Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Moving on From the News

I write this post during yet another transition in my life. As I go through the process of reinvention, I have decided to break old routines and make new ones. One routine that I will be doing away with during this transition is how I follow the news. Although I have closely followed the news for the past twelve-odd years or so, I’ve reached a saturation point where I no longer feel the need to be an active consumer of the news. 

During the time that I have been an active consumer of the news, I have learned a tremendous deal about the world, global affairs, and current events through reading, discussing, watching, and talking about the news. As a result, I feel satisfied with the ideas, opinions, and knowledge I have developed in this area. I have read widely and have been exposed to diverse opinions and ideas. I have shared many articles and have had numerous discussions with an array of people on any range of issues.

Through my discussions, one thing that has been consistent is that I have found many people who buy into whatever the “standard” narrative that is being disseminated by the mainstream media. The power of repetition and the prestige of certain mainstream news outlets – be they print media like the NY Times or news media like CNN – has the power to dictate the discourse on the airwaves. Consequently, the airwaves are saturated with a narrow field of topics, most of which are then looked at in a more careful and analytical way through alternative news sources (such as blogs or independent news organizations like DemocracyNow!). The really novel and innovative discussions are mostly only had on alternative news sources. Yet even with these sources the range of topics remains inadequate and incomplete. As human beings tend to talk about whatever is being talked about, and as our national and international discourse becomes increasingly homogenized through whatever information is being discussed over the dominant media outlets, our collective ability to look at a wider range of topics that deserve to be looked at remains limited. Consequently, it is only through a deeper analysis of topics – be they the environment, war and peace, or really anything else – is what is really needed. Hence I think this will be the next area that I will start to focus on more carefully.

One of the projects that I intend to start doing more of in lieu of following the news is writing. Although I have only infrequently updated my blog over the past decade or so, it is likely that I will begin to post here again more frequently. As I have several different projects in the works, posting may be infrequent at times, but I do hope to try and write here to share my thoughts on any subject that comes to mind. Feel free to read and comment on anything I write and I hope that you find it worthwhile.

I would like to end by noting that I’m not completely abandoning the news per se, as I still want to keep up with a general overview of what is going on in the news. However, I’m transitioning to a phase where it is unlikely I will be posting news articles anymore, or following the news that closely. While I do hope that the range of subjects and discussions in the news media increase over time, I will no longer be an active consumer of the news.