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Turn Off The News; You’re Becoming A Fat-Head

by John on 04/22/2013

That’s what Rolf Dobelli says.

In his book, The Art of Thinking Clearly, and in an essay, he contends that reading and watching the news does nothing for you.  It’s like eating fast-food for your brain.

Overall, I agree with him.

I disagree on two points:

  1. The media can warn you about something dangerous that is happening near you.  Sure, the media can get it wrong or exaggerate, but I’d rather be safe than sorry.  Again, my tip: follow reputable news agencies on Twitter for breaking news.
  2. Dobelli says, “The consumption of news is irrelevant to you. But people find it very difficult to recognise what’s relevant.”  I don’t think everyone is that beholden to news.  Has he seen the favorability ratings of the media?  And don’t forget the switch to online news from traditional news that is underway.

Still, Dobelli makes some good points that tie into Informed Not Inflamed.

He writes, “Media organisations want you to believe that news offers you some sort of a competitive advantage. Many fall for that. We get anxious when we’re cut off from the flow of news. In reality, news consumption is a competitive disadvantage. The less news you consume, the bigger the advantage you have.”  My take: who’s interpretation are you getting?; a sponsor, a political party?

He also says news is: passive; it kills creativity; and it wastes time.  Notice the advice he offers which is not far off from how I teach you how to read:

If you read the newspaper for 15 minutes each morning, then check the news for 15 minutes during lunch and 15 minutes before you go to bed, then add five minutes here and there when you’re at work, then count distraction and refocusing time, you will lose at least half a day every week. Information is no longer a scarce commodity. But attention is. You are not that irresponsible with your money, reputation or health. Why give away your mind?

He also echoes my theory about delving into good non-fiction.

Society needs journalism – but in a different way. Investigative journalism is always relevant. We need reporting that polices our institutions and uncovers truth. But important findings don’t have to arrive in the form of news. Long journal articles and in-depth books are good, too.

This is why Informed Not Inflamed is offering you the tools to get the right information — for yourself — while also allowing you to interpret and decipher the message or the distortion in our corporate controlled media.

Give this essay a read and then post your thoughts.

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