According to most sources, the world is out of control. We’re under the threat of imminent disaster of one variety or another. Bad things are happening, in all caps, right now. For the past decade, nobody’s even had the chance to bend over to kiss their ass goodbye.
It feels like an emergency for a reason.
I only know this because my anxiety has made me susceptible to the triggers of attention-grabbing news while consciously being aware I’m getting lied to. For normal people, once the lie gets outed the danger is over. Anxiety lets me keep feeling the burn long after the flame’s gone out.
Sometimes I get angry about it. Even though I’m not technically falling for the latest silly opinion piece by someone claiming to be a journalist, I have the increased heart rate and jitters claiming otherwise. Why can’t I just physically let go when I mentally let go?
I’m going to have to swear off news.
There’s a big problem when opinions and absurd beliefs get equal weight to facts and tangible evidence. Imagine a local news station having to give the microphone to the one jackass who believes in unicorns. That’s what we do when we have to pretend that the Alex Joneses and Ed Schultzes of the world have legitimate points of view. Absurdity becomes the new normal.
Perhaps the biggest reason why I had to abandon religion was because it encouraged me to believe some bad things about myself. News reporting is becoming a secular church. I can find my personal echo bubble denomination and get into verbal fisticuffs with strangers over absolutely nothing that will change. Even Sisyphus got to have the accomplishment of getting his rock halfway up the hill in Hades.
Giving up news is going to be hard, because it gets thrown at me in many ways. Some of this is my own choosing, but a lot of it involves coercion. Commercials will have those inflammatory soundbites, and some websites force me to go past the news to get to content I want. It would be like putting uncensored porn in front of the grocery store.
Unfortunately, I can’t get a grasp of what’s going on around me if it gets imbued with alarmist rhetoric. Worse, I can’t get a grasp of my mind when such alarmist rhetoric wears me out. I get physically tired these days from dealing with repeated panic attacks.
My hope is to cut myself out of this negative feedback loop.
Despite warnings to the contrary, the world is still here. People might not get along on a universal level, but there are some good examples of individuals getting along just fine. The wars currently going on around the world might be scary, but they’re also becoming fewer. Human tragedy will happen either intentionally or unintentionally; it’s my job to make sure I don’t add to it. I don’t want to add to it.
That has to be good enough for now.
9 thoughts on “Surviving the Negative Feedback Loop”
This is indeed good enough for now.
I have generally cut off news. My general argument has always been that if it is important that I should know it, then somehow I will. Anything else in between is opinion and I am not losing sleep over it.
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I have stopped watching TV “news” and stopped reading US newspapers. I tend to get my “news” fro Reuters (Germany) and the UK. They seem to have a less vested interests in peddling US bullshit to US citizens.
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I’m beginning to value the BBC radio service that I can get from my local NPR station. I used to not mind NPR and stuff from the Associated Press, but it seems like they’re being forced to report on sensationalist topics just to stay competitive with asshat media.
Looks like it’ll have to be European and other foreign news services for me. Maybe I could get my news from Finland.
I invoke Poe’s law on everything I see. Very skeptical to believe anything any more. As for it being so bad out there, not really. It is a great time to be alive if you disconnect from “news” which is all slanted. If you want to see the real world, offer a beer to your neighbor. People are good. The few that make the news have been setting the mood for quite some time, and it’s not real.
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It’s like our media has managed to find every worst voice in our country and shoved a microphone in their faces. These people used to be buried in local news stories, the occasional oddity to be seen after a tornado blew through a trailer park. Now they’re controlling the show.
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I admit that much of what is broadcast confirms my feelings towards “our” leader and gives me moments of satisfaction when I hear things might be going south for him. But overall, I consider it entertainment. It passes the time when, IMO, there is so little on TV (sitcoms, game shows, etc.) that is worth watching. But after a couple of hours of “newscasting,” I switch to Netflix or Amazon Prime.
Our local newspaper only minimally touches on “issues of the day” (it’s a small town paper) so I can pretty much skim over “the stuff” and focus on local reporting — which is nice.
Having said all that, there’s no argument it can get pretty overwhelming when it’s coming at you from all directions.
A few years back, a number of our free-to-air TV channels switched to foreign news services from midnight to 6am. Being a night owl, I would often watch a few hours of news from Fox, NBC, BBC, or Al Jazeera.
Hit send to soon.
If I wanted unsensationalised news I’d watch the BBC or Al Jazeera. Both NBC and Fox tended to be more sensational in their reporting and with a definite American slant. If I didn’t want to any real news, I’d watch Fox as it seemed do biased in the way it covered events, especially if it was in any way political, that I watched it as a form of light relief entertainment bordering on comedy due to its lack of balance.
Unfortunately since the demise of non-digital TV, those channels that don’t have 24 hour programming have switched to infomercial during the small hours.
My choice of TV channels is limited as I don’t subscribe to a satellite TV service, and cable is restricted to the south west corner of New Zealand’s North Island. I’m limited to some 30 or so free-to-digital channels. While a few channels provide news bulletins during the day, the only 24 hour service available is from Al Jazeera.
I, like most Kiwis probably hear more “foreign” news than NZ news. We are a small country anyway. We probably hear more about Trump alone than we hear about our entire government. And because most of the news is about “over there and about them” instead of being about what’s going on here, it doesn’t seem as as threatening or worrisome as it probably is to those who are closer to world events.
While I’ve always taken a keen interest in world affairs, I guess it’s to satisfy a curiosity more than being anything I should consider seriously. “Remote” has its disadvantages, it does have the advantage of keeping world events in perspective and well down the pecking order of what’s important in life.
I’m not sure if it’s possible or desirable to isolate oneself from news, but I think how you receive it can make a big difference. And where you live can certainly affect the influence that news has on your well-being.
Time to emmigrate? 😊
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I hear ya! I don’t watch the news or if I do (rarely) it’s BBC because their news seems less sensationalized. Maybe the average person without a mood disorder can handle the noise without spiraling but I can’t so I avoid it. Don’t worry about missing out – you know others will remind you of what’s going on in the world!
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