The Joys of Changing Your News Habits
I know two people that overdose on news on the opposite ends of the political spectrum. One is a woman who watches hours of MSNBC every evening. The other is a man in my office building that keeps FoxNews on during the entire workday in his office. I have had private conversations with both of these very bright people. They are both convinced that the other is attempting to destroy the country and that the information the other receives is biased and bogus.
Regardless of where your political positions fall, perhaps one thing we can all agree on is that it’s probably undesirable when fellow countrymen are so antagonistic towards each other. Even if you disagree with me on that last point, perhaps we can agree that it’s not healthy or productive to harbor such levels of vitriol.
I have been consuming increasingly less news, and I have been more selective about the outlets I consume them from (this includes Facebook, for my friends wondering where I’ve been). And I have to say I am a whole helluva lot happier and less distracted.
Although I love the New York Times and will defend the publication to its attackers, I must say that I’ve tired of the one-note coverage of the White House. I switched over to reading the Wall Street Journal and was shocked by all of the other news happening in the world. Wait…there’s stuff happening in the world not involving Donald Trump?
As it so happens, changing my primary news outlet was one of the best decisions I’ve made in the past year for my personal happiness.
I cannot recommend switching to business news as a primary information outlet enough. When they discuss politics, it’s from the perspective of how it might affect the world. You learn the top notes of what’s going on but there is no overkill. The international coverage is very robust, as is their tech coverage. You may not get to wallow in your political anger, but in my humble opinion, wallowing gets you nowhere but unhappy. But if wallowing is your thing, there’s always the Op-Ed page.
I am not 100% satisfied with the state of the world and cannot imagine anyone is. But I personally feel, while it might take more effort, that a healthier way of dealing with that angst is not to ruminate and further stoke resentments but to get involved. For instance, in my case, I got involved with the Anti-Defamation League as a result of last year’s drastic uptick in hate speech. We started covering Freedom Fighters on this blog, amazing social justice warriors, and how they’re improving society.
News consumption can be addicting. Changing your habits can be difficult. If this article strikes a chord with you, challenge yourself to 1-week of switching your habits, and let me know how you’re feeling afterward.