“Your diet is not only what you eat. It’s what you watch, what you listen to, what you read, and the people you hang around. Pay attention to what you feed your soul, not just your stomach.” – Miguel Ruiz Jr.
Many of us have gotten sucked into watching what we think of as news and it turns out it’s just rage porn. What I mean by that, are shows that pretend to be news stations but are actually political talk or opinion shows. These shows are not bound by journalistic practices and ethics, accuracy is not the point, instead, it’s hyper-partisan commentary. The clear purpose is to stoke outrage and division among viewers who may think they’re getting meaningful news contact.
I foolishly believed some shows I was watching were news shows. I’m feeling taken advantage of and maybe a little slow on the uptake. Turns out there’s a big difference between “news” and political news/talk shows. One is based on facts, the other can have kernels of facts, but they distort it with lies and exaggerations. They give the illusion that they are traditional news organizations and then pursue their own agendas.
It didn’t make sense to me how “the news” got away with telling so many lies, but now I get it. Real news, your local news stations, for example, cannot lie, they must base their stories on facts or they can be sued in court. Political talk shows, however, can make up whatever they want and when taken to court, their defense is, “it’s just their opinions and no person in their right mind would believe what they said”. You might want to read that again because I think it’s huge. No person in their right mind would believe what they said.
Shows with Tucker Carlson, Chris Cuomo, Don Lemmon, Laura Ingraham, etc. are not required to tell the truth, they can point-blank lie about the facts and because it’s their “opinion” they can’t be held accountable.
“When you trust your television,
what you get is what you got.
Cause when they own the information, oh,
they can bend it all they want.”
– John Mayer
What made me realize I’ve been suckered was a ruling for Tucker Carlson whose Fox News lawyers argued that the “‘general tenor’ of the show should then inform a viewer that [Carlson] is not ‘stating actual facts’ about the topics he discusses and is instead engaging in ‘exaggeration’ and ‘non-literal commentary.’ “
That was their defense AND THEY WON! This isn’t just the radical right. A federal judge dismissed a defamation lawsuit filed by One America News Network against MSNBC and political commentator Rachel Maddow based on the same defense.
“If we continually watch television programs featuring commentators who are working really hard to make us angry, we are likely to feel hostile and angry a lot of the time.”
– Russell Kolts
If you want to get back your peace of mind, stop watching shows that pretend to be real news shows, stop watching shows whose business is to elevate and spread the most enraged voices, and generally bring out the worst in people. They create fear and outrage to keep you engaged. The constant barrage of bad news and politics creates anxiety and stress and reduces the quality of your life. Just turn it off.
I’m not suggesting you don’t watch or read the news, because it’s important to stay current on what’s happening. But, it’s time to clear out the garbage and tune in to media that are held accountable for what they say.
“In toxic cultures, people prove their intelligence by tearing others down.” – Adam Grant
How will you know if it’s real news? If they are attacking a person, instead of an idea, turn it off. Move away from extreme media and toward outlets that offer more explanation and fewer personal attacks. When shows we watch, regularly make us feel angry, shocked, and outraged, it’s time to stop watching them. That’s not news.
While I’ve been talking about television, it’s also a good idea to stop getting your news from social media, another outlet that is not held accountable for what they say and is known for spreading misinformation like wildfire. According to a pew research poll. “Americans who rely on social media as a pathway to news are more ignorant and more misinformed than those who come to news through print, a news app on their phones or network TV.” Get off social media, turn down the fear and outrage machines and turn on the fact-based news stations.
Now, what are you going to do with all the time this frees up? Reconnect with friends, get out in nature, take up a hobby or check out some kindness sites. You know, do things that make you feel good.
Is there someone who inspires you with their kindness? Nominate them for the Matt Kurtz Kindness Award of $250.
Do you have an act-of-kindness project you want to do but need help funding it? Submit your idea for the Matt Kurtz Kindness Grant of $250 and let us help you spread kindness.