I can’t always escape the news. It pops up on a website somewhere or on Twitter. I’ll be at my grandma’s house and the news comes on or I will see an ad for what’s going to be on the news at 10. I try to ignore the news and I try to ignore the urge to go to the website of my local paper. It’s not 100% possible but I try. I usually get worked up every time I find myself absorbing the news because I hate that I get sucked into something that is so negative.
First of all, the news is about money. It’s about selling ads. So news stations try to get you to watch the news by teasing your brain with promos that could easily tell you the news right then and there but don’t because their ads run at 10 so you have to watch then. Think about how often you’ve heard something like “Find out what household appliance might be putting your kids at risk!” or “Will the hot weather clear out for the weekend?” followed by, “Find out at 10!”
Why couldn’t they just tell us right then and there that a blender with spinning blades could cut your child’s fingers off (duh) or that the hot weather WILL clear out for the weekend? Because they have to sell ads for a half-hour at 10 and don’t get paid unless you watch.
Online news is the same way. Headlines for online news have changed over the years. Now you will see a lot of questions in the links they want you to click on, like “What celebrity is in town for the weekend?” or “5 reasons you should worry about your stock portfolio.” It’s all about questions and lists nowadays. They could easily say, “Johnny Depp in town for premiere” but then you don’t have to click on it to find out what they could have told you with less words and punctuation. When you click they can show you ads and make money. If you don’t click they don’t make money. (FYI, my original title to this article was “Why I hate the news” which I promptly changed to its current, more descriptive title to save you time, but you obviously wanted to read more, so thank you! I have ads on this site but my main goal with this site is not to make money!)
Next, the news is about worry and fear. Next time you watch the news or visit your local news website, count how many of the stories you see that could create fear within you. Sometimes even the “feel good” stories invoke fear — sure everyone in the community is helping out a kid with cancer…but then you worry YOUR kid could get cancer too! I guarantee you will run out of fingers to count on if you are looking for instances of fear in the news.
The news will tell you about whatever bad things have happened to other people, their children, or their neighborhood. They’ll tell you what restaurants are dirty and what corruption is being investigated. You’ll worry about your kids, your neighborhood, your politicians. The only REAL news during a 30 minute newscast is the sports news which is probably the most based in fact and matter-of-fact as you can get. But the problem with sports news is that I don’t need commentary on the scores. The score tells me all I need to know and any analysis is a waste of my time (This is why I can’t stand Sports Center). The weather is also not the news during a newscast. If you want to know what the weather is, go outside. If you want to know what the weather is going to be like, you can bet that your local weather man will get it wrong most of the time anyway and ruin your life in the process. Check out my post about weather predictions. If anything else, the weather man might tell you it’s going to rain so you will stay inside and then watch the news so they can make more money on ads!
So what does this have to do with muscular dystrophy? It doesn’t — directly. It has to do with how you feel about muscular dystrophy. A newscast seems designed to find things for you to complain about. That’s often how some people feel about their disability. It’s annoying. Like watching the news, it’s not a good use of your time. News should be something useful. When dealing with muscular dystrophy, news should be about what devices are good for you, the places you can go and things you can do despite having muscular dystrophy, and all the other positives. That’s what I try to do with this blog.
Don’t be like the weather man who always forecasts rain. Look for the sun. Look for the positives in your life. Make up a newscast about yourself and think about all the positives instead of the negatives. We are so programmed to think negatively, I just can’t stand it. I am still guilty of doing it at times. But I am conscious of it, at least in hindsight. So nobody is perfect when it comes to this. All that matters is trying. So try. It’s easier to do when you don’t watch the news, trust me.
If you need more reasons to avoid the news, check out this great post about going on a news diet by James Altucher (who also has some other great advice!)