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+3 votes
Does watching/reading the news distort reality? Would we all be better off sticking to physical reality?


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5 Answers

0 votes
most of what are considered "current events" are irrelevant to my life. it mostly just seems like boring propaganda, manipulative "news" stories, or a furthering of the spectacularization of life.

however, i do think that having an awareness of what is going on in the world that matters to my life (and of course i have to sift through a larger pool of information to determine what that is), is significant. it can help me prepare for something that is relevant to me, or - more interestingly - it can help me be aware of opportunities for action that may be of interest.
by (13.4k points)
0 votes
A lot of times I'm completely oblivious to current events. I tune out a lot because I don't see that much benefit for myself from reading/watching the news. It usually annoys me. Although, I do read the news from time to time. Mainly to see if something peaks my interest or could possibly affect me, myself, and I.

A majority of the time, in my opinion, current news is just hyped up hogwash about politics or something, with the intent of persuading or indoctrinating folk. It seems to be quite effective too. I think a lot of people would be better off if they stopped reading/watching this 24/7 current events/news cycle that common nowadays (at least in the US it is) so much. It seems to turn people into brainless zombies devoid of thinking.
by (4.7k points)
i think a lot of it just has to do with the fact that modern life is so fucking boring
purely to be helpful, human, i swear, it's "piques" your interest, or my interest, or one's interest. (although each of the english false cognates--peeks and peaks--are charming in their own way. :) )
I thought it was peaks as well
Interesting. I didn't even know 'piques' was a word. I should update my vocabulary. :P
+1 vote
I care about current events to the extent that I do not live in total isolation from the rest of the world and the impacts that current events have on my world and social contexts. I stay abreast of things, but I don't read or watch the news with any regularity.

Does watching and reading the news distort reality? I don't think so, if one has a critical eye and is aware of the ways in which the news is a tool of larger forces - I've heard it suggested that some of the most informative intelligence on the forces of capitalism can be garnered from the pages of the Wall Street Journal and Financial Times, but I don't have the stomach for reading them on the regular. On the other hand, if you take what you read at face value, or are easily swayed by flimsy half-truths, it might be better to avoid it.
by (22.1k points)
"I've heard it suggested that some of the most informative intelligence on the forces of capitalism can be garnered from the pages of the Wall Street Journal and Financial Times"

indeed. years ago, when i was much more engaged with the world outside my little bubble, i found articles in the economist to be far more informative (on issues i was interested in) than anything in more general/mainstream news outlets.
+2 votes
I don't know that watching or reading news distorts reality any more than ingesting any other sort of fiction, and probably not less. However, I don't think my own limited, biased perspective is any more 'real' than those other narratives.

That said, I'm a discrete entity with a limited reach and an even more limited influence on the things that fall within my reach, which constrains the usefulness of knowledge of current events to that of any other story about the world, by which I mean the extent to which I can look around me and see in my world it's narrative traces. Outside of this, they are just entertainment, which is a usefulness all its own.

So, I don't go out of my way to stay abreast of current events, when it is time for me to know of them they will find me or otherwise become manifest in the flesh of my world.
by (1.4k points)
i generally only look at the news when i check my news does specialize in the stupid/entertaining, and sometimes it catches my eye
+2 votes
Here are some thoughts:

-there's no physical reality in any simple or self-evident way

-thus, nothing to distort

-if you're saying that what happens near you might be more important, then, maybe yes, but very often no

-if you're saying that what happens near you is more real, then definitely no

-what are "current events?" it seems like this is the same thing as "the news," yeah?

-the trouble with the news is that it's pure information - not communication like literature or art or talking to a friend. it presupposes identities, relations, imperatives, etc., rather than enunciating them

-deleuze has a really good but challenging chapter in a thousand plateaus, called "The Postulates of Linguistics" -- I think his concept of "order-words" (mots d'ordre) is highly relevant to this question. he says that language in contexts like journalism is about marshaling information so as to reproduce a certain order, rather than being about thought.

-I prefer thought, but I don't know if that has to mean "never read the news". It might mean, "read other things, too."

-It's easy to think of reasons why one would still want to read the news. I spend maybe five minutes typing this, an activity that is supported by a vast network of machines connected mostly by wires.

-somewhere in shenzhen province, perhaps, a worker who makes these machines is in her dormitory bunk bed trying to talk to her internet boyfriend by videochat. I can't know anything of her existence until I read in the paper that she jumped off of the top of her workplace to her death.

-nevertheless, she has been a part of what you call my physical reality all along. she could have made the machine I type on or the wires that connect that machine to the one you are reading it on.

-in fact, I think a lot more could be said about the relationship between journalism, and life, and thinking.

-one might think about marx's time spent writing the news, which led to his research into the theft of wood, which led to his critique of political economy, which...

-one might think of ernest hemingway's obsession with the bullfighting papers, in which he claims to have found "the true art of fiction"

-one might think of kant, trying to put down his idea of 'what is enlightenment' for the public, in a newspaper

-all of that relationship is made obscure when we imagine it as quite simply a distorting influence on our day-to-day.
by (8.0k points)
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