Do you watch the news regularly? Do you pick up a newspaper every day and read more than just the headlines? Do you have a favorite news podcast you never miss? Do you listen to NPR or other radio news programs on your way to work?
I honestly cannot remember the last time I watched the news on TV or read a newspaper.
My podcast choice is anything but “news-y,” and the radio in my minivan is usually switched over to a kid-friendly CD. The last time I watched the news or read a newspaper was most certainly prior to having children (6+ years ago).
As I was pondering this the other day, I was trying to come up with some really good reasons why I don’t watch the news or read the newspaper. I thought a nice 5-point explanation would really sum up my feelings, but try as I might, I just couldn’t get past two. Here are the two reasons I don’t “do” the news:
At this stage in my life, with two relatively young children, a few jobs, and a couple volunteer responsibilities, very simply put, I just don’t have the mental capacity for anything else.
Even though I don’t remember exactly when it was, what I DO remember about the last time I legit sat down to watch the local news, was that I walked away depressed, sad, and angry. Who wants to feel like that? All the self-help, personal development books preach at us to surround ourselves with positivity and generally good things and people and to shut out the negative forces that try to push through. I’ve got enough on my plate, I don’t need to be inundated with a 24-hour news cycle of all the other horrible things going on in the world.
All that being said, I am in no way uninformed.
You’re probably wondering how I can claim to avoid the news at all costs yet still consider myself informed.
Well, I’ll tell you. Facebook.
Cue the gasps and eye rolls. But before you go off in a tizzy and start commenting how horrible that is, hear me out.
I have enough Facebook friends to allow for a pretty diverse group: politically, religiously, economically, socially, culturally, etc. If there is something in the news that is legitimately worth my concern, at least one of my friends is bound to mention something about it on Facebook. That is, for example, how I came to learn of the recent outbreak of E. coli in romaine lettuce. I was informed of it, dealt with it, and moved on. I did not have to watch newscast after newscast talk about for a week.
I am not a gullible or impressionable adolescent. Or adult, for that matter. I have plenty of common sense, so when I see a friend post something that could be controversial or be heavily laden with opinion, I know where to look to learn more or get both sides of a story. Sources I know to be trustworthy. It’s important to know how to recognize fake news, whether that comes through Facebook or elsewhere. So really, I just use Facebook and my friends to clue me into the things that are worth a little bit of my time.