox Sentences. If there are any stories in those that I want to learn more about then I’ll easily find additional articles for a deeper dive. I try not to read news any earlier than the afternoon as my mornings are sacred, dedicated to setting the day’s tone and working undistracted on my most important tasks.

I highly recommend quitting the news.

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