No News is Good News

It would be hypocritical for me to tease you about this article, so, I do not watch the news because 1) it focuses primarily on the negative 2) I don’t like being teased 3) studies have shown that the news contributes to depression and 4) there is nothing I can DO with most of the news I hear about. ~Frank

No news is good newsThe news came on right after the opening ceremony of the Olympics and the first thing they reported were the two FLAWS in the performance. Wow. The news is negative enough but here was an opportunity to focus on the positive but the “news worthy” part were the mistakes. Not only that, they broke away from telling us more about the Olympic mistakes to tell of a local death. So, they actually are teasing the audience into watching longer so we can hear all about the blunder. Have you noticed the teases? A couple of days ago the weather man said a big storm was on the way, but he made a point of teasing us “Will it effect your morning commute” or will it be in the afternoon? He won’t tell us now, he’s going to tease us through the commercials. Often we are getting teased with bad news. Why do we take the bait? I could go off on a whole rip about that but for now I will ask you to think about YOUR reason.
Not surprisingly, studies have shown that watching the news contributes to depression. One researcher, sociologist John P. Robinson, who was involved in a Massachusetts 30 year study on the topic of television and its effect on our affect said, “TV doesn’t really seem to satisfy people over the long haul the way that social involvement or reading a newspaper does. It’s more passive and may provide escape – especially when the news is as depressing as the economy itself. The data suggest to us that the TV habit may offer short-run pleasure at the expense of long-term malaise.” So, no big shock there but I try hard to always back up my rants with scientific data – something BEYOND my own opinion.
The last reason I don’t watch the news is because there is nothing I can DO about most of the news I hear about. Someone was killed – “That’s terrible.” A Holladay convenience store was robbed – “How awful.” Okay, yes, now I know about it, but what am I supposed to DO about it? I wish they had news that just talked about the things I can do something about. Occasionally there is a morsel of something *I* can do about, such as an Amber Alert or giving to Haiti but what is interesting is that I usually hear about these opportunities through the grape vine. You might say “Well, what if everyone did that? No one would be informed.” True. I’m not in charge of everyone’s happiness, however – just my own.
One alternative I have found to televised news is reading headlines on news websites. This way I can pick and choose my news and don’t have to get teased through commercials. Not surprisingly, I do gravitate to and would recommend it to anyone that would like to focus on what’s RIGHT with the world.
~Frank Clayton, LPC

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