People Who Don't Follow The News

I’ve had quite a few discussions recently with friends of mine who have revealed to me that they don’t watch the news and, in fact, make an active effort to avoid it. This blows my mind. I just don’t understand why you wouldn’t want to follow world affairs.

On the other hand, I’m also unable to articulate why, exactly, you should… so I have a two-parter.

  • If you make an active effort to avoid the news, why?

  • What do I say to people who ask my why they should watch the news, considering that a lot of it ias depressing and repetitive?

I don’t watch the news, although I usually keep up by newspaper.

However, lately I have been avoiding the news, or at least limiting myself to the front section of the paper. It’s because I’m trying to find my first full-time job, and it is incredibly discouraging to see more bad news about the economy. I like to think that I put forth more effort in my job search when I haven’t read what the doomsayers had to say today.

I get most of my news from The Daily Show, so it’s neither depressing nor redundant.

I make a point of not watching local news. I do keep up with world and national news, though. Am even quite the news junkie at times.

I feel I was driven to boycott the local news here in Hooterville. I could only take so much drivel about football, and football fans. That’s all they seem to cover on the local news, and I began to really hate Hooterville because of it. That wasn’t right, and I knew it. (It’s not Hooterville’s fault that the local news sucks!) The thing that pushed me over the edge was when the local news bumped an extremely important National story to drone on about some college football coach (from another part of the state) who had quit. This was big news. This was so all-fired important.

That was it. I snapped. No more local news for me. I’m so much happier not knowing. I check local weather, and my sister will tell me if any roads are washed out, or if there is a serial killer on the loose.

I must spend hours with the news each day. Not only do I watch the traditional outlets such as CNN, but I read news magazines, newspapers online, opinion pages on the web, and magazines targeted to specific groups (such as AARP, NRA, etc.). I listen to NPR in the car. I research the news from all sides: secular and religious, Conservative and Liberal, etc. (Heck, I even watch the news portion of * The 700 Club * now and then.) Even if I disagree vehemently with the standpoint of a particular group, I want to know what “the other guy” is thinking.

What amazes me is that with so many resources available, some people prefer to be uninformed. My husband is an instructor at our local branch campus, so his students range from the traditional college-aged student, to older people returning to school to advance their careers. He routinely asks each class at the beginning of the quater how many watch the news or read a newspaper. Only a tiny percentage say that they do, but all have loud and firm stances on current issues (mostly gleaned from third-hand information.)

It upsets me a bit. I think that a good deal of the problems of this country stem from uninformed people shouting out uninformed opinions, and voting without really knowing what they’re voting for. (If they vote at all, that is.)

I think that the value of a person’s opinion is directly dependent upon how much actual information they have to draw upon to form that opinion. If you don’t know anything about the news, how can you possibly have an opinion about anything?

Depressing and repetetive? Maybe. Factual? Hopefully. Relevant? Absolutely.

The local news in the L.A. area just plain sucks. I refuse to watch it. Sensationalistic is kind of a mild word for it.

Plus, every time some liberal activist group gets two people arrested, it’s all over the local news, but let thousands of people peacefully protest abortion, and you can get no mention at all. This is not a hypothetical situation here. It was like it never happened.

I rarely keep up with the news. Not because it’s depressing or repetitive, but because there don’t seem to be any unbiased news sources any more.

The people that feel they make their own opinions based on what they read in a newspaper or hear from a talking head are fooling themselves because the media is only letting you know what they want you to know.

I’m far from a conspiracy theorist, but I’ve seen enough bias in the media to realize that it’s all bunk and to question their motives.

It’s something as simple as how a headline is worded, “Anti-Abortion protesters…” vs. “Pro-Choice advocates…”, or their tendency to skew statistics and even interview sound bites for their own ends.

I especially dislike their use scare tactics and sensationalism. I can’t even begin to say how many times I’ve left the TV on and gone do something else and in the background I’ll hear: “Eggs cause cancer? Story at 5!”, or “Escaped convicts in your area, Officer Letemescape gives advice on how to protect yourself…”, or some other such nonsense.

I didn’t know about the terrorist attacks in NY and PA and WA for several days afterward, and frankly I don’t see how not having seen the video clip of a plane hitting one of the towers 400 times makes me any worse a person.

You think the LA news sucks? Try Hooterville news (unnamed midwestern town where I am currently exiled). On a scale of suckitude, Hooterville news is near the bottom. I won’t say the bottom, because there’s always some place suckier.

At least I am used to the LA news. It may suck, but at least it has more to cover than just football. Ye gads.

I have a satellite dish which gets KTLA. I get to see Hal Fishman (who I think has some class) do the news each night. (Yes, I’m homesick.) The end of KTLA’s 10 pm news I sometimes go without, but gimme Hal any day.

I read the news online, but I don’t watch the news, mainly because I seldom watch TV.

This is one reason to read more - seek out alternative opinions. That’s why the internet is so wonderful - you can read Indian, Finnish, even Iranian dailies online.

**I’m one of those people that do not follow the news, and proud of it, too! **

I only read local news and background articles.

For three reasons:

1 News is not good enough.
2 News distorts our vision of the world
3 News is about things outside my circle of influence.

  1. Has been covered by other posters. Working for the government myself, I know how complex decisions come into being. History-ridden, haphazard, "human all to human"but also with the best of intentions and ability.
    When I read about these same outcomes in the press, I do not recognize a thing. News is grossly simplified to the point of outright lying.
    Winners and losers are appointed when that can only be destructive for the whole. The facts in matters of conflicting interest are distorted by spindoctors and the powers behind them to manipulate the public opinion (Yes, you, avid news watcher! You did not think those were your own opinions now, do you?).
    And lastly, sometimes news that will affect everyone is just not put on, because it is too complex.

