Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Why I Don't Pay Attention To The News Anymore

I have a confession to make: I rarely spend more than 2 minutes on any news website, and I am watching the evening news less and less.

Take this morning for example. The lead story on The Toronto Star's website is about the sentencing of Michael Rafferty, a man who raped and murdered an 8-year-old girl about an hour away from where I live here in Kitchener, Ontario.  The subsequent front-page stories are:

  • Toronto taxi driver charged with murder in skateboarder’s death
  • Employment Insurance Reform: Changes will drive down wages for everyone
  • Pickering nuclear stations among most expensive, least reliable in the world
  • Toronto police charge Olympic sprinter and gold medalist Donovan Bailey
  • Blood-filled syringes hidden in clothes prick Sherbrooke shoppers

And these are just stories from Canada.  Scroll down and I'm sure I'd find stories of the dour European economy and the 50 Mexicans that were found beheaded at the side of a road yesterday, likely due to drug wars.

Do we - do I - really need to know about such things? You might argue that it is good to know what is going on around you and in the world, and that not keeping up with the news is akin to sticking your head in the sand.

But I disagree.

There's no reason that I need to fill my mind with macabre and depressing stories over which I have no control whatsoever.  What can I do instead? I suggest - and I am no master at it yet - living a much simpler life where my main concern is looking after those people and situations that are in my immediate circle. Caring for a sick aunt, sitting down for coffee and encouraging a friend who has just lost a loved one. Taking up causes in my immediate neighbourhood and making my little world a better place, rather than filling my mind with awful news stories that I have no control over day in and day out.  

If we all learned to take care of ourselves, our friends and family, and the immediate concerns around us instead of filling our minds with all the garbage that we find in the media, then we would see the more peaceful, happy world we would all like to see.

Instead we go to MSNBC, where the headlines are:
  • Former Presidential candidate John Edwards appears in court
  • Iranians feel the pain of sanctions
  • Cops release 911 calls in case of missing Arizona girl
  • 5 dead in Florida murder-suicide

I don't need to know any of this. I can fill my mind with brighter things. So I will continue to quickly browse the headlines, watch the news for 5 minutes, and quickly move on. Because as they say, garbage in, garbage out.