One thing that I got tired of was TV news. Think about it. It’s basically depressing to watch, and no matter what they do to try and change it, it’s mind-numbing trash that continues to perpetuate the idea that humans can’t think for themselves.
Note that I’m only talking about TV news. Maybe someday I’ll focusing on journalism as a whole, but still. I want to give you five reasons why TV news is not only a waste of time, but actually harmful to journalism.
1. It presents a bleak view of the world
One thing I learned about TV news is that it’s about making everyone feel bad. You’d be lucky to find anything good on the news, because on TV, the news relies on sensationalism and “shocking images” to draw people in.
Day in and day out, the news bombards us with wild stories of kidnappings, murders, violence, greed, and those nasty politicians we all hate. This is the world that news reporters occupy themselves with, but it’s not the world as it is.
The world is not all killers, rapists and evil people, but the news media would like you to think that is because it keeps you watching, and more importantly, it keeps you afraid of the world, and it also turns people against each other.
2. It teaches us to hate everything around us, including ourselves
Like reality TV, the news tends to make you angry about things that otherwise wouldn’t be important to you. The news ignores everything good about the world in favour of all things bad, and that makes people angry.
News stories have the power to make people hate anyone mentioned in them, unless that report makes them look good. And of course, since politics is nothing but opinion, the news can also get people talking about politics, but in such a manner that the ugliness of politics plays out in your own life, as in you find yourself arguing with good friends over an arbitrary subject that shouldn’t matter to you.
The last thing the world needs is more hatred caused by the news media, especially if it clouds your mind.
3. It actually makes you dumber
To most people, the news is meant to inform you and increase your knowledge, but they’re wrong. It makes you dumber because it inhibits your thinking powers. Thinking requires concentration, which requires uninterrupted time. The news is designed to interrupt that.
Also, the news actually has no explanatory power. What TV news reporters actually do is condense the world around them into small factoids in order to fit all the stories into a half hour. That’s not enough for you to learn anything.
The news also makes you dumber by twisting your perception of what’s dangerous and what isn’t. For example, the media throws the word “terrorism” around all the time, when in actually, almost no one in West has been killed by terrorism since 9/11. In the UK, no one has been killed by terrorism since 7/7.
The problem is that our brains are still stuck in the stone age, which means that when most of us see something bad happening, and we’re told it’s real, then we see it as a real danger, regardless of the likelihood of it actually happening.
4. Anyone on the news could have their own agenda
We all know about Fox News and their blatantly biased agenda, but just because they’re biased, doesn’t mean everyone else isn’t. My mom often told me that every reporter has their own bias. If I had been willing to investigate the meaning behind that phrase when I was 17, I would have found out that every TV news reporter is basically a sham.
Rather than simply reporting the facts, every news reporter tries to add their own bias and drama into the mix. What’s worse is that some TV news reporters can fool you into thinking their unbiased, when they may actually be biased themselves. What the newsmen try to do is sway you towards a way of thinking, and there’s nothing they won’t do in order to make sure that happens.
In the UK, most of our news outlets are populist, that means that espouse whatever beliefs are popular at the moment. Wherever you are, the news stations will never go broke appealing to the lowest common denominator. Unfortunately, this has led to age where we are hopelessly divided over petty politics, especially in America.
5. It’s just a waste of time
No matter what you believe, watching TV wastes more time than anything else you do. All you in this case is sit your ass in front the TV and watch random images unfold, while your mind erodes away.
In 30 minutes, you could have done anything. You could try your hand at writing a screenplay, go out for dinner if you had the money, or spend time with loved ones.
Besides, out of the tens of thousands of news stories you may have seen, did any one of them cause you to make decisions that improve your quality of life? If not, then maybe that’s because the news makes your life feel worse without actually having an effect.
Also, you can get what amounts to the same information by asking someone, or by looking on the Internet, so TV news should be extinct someday soon.
I’m not against journalism. After all, we need it. But journalism shouldn’t be about eroding people’s minds until we’re all passive slobs. It should be about questioning the status quo, expanding people’s minds, and exposing abuse of power. That’s what was back in the 70’s, but a lot has changed now.
Once we’re aware of the damage the news can do to our minds, and of how pointless it is, maybe we can evolve past it, and a whole new age of free thought may emerge.