Monday, March 02, 2009

All the News That's Fit . . .

I have decided that I will get my news from the Internet. And by news, I mean, I will be watching Gnooze. It is pronounced "news", the G being a silent G. Sort of like gnome. Gnooze is hosted by Marta Costello. Looks like she started in news, then did stand up comedy, and then she decided that streaming video seemed like an easy thing to do. Well, that is a bit of a simplification, but there you have it.

I have thought about the news a lot lately, and I am thinking of not paying attention to stuff. On purpose. And not just because it is "work" and I have to read and retain and make sense of all of the different media bias. It really does not have anything to do with that.

I don't think I want to monitor the news because it is counter-productive with being a happy, resourceful and contributing member of society.

When you read or watch local news, you take in the facts. Problem is that your brain treats these facts as representative of the world. We are wired that way. So when you read "child fell down a well and has been trapped there for days", your brain files away something that indicates that there are a bunch of wells around, potentially trapping lots of children. And we don't think, "Hmmmm, if it is in the local news, it must be extra-ordinary or out-of-the-ordinary. You know, newsworthy.

We have the same brains, more or less, that people did ten thousand years ago, when - between mounting the slow chicks - you would see who died when eating which berries. Green berries, bad. Small red berries, really bad. Large red berries, good. Special mushrooms, really good.

So we can't really get that what is on the news is not really what is happening all around us. Even the Amber alerts, they scare the pee out of us when we see one in the local area, but really, children are not getting snatched every day in your community. But if feels that way because our brains are meant to group events because we need to know what kinds of berries to eat.

Not only are we bad at interpreting the frequencies of local news events, but a lot of the time, we get news fragments and cannot put together the big picture of things. I have already heard a few people saying that history may treat George W Bush very well, after we have had time to think about all of his accomplishments. Okay, I nearly spit out a mouthful of Diet Dr. Pepper when I heard that on the news, driving into work.

George W is a boob with some sort of father complex. How can history treat him well. Well, I don't think it will, but the point is that we lack proper perspective as we are digesting these news sound bites.

So if news does not give us proper perspective, what good is it? I mean, let's say I was in tune to the business news for years. Would I be better prepared for what happened in the markets in 2008? No, not a bit. And after the economic decline, meltdown or whatever you want to call it, lots of people said, "Well, we should have known this was coming."

I remember listening to people proudly say that they did not listen to the news . . . when I was in college. I always thought, "What an ignorant, lazy Frat Boy person." Now I wonder if I am the one who has it all wrong.

Maybe it is better to get news from Gnooze, where they at least crack a joke. The one thing I don't want you doing is relying on Marta's blog. I mean, if you want to read a blog, you ought to read this one. Nary a newsworthy item, and occasionally a naughty picture. At least with my blog, you can count on a happy ending or two. Not so with traditional media.

12 comments:

~Deb said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
~Deb said...

....Or the "final touch", as one massage therapist offered me.

Welp, I like to be in the know, however lately, especially this year it has been quite the downer. I don't want to become clueless, but the news does somewhat desensitizes you to some degree if you're always glued to it.

Happiness is a good thing!

AcuityTodos said...

Interesting how blog entries sometimes seem to be synchronized (being connected to all the "news" is the subject of my posting yesterday)!

If we remember that most news is just entertainment (and I regret to have to say, especially US news), then perhaps we wouldn't treat it so seriously.

But the constant rain of gloom makes my primitive brain want to go and hide out in the cave.

Xmichra said...

I am not a fan of the news on tv. it seems like it is an adgenda, with someone's opinion always there to smack you in the face. I do not like one way dialogues. or powder blue suits worn by perky people.

Perhaps that is what the issue is though. Maybe it is this "this is fact" thing that makes us haywired. It's in the news, so it must be true. they must have all he sides, and this is what happened. And they are calling it a pandemic.. and they said the word *again*.. so it must be all over the place.

I don't know about you... but i have seldome heard a story third or fourth hand which had all the info.

I do keep up on things happening around the world that might affect/effect me one day. North Korea is a bit of a concern. The big bang machine scares the shit out of me. And the wavering economy is slowly creeping it's hand to my neck of the woods.

I do not watch the nightly news, but i still read the headlines in the papers. not really any better, but with less chatter and powder blue suits.

Leesa said...

~deb: the final touch. I remember that blog entry.

acuity: I wrote the blog entry probably a week and a half ago. It is interesting how so many blog entries seem to be similar. Web 2.0 in action.

xmichra: I have seen news firsthand a few times, and each time, the mainstream media got it wrong.

1 Hot Dish said...

I'm glad to hear you guys are having nice weather.

Hope your week has started off well. :)

Prata said...

I don't read/watch local news really. I also don't listen to the radio, so if there's somethin' horrible going on I'll probably be the last one to know; however, I read a lot of what goes on in the International arena. I do so, because I think it's much easier to put your issues in perspective when you understand the world around you.

Local news is boring anyhow. I can see the economy is in a downturn, I notice the people losing their jobs.

I think maybe I understand incorrectly what you mean when you say our brains work in the way that it does. Amber Alerts don't make me think kids are being snatched everyday. Nor have I ever considered the possibility that wells are out looking to swallow my child up anywhere. I know there's the distinct possibility that by being dumb, my child could get snatched or that through lack of observance my child could fall in a well if there were one in my backyard, but I don't think that seeing it on the news gives people permission to not use common sense, a trait that has evolved in us as humans.

Leesa said...

1 Hot Dish: I don't consider 48 degrees good weather. Give me 90 and sun.

prata: seems like you would be an ideal juror. And I don't think your brain works like most people's, Prata. That is not a bad thing.

Debbie said...

Sounds good to me. Although a naughty photo now and then isn't so bad:)

Ian Lidster said...

Nice perceptions, love. Having been in the news 'biz' for most of my adult life, I cannot agree with you more. And it is all a matter of perspective. That's why I get pissed off about all the negative economic reporting and then the consumer is indicted for running and hiding rather than spending, spending, spending. Oh, and thanks for Gnooz, too.

AcuityTodos said...

If all else fails to amuse, you can always watch this version of the news: http://www.nakednews.com/

Same garbage, but more distracting!

Get Off My Lawn! said...

My brother in law has spent many tours of duty in Kosovo and in Afghanistan. His only comment is: "don't believe anything you see on tv.