Why I No Longer Watch The News
“It’s the terror of knowing what this world is about…”-Queen and David Bowie, Under Pressure
A few years ago I stopped watching the news. I stopped reading the tabloids too. I can’t pinpoint precisely when I stopped, but it may have been just after the tragic story of Alan Kurdi. There are no words to affectively express how heartbreakingly tragic his story-and others like him- was. That in itself was awful enough. But it was the way in which the story was handled and the poor souls image was used for both political leverage in the press and confirmation of the general public’s individual apparent goodness that had me incensed.
I mean, do you really need to make a bold declaration across social media about how terribly sad you are (tear face emoji) when something awful such as that occurs? Because of course you are! Everyone is! Why then drape someone else’s tragedy across yourself like some gruesome sash of compassion? Why mindlessly share the image of a dead child to merely confirm your goodness to yourself and others? Where is the sensitivity and tact? Where is the respect?
It was obscene
And I felt myself begin to fold under the weight of all of the horrific implications of that story (which could not be gotten away from. Everywhere I looked during that time period the image of a drowned child was there) in addition to the other horrors and evils of the world.
It was completely and utterly despairing.
Although that is about the closest I can pinpoint to an actual turning point for me when I actively chose to avoid the news wherever I could, my decision to limit my news consumption as much as possible was actually a gradual process. I had steadily over time become less and less able to bare hearing about yet another murder, rape, violent attack, tragic accident, violation of human rights, incident of terrorism, corrupted polition (or other person of power). I switched the channel more and more (“I just cant”) and gradually read less and less newspapers
I was already struggling greatly with the much lesser level of everyday nastiness I was witnessing as I went about my daily life. The second I stepped out into the street it seemed evidence of people’s selfishness, thoughtlessness, ignorance, shallowness, rudeness, pettiness, cruelty and spitefulness was all around.
Forever sensitive especially toward cruelty and violence, my depression feasted.
It seemed as if that’s all the world consisted of. And I felt myself genuinely begin to loathe People
I despaired. Completely. The world was a hopeless lost cause in my mind
The blatant bias of each and every journalist and news outlet had me raging and bitter too. Journalists were supposed to be fair, almost neautral. A responsible journalist was supposed to report ALL elements of a situation, not pick and choose which aspects best suited the agenda of the network or tabloid they worked for. They were influencing the stance and attitude of general public, setting the tone of a country who seemed more than content to be spoon fed the views of the BBC and Channel 4 and spew it back up rather than forming their own opinions. How were they getting away with this? The extent of the corruption in the press at large gradually became apparent to me and I realised not a single one of them could be trusted.
Fact was, the news was draining me greatly of my already limited emotional and mental energy as well as causing me to have an alarmingly bleak view the world and the majority of the people in it. And it was pointless. Futile. A waste of myself. I couldn’t change these things, not any of it. For one thing I simply didn’t have the strength of mind to do so. It was beyond my control. So I let it go. Deciding that my children and those around me needed my energies more. Hell, I needed my energies more!
Of course,I’m not completely unaware of what’s going on the world. I’m not ignorant. Or stupid. And what’s more, it’s impossible to not have some awareness in this day and age. Advancements in technologies such as phones and social media means we get constant, continuous,headlines and updates often in real time from all around the globe ( I question how healthy this constant barrage of world events is for anyone tbh). But-in an act of self-preservation- I have whittled my consumption right down to as much of the bare minimum I possibly can. I don’t watch news on the TV at all.
It’s not an ideal solution. It is an avoidance tactic and I wouldn’t really reccomend it as a long term solution. But you know what? It’s helped me a lot. I feel a great burden has been lifted.
I’m in a much much healthier place for it and for me right now, that’s all I care about