Stop the news carousel, I want to get off

Someone, who I admire, once told me, maybe in part jest, that reading newspapers, hearing the news on the radio and following the news on TV can damage your health, far worse than smoking, alcohol or soft drugs.

OK, so maybe it’s a stretch, but the point is constant exposure to the news does cause anxiety, which can be fatal.

Four samples to support this claim:

1. A 2018 survey from the American Psychological Association found that, for many Americans, “news consumption has a downside.”

More than half of Americans say the news causes them stress, and many report feeling anxiety, fatigue, or sleep loss as a result, the survey shows.

The recent changes to the way everyone gets their news—coupled with the style of news that dominates today—may not be good for mental and even physical health.

The way that news is presented and the way that we access news has changed significantly over the last 15 to 20 years,” says Graham Davey, a professor emeritus of psychology at Sussex University in the UK and editor-in-chief of the Journal of Experimental Psychopathology. “These changes have often been detrimental to general mental health.

2. “News is to the mind what sugar is to the body: appetising, easily digestible, and extremely damaging. It’s high time we began a detox. You’ll be richly rewarded – with more time and fresh eyes for what truly matters.” Rolf Dobelli, Swiss-base writer https://thecorrespondent.com/210/given-up-sugar-great-now-its-time-to-cut-the-news-from-your-diet/236004166860-42805660

3. Suzy Glaskie, Functional Medicine Certified Health Coach and founder of Peppermint Wellness, says that how news is delivered makes us consume more. “Because news is now updated minute by minute – even if there isn’t anything of any substance to report – we feel we have to keep consuming it”.

When it starts to seem like all news is bad news, it can be very difficult to resist getting bogged down by all the latest updates. It is easy to see how a news cycle which is now updated 24 hours a day, and readily accessible on smartphones wherever we are in the world, can have a big impact on our mental health and leaves a lot of us feeling anxious.

“Every time we glance at social media, there’s another report or comment or perspective on a report so it never ends and we get caught up in the cycle of being consumed by consuming news!”

4. Five Things You Notice When You Quit the News Analysis by David Cain, Raptitude.com Read the full article here: https://www.raptitude.com/2016/12/five-things-you-notice-when-you-quit-the-news/

I grew up believing that following the news makes you a better citizen. Eight years after having quit, that idea now seems ridiculous—that consuming a particularly unimaginative information product on a daily basis somehow makes you thoughtful and informed in a way that benefits society.

But I still encounter people who balk at the possibility of a smart, engaged adult quitting the daily news.

To be clear, I’m mostly talking about following TV and internet newscasts here. This post isn’t an indictment of journalism as a whole. There’s a big difference between watching a half-hour of CNN’s refugee crisis coverage (not that they cover it anymore) versus spending that time reading a 5,000-word article on the same topic.

If you quit, even for just a month or so, the news-watching habit might start to look quite ugly and unnecessary to you, not unlike how a smoker only notices how bad tobacco makes things smell once he stops lighting up.

A few things you might notice, if you take a break:

- You feel better

- You were never actually accomplishing anything by watching the news

- Most current-events-related conversations are just people talking out of their asses

- There are much better ways to “be informed”

- “Being concerned” makes us feel like we’re doing something when we’re not

So, my late April resolution is to give up on the news: no radio, no TV, no newspapers, no internet, no smartphone. Let’s see how long I can sustain this resolve?

Why am I taking this, what to some, is a drastic step?

To quote the Daily Mail’s Sarah Vine and her recent headline regarding two misfits that have run away to California and now are roughing it in rented accommodation Dear Meghan and Harry, don't worry about us... because we're really not worried about you”.

The same applies to the two Bennys. And Amir Peretz, and Rafi Peretz, and Naftali Bennett, who made it clear, he wants to be in government at almost any price. Let's not forget, Tweedledee and Tweedledum, although if we throw-in Moshe Gafni, we could have the Three Stooges, that however may just be insulting to Moe, Larry, and Curly. And let's not forget the vast majority of the other misfits in Jerusalem. I am no longer interested in you, as you are no longer interested in me or the people of Israel.

You, the misfits, have made that crystal clear by your support, silent or vocal, of the incoming government's proposal for 32, later rising to 36 minsters plus deputy minister at, according to news media reports, close to one billion shekels. Outrageous in the current economic climate. In fact, outrageous at any time. A question to the misfits: does this offensive amount include the 2nd prime minister's official residence? And if the 1st prime minister has his official airplane, then surely the 2nd prime minster must also have his official aircraft?

At a time when Israel needs world-class diplomacy, why appoint Gabi Ashkenazi as foreign minister? He’ll play second fiddle to Bibi who’ll run the show? I’m sure Ashkenazi has numerous worthwhile talents, although he appears to be easily led by Gantz. As suggested in the media, let Ashkenazi run the ministry of health and bring in much needed streamlining and reforms. But we know why Bibi wants to keep the ministry in his controlling hands!

Time will tell whether Benny Gantz is a brilliant tactician or simply naïve.

Meanwhile, these misfits, whores who are happy to sell their country, are not worth a thought. They have proved themselves to be parasites. Harsh words, maybe, but the truth is rarely, if ever, easy to bare. And I wash my hands of them.

So instead of listening, reading, and watching the antics of a bunch of wallies, who are below contempt, I have a range of music stations on the radio, Spotify, YouTube, and dozens and dozens of CDs to hear. In place of the news on TV, there is an assortment of other alternatives including NetFlix, YouTube, and a wonderful range of presentations via the Internet. And, I have a variety of stimulating books to read.

Following my conclusion of Simon Sebag Montefiore's Jerusalem: The Biography, I’ve ordered from the Book Depository - www.bookdepository.com – four books. (The Book Depository, in general, is far cheaper than Amazon, their prices include shipping and Amazon’s Jeff Bezos already has enough of my money.)

Three of the four books ordered are as follow-ups to Jerusalem: The Biography. The Seven Pillars of Wisdom, written between 1919 and 1926 by T. E. Lawrence, (Lawrence of Arabia) tells of the vastly different WWI campaigns against the Turks in the Middle East and the Germans on the Western Front.

My second book also relates to Jerusalem, it is A Tale of Love and Darkness by Amos Oz. I have ordered the English version. It is the story of a boy (based on Oz) growing up in the war-torn Jerusalem of the forties and fifties, witnessed the birth of a nation.

Thirdly, I’ve opted for Young Stalin by Simon Sebag Montefiore. How did this charismatic cobbler's son become a student priest, romantic poet, prolific lover, gangster mastermind, and murderous revolutionary? Montefiore's biography shines a spotlight on this young gifted politician and fanatical Marxist who shaped the Soviet empire in his own brutal image. It is the story of how Stalin became Stalin.

And because some light reading is in order, winging its way to me is the latest Jeffery Archer offering, Nothing Ventured.

My Kindle reader is loaded; currently, I’m reading the second book of Judge Willa Carson mysteries. In the wings, I have a couple of Soloman Burkes and as a part follow-up to Montefiore's Jerusalem, Sara Aharoni’s The First Mrs. Rothschild.

For those not in the know, Kindle offers thousands of Kindle books at zero cost, i.e. at no money. Many are worth reading.

So, I am set. I am getting off the news carousel. I have no desire to hear or read the news, no wish to hear the utterance of the vast majority of wallies in Jerusalem.

I am taking a new path.

All rights reserved to Murray Lewis Freeman

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