Should You Go On A Media Fast Because the News is Depressing?

This seems to be all the rage. If you look at news headlines on any given day for at least the last year, you should probably expect the Second Coming this afternoon. The media is full of dire predictions. Some people, in an effort to not be depressed, have decided to start a “media fast”. Michael Hyatt, CEO of Thomas Nelson, just posted yesterday about his media fast, and his Twitter posts reflect the newfound joy he feels from such fast. In this regard, I feel like I’m so far ahead of the curve that nobody will ever catch me. Somehow, I figured out a while back that the “liberal media”, or “mainstream media”, is full of it. Occasionally, they report on something useful, but for the most part, it’s either sensationalism or an attempt to get you to tune in so that they can sell advertising. “Will your children’s’ school bus kill them? Tune in at 11!” Sure, the story runs at 11:23 and takes 20 seconds and has something to do with a badly placed stop sign, but in New Jersey all the stop signs are in bad places so that really isn’t news.

My wife hates the fact that I won’t watch the local weather. She doesn’t like the Weather Channel much. Come to think of it, neither do I. I’ll take them more seriously when they start holding “Global Warming” conferences from cold climates in the middle of winter to show us how much warming is actually taking place. That’s not the focus of my post. I hate the local Philly stations because as far as I’m concerned, they don’t report on “news”. They report on “sports and murders, murders and sports” followed by mindless public interest stories. I’ve tuned in too many times to find a live shot of a sports reporter at 5 AM in the hallway of a hotel saying something like “One of the Eagles is sleeping in THAT ROOM!” Oh, wow! A football player is SLEEPING! Dude, I’m so glad I have a job that I get up at 5 AM for so I can watch NBC 10 report like this! What a great use of my time this early in the morning! I saw the door to a hotel room that an Eagle slept in!” I’m so glad that NBC10 Philadelphia doesn’t show up when I travel. “A local engineer is sleeping in THAT VERY ROOM! In just 3 hours, he’ll be discussing hardware requirements with a vendor!”  I ignore the local news. I don’t care much for the national news networks either, including Fox News, which I call “The other party line”. Of course, if the fecal matter hits the rotary ventilation device, I do prefer Fox News until they find a way to spin the story.

For the most part though, I ignore the major news organs. I follow some blogs in Google Reader, and scanning through them provides me a representative sample of important information. Somehow, if something is important enough, it comes to my attention, then I can start following leads and performing my own analysis. I honestly don’t like “Christian” and “conservative” news organs either. They’re worse than the “liberal” news organs, because it seems like all they do is whine. When I get an “urgent news update” from a “conservative” news site (how do I get on these email lists?), it almost always starts out with something like “The liberal media is ignoring our issues!” Oh, wow, isn’t that why it’s the “liberal” media? How is that news? I’ve seen that same headline for years. It’s not new. Doesn’t the word “news” imply something that is “new”? “Best Buy won’t say ‘Christmas’, they’ll only advertise ‘holiday’!” OK, it sucks, and it’s intellectual cowardice, and it’s really idiotic considering that Best Buy would collapse into Congressional bail-outs if not for CHRISTMAS SHOPPING, but how is it news as it happens every single year?

I don’t accept news from anybody who assumes that they’re smarter than me, or assumes that I won’t know what I’m doing until they tell me what to do. Somehow I’ve ended up some the mailing list of something called “Christian Response” that sends me a whine every day about bail-outs demanding that I “Blast fax” every single Congressman by conveniently using the link within their email. Sure, they’ll all pay attention to that. I’m sure that Congress-parasites like form junk mail as much as I do, and their highly paid staffs are just dumb enough to accept it. NOT! I happen to know that they practically ignore anything from any non-constituent who isn’t a member of a highly-financed lobbying group. I also don’t accept news from any organization that sends me email without any remembrance on my part of ever having singed up for that email (like Christian Response).

The news doesn’t depress me. If anything, it’s a good laugh. Think of it, the same “experts” running around like Chicken Little claiming that the economic sky is falling were on the same news stations 6 months ago telling us that everything is going to be fine. Either they’re lying to us, or they are idiots to start with, and the news stations are even bigger idiots for continuing to allow them airtime. Like I said, if it’s important enough, I will gather the facts and perform my own analysis. I never accept news from anybody who tries to tell me what I should think, except for maybe Dave Ramsey. Even then, I analyze the facts that he presents and draw my own conclusions.

You don’t need a media fast. Just do your own thinking for a change. Accept that the headlines are written to draw your eyes in, and are just as susceptible to false advertising as those “make millions in Real Estate with no money down, no experience, and no actual work” infomercials. Problogging sites say that you should write blog headlines to draw eyes to your post. I’ve never been to journalism school, but somehow I imagine they teach a similar technique.


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