If you are like most people, you consider reading/watching the News a good thing, an important thing. It keeps you in the know about the world around you. You might find my statement about avoiding News, contrary to the general flavor.
Since I was very small, I came to see the importance of News through my father’s actions. He subscribed to two newspapers and listened to at least one news bulletin on TV daily. It was a daily ritual for him. He spent a substantial amount of time reading/watching news. I emulated him and picked up the habit myself. I prided myself with being aware of happenings around me.
Some time in my youth, an article by Dr. A P J Abdul Kalam caught my eye. He was a famous and respected scientist in India at that time and later became the President of India. His article gave me a different view of things. That article said how negative the view of the Indian media was. I thought about it. For the most part, I had never felt very good after reading News. It did feed my ego, but it seemed to do nothing to make a difference to my life directly.
When I went to the US, I saw a different view of world events. The same facts were presented in a different way. Writers there had a different opinion and the whole experience of reading news was very different. One thing was common though, it was the same kind of news in both places – one crisis after another. It seemed more things were going wrong than there were going right. I realized something important – What we see in newspapers and in News bulletins, is not necessarily true. What a newspaper says is the view of the writer and the staff there. This can be influenced by a number of factors, ranging from their capacity to understand events, to what they perceive would be good for their business and what would be received well by their readers.
What we see in newspapers and in News Bulletins, is not necessarily complete either. Majority of the people in this world, live under fear. They believe something bad is going to happen and need security against it. They need to be informed about the bad so that they can be prepared for it. There are very few who believe in a friendly Universe. Consequently, most people believe easily in a fatalistic view of things and hence, sensational, negative news is what sells easily and is most widely circulated. Even if the news we see is correct, its mostly negative news that will affect our minds and attitudes in a bad way. Whereas I saw a lot of obsession with Pakistan, China, bad politics and corruption in India, I saw an obsession with terror attacks, health problems and Afghanistan in the US.
I believe that we are affected by everything that we allow into our lives. To stop myself from getting affected by all this negative news, I stopped watching it. I haven’t seen news in over four years now and I don’t miss it at all. I do glance over headlines of e-papers sometimes, usually once in 2-3 days. That is a 5-10 min affair. I have a basic idea about most world and local events to some degree. I am not affected by any of this. There is some information that I do miss. People are surprised when they find me ignorant of some details or of some news altogether, but I shrug it off. I have a lot of time to spare since I stopped watching news and am doing more of what I really like doing, things that really matter to me and affect my life.
I am doing just fine without the negativity