Should We All Read Less News?


Scott J Davies

Scott Davies is a freelance writer and tutor. He is currently studying a Master of Education. He is interested in education, economics, geopolitics and history. He's on Twitter and has a Medium page.

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15 Responses

  1. Avatar Jaybird says:

    I had someone point out to me that the Current News Item with which I was obsessed was interesting, sure, but then they asked me “what were you obsessed with two weeks ago?”

    I knew that I was obsessed with *SOMETHING* two weeks prior… but I couldn’t remember what that something was.

    News as entertainment. News as comic book stories. News as sitcom plots. News as cotton candy. Enjoyable in the moment, bright, shiny, sweet. Forgotten minutes later. Turn around and see a new one and immediately run to it for the next jolt of endorphins.Report

  2. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    I have a lot of problems with Bryan Caplan because he often represents the worst instincts of knee-jerk contrarianism that lots of described-libertarians love to revel in.

    I’m not sure we should be reading less news but I do think there is very little need for 24/7 news channels like CNN, Fox, MSNBC, CNBC, Bloomberg, etc. Most of these networks operate on a news radio format where they repeat the same stories every 20-40 minutes. Also filling time with “punditry” is a lot cheaper than actual analysis and in-depth coverage.

    Most people really don’t consume that much news. The self-described news junkies don’t consume news in a very good fashion. The issue is that we should be reading more in-depth news articles than limiting the amount of news we intakeReport

  3. Avatar pillsy says:

    I don’t know anything else that provides all these things:

    1. Complete ubiquity. You can go anywhere and have the news right there, especially if you have a smart phone.
    2. Able to be consumed in very small time spans. You can use Twitter as a news source!
    3. Fuel for endless arguments on the Internet.

    People don’t do stuff for no reason. And a lot of the time if you peel away the rationalizations, the answer for why they do it is that it’s fun, FSVO “fun”.Report

  4. Avatar Pinky says:

    There’s a line (I don’t know who said it) that great minds talk about ideas, good minds talk about issues, and stupid minds talk about people. That’s basically how I try to consume news. I care deeply about missing children and trapped miners, but there’s always something like that happening, and there’s no benefit to reading about them.Report

  5. Avatar JoeSal says:

    News says the world is ending/saved because X every day.

    Twitter proves the world is ending/saved every few minutes.Report

  6. I skipped this post and I feel great!

    (Kidding. It was good.)Report

  7. Avatar Tod Kelly says:

    The semantics here are important, because unless you are a very unique case you probably don’t read that much news, if any.

    Hardly anyone actually reads news anymore. What the vast majority of people do is listen to news, watch news, and read what other people think about the news, all of which in 2019 are bad ways to be informed because all of those methods are terrible and care little about what is true and what is not.

    You should actually read more news, and let go of most of the rest.Report

    • That’s a good point about the amount of reaction to and opinion about news stories read by people compared to reading actual news stories. We probably need less commentary rather than less news per se, as you note.Report

  8. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    How much of this is inspired by Caplan’s very radical form of limited government libertarianism? Even by libertarian standards, Caplan is very skeptical of government and democracy. He might be hoping that less news means that fewer people would be politically aware and therefore less inclined towards politics at all.Report