Episode 41: The News Makes You Stupid, So Ignore It

Over Thanksgiving weekend, I stopped watching news, checking Twitter, and binging political podcasts- which I’m pretty sure upped my IQ by a solid 20 points. I didn’t even spend extra time reading, writing, or listening to classical music. I just decluttered my mind for a few days and feel so much clearer now.

I think there is a ripple from how the news makes us feel individually to the ills we see at a national level in America today.

“If people in the media cannot decide whether they are in the business of reporting news or manufacturing propaganda, it is all the more important that the public understand that difference, and choose their news sources accordingly.”

-Thomas Sowell

Individual: I feel my blood pressure spike when watching main stream outlets, even if it’s people I agree with, because that’s what it’s intended to do. That’s not healthy. I switched more to podcasts because the format is less conducive to the short segments of outrage that the MSM does to maintain viewership, but it’s still so often top of mind. It’s important to be aware of the news around the world, but watching the news is not necessarily the best thing.

Family & Friends: Not only does politics divide family and friends now, but the news outlet you watch does. The siloing of ideas to ideology is dangerous, but to present one as news is utterly, and purposefully, destructive. This divides people along fanatical lines rather than allowing people who should love each other to unite despite these issues.

Community: What happens to families and friends occurs in communities as well as the people segregate by ideology. This makes it hard to be a minority viewpoint in any place, so people become more entrenched, which reinforces the ideology and pushes out any disagreeing viewpoint.

America: Now, since we have nowhere to turn in our personal lives- family, friends, community- we turn to the national politics, social media, or mainstream outlets to find a tribe. Instead of falling into a tribe that has disagreements, scuffles, and other struggles, we find ourselves in a tribe based on an ideology shared by people online or on TV that we will never meet.

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