First off, I’d just like to mention that I rarely watch the news, In this article I’ll explain my opinion on why mainstream news is harmful, depressing, unproductive and passive. Some of you may disagree with me, that’s fine, but I do think it’s an issue.
So, why is mainstream news not worth watching?
News Agencies are in Crisis Already
News media, including agencies, have traditionally been the maker of the most trustworthy and reliable news.
But today the scenario is stepping ahead differently; news agencies are threatened by growing access to informal news sources through digital media with declining trust in traditional media institutions.
The biggest depressing thing is how the news agencies are funded these days. By state? By political parties? Or by some rich hands?
Mainstream News is Depressing
The reason I decided to write this post was due to a thought that came into my mind one evening. I sat down and watched the news as I was eating dinner with my parents. The top three main stories in the first 30-minute bracket of news consisted of deaths, sickness, and violence. By 6:30pm there had been not one positive story, nothing that gave me the slightest bit of warmth inside. In fact, apart from one or two very minor stories (that weren’t even important nor did I care to hear about), the only positive thing was the sports results. I asked for some opinions from people on certain forums and got some responses to this key point:
- “It has a negative and depressing effect on me, I can only speak for myself.”
- “Some news is depressing, mostly from the more crappy sources. The good stuff is as negative or positive as life is in general.”
- “News is neutral. To be enraged or sad or (whatever) about an event is our choice, or simply to accept that this is part of ‘what is’ and go on with our lives. Most people choose emotional response because it makes them feel engaged.”
The first quote is plain and simple, to the point. I’m sure many other people agree with that point, even though for me personally, the news doesn’t have an effect on me, I still find it generally depressing in a wider sense, meaning that I can see how people get emotionally affected by it. The second opinion is interesting, and leads well on to the last opinion that says: “News is neutral,” which I partly agree with. Ultimately it does come down to the person watching/reading the news, and their type of personality, thoughts, emotions, etc. Even from gaining opinions from others, I’ll still stand by my original statement, in that news is generally depressing, it makes more sense to me to avoid the news rather than watch it, I’ll give you a hypothetical example:
- A middle-aged man called John recently went through a distressing period in his life, where his mother died.
- John is just starting to recover emotionally and mentally from the event, and beings his journey back to normal life.
- One evening, John decides to watch the news.
The lead story is about a woman (mother) and her friend dying in a car crash, this causes John to lose it again, and travel back to that place of emotional stress and negativity.
It’s all very well to say that there are more things than just the news that remind us of certain events in our lives, that’s true. John could have easily avoided this situation, by not watching the news.
Watching the News isn’t Going to Change Anything
I’m sure most of you have seen items on the news, or articles in the newspaper that make you think “That’s so sad, no one deserves to live like that,” or “If only that man could afford to pay for his kid’s education”. The problem with thoughts like these, is first of all, they’re negative, second; they make us seem like we’re unable to help (sometimes we are, I’ll get too that), and they cause us to be more and more passive.
I’ll use an example, which I’m sure many of you can relate to. No doubt you’ve seen the news items or stories about poverty in third world countries, lack of water, food, etc. We see this so much that it becomes less of an issue, we fall into the ‘That’s just the way it is” mindset. Watching the news isn’t going to somehow make their life better, and I mean sure, it has its good points, news increases awareness, but it also promotes guilt. It’s a given that most people know about organisations such as World Vision, who help provide basic living needs for those living in poverty, if you really wanted to help towards change, you’d give to a fund.
Watching News is Generally Unproductive
News and television are generally a waste of time, obviously with the exception of certain educational programs and news that is relevant to us (television is a great stress reliever for some). The problem is that some people become addicted to the news, they need the information overflow. Of course, it’s important to be aware of what’s going on around us, but I think it’s a bad idea to receive awareness through mainstream media/big news corporations, who are notorious for being biased towards whom they are marketing to. I asked for a public opinion on what people thought about mainstream media and got this:
- “I think is it manipulative garbage designed to push agendas onto the public”
- “If you mean that which is on my local news channel, utterly useless and dumbed down beyond belief. Avoided entirely.
- “Mainstream news = something I avoid”
I did go a little off track there, but what the point I’m trying to express is that mainstream news is an unreliable source, and this definitely relates to productivity. We are all wasting our time watching the news if we are to agree with just one of the quotes displayed above. Feel free to get your news off the internet, it’s a great idea, as you can choose the category of news you want to hear about.
All in all, I personally believe that news isn’t necessary, and should be avoided when it comes to the mainstream. But there are certainly some benefits if you have your reasons for following it. I’d love to hear your opinion, please comment below with your thoughts!