News is about political scheming, war, rape, crime, disaster and passion (pswrcdp).
These things are (thank god) just not the stuff everyday life is made of. Life is about the little happy interactions, deeds, feelings and thoughts, remarks and little squirmishes within yourself and with the people around you. Little but important. Important to you. Even if pswrcdp hits in your life, the really important part starts .after after that the reporters have left. (This is the part where Ophrah usually comes in ) :wink:
News distorts that vision of the world. Not just brittle old ladies lock themselves in their homes after reading about the crime-rate. Not just daft people think their life are empty, if passion is something you have to work for instead of getting swept off of your feet by.
Not just frustrated trigger-happy men regard Achmed the local halal-grocer with suspicion after reading about U.S.-hate in Saoudia.
Not just pessimistic & cynical people think this world is a terrible place and progerss has brought us notning but misery.

  1. News is about things outside my circle of influence.
    Lemme put it this way:
    I do not watch the news. I try to be a wise & happy person to myself and those around me. I do volunteer work in my community. I write an occasional letter-to the editor about the very few matters I care deeply about and thus have made a well informed opionion about. Come election day, I inform myself efficiently and I vote.
    John X does watch the news. He gets himselve worked up about the situation in China and Africa. He rants to his wife, kids and friends about " why those ass-hole politicians cannot do a fucking thing right". Thus spoiling many a family dinner, and filling many a pleasant beer drinking evening. Come election day, he informs himself, (or not) and votes (or not).
    Same outcome, if you ask me.

So, Maastricht, am I right in thinking you haven’t heard of the little thing going on over in Iraq, then?

Television news certainly isn’t worth watching:

“People died today. World leaders expressed sympathy. And now, sport with Jim!”

“Thanks Brian! Major upset with an unexpected win today. The coach was celebrating in the locker room with his team. And now, weather with Kelly!”

“Thanks Jim! It may rain. Good night!”

It’s really just newsbites. And I really don’t have the time or inclination to bother with the internet news sites which are rarely unbiased, nor newspapers who seem to be on crusades, or the radio which is worse than the TV in meaningless and misleading nonsense. Waste of time.

And what I’ve realised is, it doesn’t matter if I know what’s happening, as it’s still gonna happen whether I am aware of it or not. It rarely affects me directly, and when it does, then I’ll find out when I need to.

I am generally aware of certain events through secondary sources (like for example, state elections are coming up here in Australia) but I don’t know details (like who is who or what they stand for or why they think they’re worthy of the job) and I don’t really care that much anyway.

Mass death happens globally constantly - there’s only so much sympathy you can express before it becomes meaningless, so I wait until it affects me directly.

I pretty much get all of my news here on the SDMB. Not only does someone post a thread about an important situation, but intelligent people actually discuss it, if you can imagine! On the news, I’d get a 30sec soundbite, and then on to the next talking head. I hate, hate, HATE pretty much all news sources, it’s just a constant barrage of negativity, and they seem to take any big subject and beat it to death. I can deal with online news sources, cause I can pick what I read.

I don’t know how people deal with listening to hour after hour of negative crap every single day. Not a thing you can fix, or affect in any way, but it all sucks. No wonder people are depressed.

I think I was permanently turned off about 7 years ago, when TWA flight 800 crashed. I was between school and job, so I was home and watched lots of CNN. In the middle of the day, every single freekin day, they’d stop the network and go live to the press conference, where the guy would stand there and say nothing, over and over again, because nothing new happened. An hour of nothing, or “we found a couple more bodies and some more debris.” GACK! How about one of your reporters listen to the conference and boil it down a bit? “Nothing new happened today.”

Ignorance is bliss

I get most of my news from and from the SDMB, and avoid television as much as I can. And sometimes I go toBBC News.

I stopped watching the nightly news and I let my newspaper subscription lapse about a year ago. The news about the faltering economy was getting to be a bit much on top of all the other negativity that gets reported. All the news of massive layoffs, store closures, the Dow Jones always being down, all the efforts to stimulate the economy failing, was making me feel less secure about the world around me. I think the fallout from what happened on 9/11 is what changed my attitude about keeping up on the news. I know that ignoring these problems won’t make them go away and I know that we’re having to be more vigilant about terrorist threats than ever before, but I have found it easier to sleep at night if I don’t have to go to bed thinking about what I just saw on the news a few minutes before. Even when there is something good to report the news will try to make it sound bad in some way. “Idaho’s jobless rate is down from last month…” (good, I’m thinking), “…but analysts say it may only be a short-term trend…” (well, so much for this being “good” news for once). If they tell me the jobless rate is up they never say that there’s hope that it will go back down again anytime soon.

I still check CNN and my local news web sites every now and then just to see what the latest things are, but I don’t make an effort to keep pace with all the latest breaking stories like I used to.

Where ignorance is bliss, 'tis folly to be wise.

Misquoting the words of Thomas Gray is the last refuge of those who refuse to take an interest in the world outside their own backyard.


Pretty much sums up way too many of my compatriots these days.

There is a spot-on-perfect answer to that in Things Can Only Get Better by John O’Farrell (British Journalist, Author and occasional comedy writer).

Normally my copy sits on my desk here at work and i’d quote it for you but (sod’s law) someone has borrowed it. Hopefully someone else out there will be able to dig it up.

People always say “ignorance is bliss” or “i don’t vote because it would only encourage them!” and think they are being deep and justified therefore in not keeping up with events, not voting etc. but if anything its these attitudes that make the world a worse place, not improve it.

</mini rant>

Anyway, as is probably obvious - i’m a news reader. i read two news publications -

The Daily Mail (Overtly right wing daily)

Private Eye (Left Leaning bi-monthly Satire)

I generally catch the BBC Breakfast news before i leave the house and i’m a regular visitor toBBC News Website