Want to feel better about life…switch off the news

Breaking news is bad for you

6 mins

News is everywhere, completely ubiquitous and difficult to avoid. We have news not just in our living rooms and radios anymore. News is being “pushed” to us via alerts on our smart phones.

"with the odd Farage style gaff or freudian slip"

We are now subject to “breaking news”. News so new that it’s still in its primordial form with potential to shock. We now get warnings with our news, boasting that the following news report may be upsetting, “really wow, must be bad”.

Furthermore, our news is now wider and more global than ever.  We are used to British elections being covered in-depth and with warts and gaffs galore, however a French Election or German Election. Comprehensive coverage minute by minute, with full bios of all the main runners. Especially the far left and right candidates, presumably because they are overtly opinionated and might provide “good viewing” with the odd Farage style gaff or freudian slip to boost viewing numbers.

The BBC, the stalwart of British fair play in getting its hands dirty too. It seems that everything is getting coverage on the BBC news channel these days. Except that they shy away from covering news stories closer to home,  John Humphrys salary debacle perhaps, or Laura Kuenssberg’s relentless hounding by Labour supporters. Hmmm, you don’t see those stories coming up in the BBC news feed that often.

You have to ditch “the beeb” to see “whole of the market” news. Perhaps there is a better balance of news on Russia Today, Al Jazeera or Fox News?  Actually, I bet Al Jazeera rarely mentions poor Saudi human rights records.

Type in “murdoch is a crook” into google and oddly none of the hits are from Murdoch platforms. Does that mean that News Corp doesn’t care or want to rebut the spurious claims, or perhaps Google just hasn’t found those pages to show.  Perhaps we’ll be safe with The Guardians news coverage.  

News is literally everywhere. It’s in our airports and railway stations and even playing in the foyer of where I work. Everyone is braced and expecting the next great disaster, act of terror or political landslide. We have news coverage on the ground as it is happening. People are still burning in Grenfell as Sky reports it…live.

Isn’t there something wrong with this?

News that was once informative and thought provoking has morphed into a livewire emotional roller coaster. News stories are becoming ever wilder constantly upping its shock value anti. And I think its having a profound effect on the health of the nation.

Let face it most of the news we see is bad news.  Terror attacks, natural disasters, urban degradation, falling currency, lack of investment and crazy Kim Jong-un frightening the Americans.  Sure we get sport news to balance the doom and gloom and perhaps the weather, but this is the UK and that’s usually gloomy too.

So here is a radical thought…don’t listen to it. Switch it off. Remove the apps from your phones and computers.  Don’t allow yourself to randomly consume news stories. Seek out the news you want. Instead of general news, get information cleaned from news stories. Save your emotional faculties for issues and events that concern you directly.  

You will feel better. Maybe not so connected, but heck is it really that important to know that Canada has signed a trade deal with the EU? Or that Tinder has been hacked and millions of personal account details have been lost. If you are not Canadian or do business with Canada or don’t use Tinder or any dating site then who cares. Its irrelevant, forgetaboutit. If you are not an Uber driver in London, then why are you bothered? Don’t be.  You don’t need the mental pummeling of dour and misery when the effects don’t concern you.

Sure it’s a cold thought, but perhaps a realistic one. I am not saying that you should turn a blind eye on issues that strike a chord, but I am saying pick your fights and discard the fluff.  The fluff is depressing people, keeping them up at nights. Removing hope and optimism and for what purpose.

The news grind is big business and primarily a side effect of selling advertising.

No thanks. Don’t want it. Switch it off.

Last updated on: 26 Sep 2017 11:29 AM

News Turn it off