How many times a day can the news still be new? How much of it is news? An astonishing amount of it is speculation and conjecture. How much of it helps you assimilate it with any context or data?
January 27, 2014
News? What news? For the fifteen days I was in Chile, I was on ‘radio silence’.
Yes, I had an internet connection, slow and unpredictable, so I could have tuned into Morning Edition, a staple of my day every morning. I am a news junkie.
That’s null and void when I’m on vacation a few thousand miles away and in a different hemisphere to boot.
The day after arriving home, I turned the radio on for the first time in two weeks. Apparently, the world has gotten along just fine without me monitoring it. The war in Syria rages on. The Federal government is still a dysfunctional three-ring circus, polarized congress and all. People are still being arrested or killed for doing terrible things. François Hollande is having an affair and the French are actually making a fuss about it. The NSA scandal still has legs.
Aside from a few recent natural disasters, I didn’t really miss much. And it was really cathartic. Continuous consumption of bad news has a way of shaping my worldview. It’s corrosive - it tends to overshadow the good stuff going on all around me.
News has become a giant vacuum cleaner sucking up raw information, pasteurizing it and spitting it out. CNN has become a joke. Stories about Justin Bieber? Boy missing after crocodile attack? Where America’s Millionaires Live? Maybe it’s CNN’s idea of trying to spare us the horrid stuff but …Justin Bieber? Then later cover an attack on Aleppo?
There was a time when reading a newspaper once a day would do the trick. How many times a day to I need to hear the same stuff?
New plan: I’m going to balance my NPR by listening to Hollywood talk shows. A few Kardashian stories here, a Miley Cyrus story there, will leaven the rest of the news that is so damn gruesome.
The self-imposed news enema will lighten me right up. While I’m at it, maybe I’ll read People Magazine – that’s always good for a few cocktail party tidbits, light fare that will probably be appreciated by other guests who’ve been mainlining on NPR or CNN.
At first I was worried that I might not score too well when I listen to “Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me” with funny man Peter Sagal this weekend. Will I be able to answer many of the “Who’s Carl (Kasell) This Time?” limericks and smugly answer a bunch of current events questions in the “Lightning Fill In The Blank” rounds that ends the show.
Given the fact that the news cycle is so repetitive, I'll bet I'll be in the running - even with fewer MPH (minutes per hour) of radio.
I can live with that.