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Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Nov. 09 2012,19:29   

FWIW, low-info voters are the biggest problem with politics, but cable news is a big problem. Hell, 'news' itself is really a problem. I really should spend some time and research and develop this into an essay, but in the meantime i'll just toss out some idle thoughts.

99% of news is a waste of  your time.

let's go to cnn:
   American reaches deal with pilots
   Chrysler recalls 900,000 Jeeps
   Cop mistakenly killed by fellow officer
   Storm victims boo politicians | Photos
   Iran 'decisive' against U.S. drone
   Lakers fire coach after 1-4 start
   SEALs rebuked for aiding game maker
   Man convicted in school yard killings
   Teen killed playing soccer in Gaza
   Did climate change kill Mayans?
   Teen alive after 3 days in ravine
   Soldier surprises wife, daughter
   Tattoo artist banned at career day
   ABC star's mom denies abuse
   Boy, 11, saves little sis from pit bulls
   Review: 'Skyfall' is Bond reinvigorated
   'DWTS' co-host has cancer  
   Baseball has a new drug problem SI
   Porn star: 'We're being persecuted'

If you skipped every last one of those stories, what important information would you be deprived of? How is my life improved in even the most infinitesimal way by knowing that Dave Petraeus is leaving the CIA because he's an adulterer? 153,000 people die every day, I'm supposed to learn something important because one of them was a teenager in Gaza?

I'm not opposed to superfluous knowledge. I believe in a broad liberal education, a lot of reading, and important current events. But to occupy ourselves every day with trivial bullshit is a problem. I know, because I'm acutely aware of how my news-junkie habits have stolen a good fraction of my life.

I've taken steps over the years to fix my bad habits. Leaving AtBC was part of that. I was immersed in the ramblings of idiots like Dembski, Luskin, and Cordova upwards of 8 hours a day some days. For what? It would have been meaningful if I'd been an active warrior in Dover or something like that, but I wasn't one of the ones doing anything useful. It was amusing, but had a huge time cost.

News also has a cost, and it can be a big one. Frankly, I think it would be a better world if we had 30 mins of news per week. Something like The Week, where you get condensed explanations of the basics of a story.

Something related--I stopped watching the sunday shows years ago, because there was just never anything new. Dems go on and recite talking points I know, republicans go on and say either knowing lies or really dumb things they really believe, and the host doesn't call anyone's bullshit because they won't get invited to the next georgetown cocktail party. Just an utter waste of time. The last two months listening to pundits (as nate calls them, entertainers) babble about momentum, the president's shortcomings, etc. Just a waste of time, since demographics, the economy, and turnout were all that really mattered. The right wing was utterly shocked because their 'news' had them not just ignorant but ass-backward from reality, to the point that they were actually mocking nate silver, who tuesday night wound up with a garbage bag of scalps over his shoulder.

In this, and other ways, the news can be not just a waste of time, but actually harmful. I have relatives who will tell you that half the scientists believe in evolution but half of them don't, same with global warming, because that's what bullshit fake-objectivity requires journalists to present.

A quick note: I'm not lamenting some lost golden age. Golden age beliefs are nearly always bullshit. In many ways the media world is infinitely better than it was decades ago. But like Sturgeon said, 90% of everything is crap. I need to develop better habits and avoid the crap more. In an hour of wikipedia wandering, you would easily, easily learn more interesting and useful information than an entire week of cable news.

edited So I can Haz Speling rite.

Edited by stevestory on Nov. 09 2012,20:35

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