Tuesday, December 13, 2016

No TV news

Daughter Number Three wrote a post about the idea of giving up television news and linked to a brief account from someone who’s done just that.

Elaine and I haven’t watched a minute of cable news since November 8. The only television news we have watched: the PBS NewsHour episode that paid tribute to Gwen Ifill. Our not watching benefits our mental health and serves as a private (and inefficacious) act of protest. CNN and company gave one presidential candidate scads of free airtime, treated another as an inevitable nominee, and utterly marginalized the campaign of a third. (I bet you can guess who’s who.) So include us out. There is plenty of news to be had from The New York Times and NPR and other sources in print and (motionless) pixels, minus hack pundits and false drama. I have in mind CNN’s disconcerting “Breaking news!” announcement, followed, almost always, by yet another rehash of an already reported story.

I realize only now how my weekdays had fallen into a pattern before the election: do things, various things, all day, and then put the news on in the late afternoon and feel besieged. I dread what the next four years might mean for my country, but I don’t need a television to know about it.

Reader, have your news habits changed since the election?

[Full disclosure: I will most likely go back to the PBS NewsHour, but not anytime soon.]

comments: 4

Matthew Schmeer said...

I'm with you, Michael. I have literally not intentionally watched broadcast or cable television news in about 7 years. I get all my news NPR, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The Christian Science Monitor, and The Chronicle of Higher Education. It helps to create personal feeds in an RSS reader. I also check Google News on a regular basis, especially the Science and Technology sections to see what news of the day I might have missed in my other browsing.

I swear, TV news isn't news. It's entertainment at the expense of others.

Chris said...

I avoid TV news like the plague, except in the case of major natural disasters, where TV still does a better job than the web. The chipper local news anchors may be even more nauseating than the national news people. My only change since the election has been to resume my lapsed print subscription to the Nation. I don't always agree with its editorial standpoint but it's one of the few remaining independent outlets for real journalism.

Slywy said...

I was never much of a viewer of TV news, but I haven't watched since, years ago, I was standing in the cafe at work watching a mildly amusing story read by a woman whose main journalism qualifications seemed to be that she was blonde and impeccably coiffed and manicured. When she moved on to the next story, she couldn't get rid of the insipid grin she was wearing. Unfortunately, the next story was about the murder of several children.

Fresca said...

This past week I got a notice from the Economist, my main source of world news, saying my subscription is about to expire.
I thought, fine, I'll be better off without it for a while.

For me it's a fine balance between being informed enough to care and being so informed that I'm paralyzed with despair.

Last night I went to see the new Star Wars, Rogue One, and instead of the franchise's usual fantasy-world violence, this movie's scenes looked like war zones on Earth today.
When it looked like footage from Aleppo, I felt so sad, and it felt so exploitative, I got up and left.