Why I Don’t Watch the News

Growing up, the news was a constant in our home. If we were at home during the day, my mom would always turn on the news at noon (unless we got to the tv first and changed the channel to The Flinstones then begged like crazy to watch it!) and, after dinner each night, the first thing my dad would do after reading the newspaper was turn on the 6 o’clock news. As I got older, I realized that the 11 o’clock news was also part of my parent’s nightly ritual.

I continued watching the news as I got older. I remember when I was at university (and we loved pulling all-nighters – something I don’t think I’m even wired to be able to do anymore!), living in residence and we found ourselves glued to the television all night watching the standoff in Waco, Texas between David Koresh and the Branch Davidions and US government agents. It was horrifying and, yet, we were drawn like moths to a flame. At the time I didn’t realize it, but the media coverage was causing me an inordinate amount of stress.

As I grew older, I became more aware of world news in other formats. The internet grew and stories of horror were not on the television, the radio and the newspaper, but were also apparent each time I checked my web-based email. I could spend hours each day learning about terrible tragedies around the world (such as the recent Yahoo news article about 49 Headless Bodies Found in Mexico – and, no, I didn’t read it).

And sometimes I make mistakes, being lured by the internet to pick up a news story that I’ve successfully avoided. Take the news stories covering the trial of the man now convicted of murdering Tori Stafford. I had for monthes (literally) avoided the details of the trial. The thought of reading about Tori’s death and all of the evidence being present was more than I could stomach. Then, one day in March, I came across a news article online. With one click, I found myself immersed in all of the horrible details. I was appalled and wished that I could wipe the details of this tragedy out of my mind. And I learned from that mistake.

Don’t get me wrong – you can gain great pieces of information from news media too (like book recommendations!).

So, for that reason, I’ve made a conscious decision not to watch the news and to keep my newspaper and internet article reading to a minimum. Don’t get me wrong – I still go through both the local newspaper and a national newspaper on a daily basis. I am just selective about what I read. I also read a great deal of news online but, again, I am careful about what I choose to read. I want to ensure that I’m keeping up with the world around me without finding myself in a dark pit of despair because of all the human tragedies that seem to receive coverage on a daily basis. I think that having so too much information around us (especially if it is sensationalistic in how it is reported) can be detrimental.

Am I the only one that sees the value in vetting what news watch and read?

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17 Responses to Why I Don’t Watch the News

  1. Totally, completely agree. These are all the reasons I do not choose to watch the news either. ๐Ÿ™‚ What a great post!

  2. I also choose which articles I read carefully. I think back to the little boy in England that was tortured (I was in high school) by 2 young adults – and it makes me ill. I really don’t want details – that case still haunts me to this day

  3. Shammy says:

    I agree, that the news, in all formats, can be very fear mongered, biased and negative. Vetting what you choose to read/watch is a must or you can easily be consumed by the hype and often inaccurate reports!

  4. Christine says:

    I hear ya. My husband is a news watcher and newspaper reader. Not that I am not interested in current events. I do want to know what’s going on globally and nationally, but sometimes…just sometimes I like to be able to tune out and not have to listen to all the sad, depressing things that are happening around us.

  5. Elva Roberts says:

    May 16- You are not alone in your view. My granddaughter lived near Edmonton for three years. She was,. and is, a teenager. The TV news every evening spoke of the crimes-murders, rapes and assaults in that city. Finally, my granddaughter could not go to sleep before two or three in the morning and then had terrivle nightmares. Her mother took her home to our Island where there is certainly less crime and violence. Within two months, slhe was back to her regular sleep patterns again.
    I thought the news on the little Stafford girl was horrendous. I avoided it at all costs. I wouldn’t even read about it in the papers because it caused me such sorrow and stress.
    I have complained to the CRTC several times but to no avail. They quote: ‘Community standards’. which, to my mind, is a copout. However, it is probably time I contacted them again.–el03ro.
    e.m.roberts@hotmail.com

  6. I don’t think it is very healthy to consume ourselves with news because it is mostly negative. Which is sad. They should have a news channel for good and positive things that happen. Imagin that? Throwing around positive news. Hmmm. ๐Ÿ™‚ I try and watch what I let in my head too.

  7. Anne Taylor says:

    I understand where you are coming from; but I’m completely the opposite it seems (sometimes anyway) I will go out of my way to get the details of just awful stories; I don’t know why. I try to get involved on a psychological level and try to comprehend where people are coming from or how they could do this or that.

    • I understand that Anne as I used to do that as well. For me, I realized, however, that some things are just beyond comprehension and I’d go in circles trying to figure out how people could do the things they had done. I think that is part of what made me stop watching/reading these types of news items.

  8. We don’t watch the news, and I limit what I read online. I want to open myself up to things that bring me UP in my life, not bring me down.

  9. Cheryl says:

    A-FREAKING-MEN! I hate that the news is full of sad stories. And tragedies. It would be nice that if they had to report the sad stories and tragedies, we could also talk about some GOOD news.

  10. CanadianDadBlog says:

    And you think ours is bad, imagine what the US news looks like! I remember the Michael Moore documentary Bowling for Columbine, where he compares the two countries and their news content. My job requires me to updated on things, like the Stafford case, but I certainly don’t enjoy any of it.

  11. Great article! Growing up yes the news was ALWAYS on! If you were a minute pass 6 you missed the best part… The news is barely on in R house too, if it is it’s BT Toronto and I pay no attention to the actual ‘news’ part. I find in drags me down and most things I rather keep from my children’s eyes. The local newspaper I do enjoy, not for the news but the local events happening. Thanks for sharing! Glad I am not alone! Tammy @inRdream

  12. JENNIFER HART says:

    I am so relieved to find out their are others that feel the same way as I do about the news. I have actually been chastised for my beliefs of not watching the news or censoring what I do read/watch,not that I push my views on others, I only say if they ask. I just feel that for myself that once I see or know something it cannot be just simply erased from your mind,especially tradgedy or horror- who wants to live with access to those images at any time not me! Why not some more balance with good stories especially local to your own areas.

  13. ccmouse says:

    I am a news junkie and politics too – I love knowing what is going on in the world around us. Even though most times the news isn’t positive. Looks like I am the opposite of most. I share current events and news stories with my kids. Yes, even Tori Stafford. My oldest daughter knows some of the details, the younger just know that there are bad people in the world that would harm children. My oldest daughter wants to be a lawyer, and until this case she always said a deffence lawyer – she has now changed her mind on that and says family.

  14. Ester G says:

    I used to read/watch the news constantly until I suddenly identified that it was a major source of anxiety for me. Now I pick out headlines and read only the VERY relevant news and “good news” stories ๐Ÿ™‚

  15. Kathleen Blom says:

    I love reading it online as you can pick and choose the articles. My husband watches news on TV and the bit I watch seems very repetitive as I keep seeing the same stories.

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