Friday, December 14, 2012

No news

I'm often tempted to access no news source when I'm in Maine - no newspaper homepage, no financial website, no NPR program. (TV network news is not even in my radar, not since the days of Huntley/Brinkley).) The vagaries of the Middle East and Wall Street and Washington and Augusta just don't seem all that insistent in the face of the eternities of forest and ocean and seagull and deer. Important, yes, for an informed citizenry is essential - but worthy of attention (and worry, trauma, anxiety, fear) several times a day? How about once a week? Is that patriotic enough? Think how much happier, more productive, more satisfied I'll be!

Or how about not thinking about news at all? A recent survey found that people who watch partisan news outlets only, Fox News especially, fare significantly worse on tests of current events than people who watch no media news at all. Bias, and bias reinforcement, apparently makes us stupider.

I'm now going to apply this lesson locally. If I check the Times and the Globe and the Bangor Daily News but once a week, and balance that knowledge by daily listening to Maine Things Considered, I should become reasonably informed on Sunday and nicely biased and a bit stupid for the rest of the week. Stupid like a fox patrolling its kingdom, worry-free and ready to feed.

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