There is no good news

April 3, 2022

How the news affliction starts

My father told me it was a good to listen to the BBC news, and I did so every morning using my little battery radio believing it would give me a global outlook necessary for young man about to make his way in the world. 

In school it was further reinforced with free broadsheet newspapers in the 6th form centre. News became part of my daily life and I felt virtuous for it and I kept up the habit ever since. It started with that small radio, but now I take it digitally, through newspaper subscriptions, YouTube and various social media feeds. 

The supply and choice of my drug is endless, but recently I think I may have OD’d. Is it possible to have too much of a good thing? Well, the news may not be as wholesome as you think. Is it in fact, the trans-fat of entertainment, slowing clogging up your neural pathways?

The news has changed

I remember when the gravitas of the newsreader was reassuring as he intoned the headlines between bongs of Big Ben; Today, it is nothing more than  hysterical sewage sprayed over us, with the purpose of provoking a reaction.

"The news nothing more than hysterical sewage sprayed over us, with the purpose of provoking a reaction."

Every country will have its own version of this story. For us in the UK, seismic events punctuated our newsfeeds during the last decade; examples being the Scottish and European Union referenda, then Covid19, and now the implications of Ukraine. The news coverage is relentless and breathless. Everybody is riled up. In every case there is a common enemy which varies depending on your outlet of choice.. but there is always an enemy and the news outlets point and shriek, be it Nationalists, Brexiteers, Anti-vaxxers and latterly Russians. We are manipulated, intimidated and gaslit from morning to night. My wider frustration is that the free press was supposed to hold the institutions to account but now it operates as their PR department.

The news used to offer mostly facts and some editorial perspectives and it was up to the reader to interpret. The form was longer and open to discussing nuance.  Not any more; there are 2 sides to every story although you might not realise this yet. You are only getting one editorial perspective. If they do show two sides, by implication one is bad the other is better. We can usefully break the news into 2 broad categories. The Mainstream (MSM) and the Alternative media. For the first, only one opinion is allowed - that of the received orthodoxy pronounced by the high priests of the ruling class, communicated to you through the state organs..BBC, ABC etc. The majority of the country gets their news opinions from here. The alternative news at least provides an antidote with a greater variety of in-depth reporting. While the latter is derided by the ‘ancien regime’, it is more interested in truth and challenging the narrative. The most obvious example of this was around Covid. On the MSM, no dissent was tolerated anyone who questioned the narrative soon found themselves  de-platformed or labelled a conspiracist and blocked from sharing their opinions widely. 

A dividing force

I found it fascinating during the covid times, depending on who you talked to, it was like we were living in 2 parallel universes. The older members of my family, for example, who only watched the MSM, were scared to leave the house during Covid. Then there was the other group, especially among the young, the curious and contrarian, who were interested in speakers offering a differing view on things. I have found It is fascinating that the anti-establishment / alternative media have sometimes proved closer to the mark more of the time than the impeachable MSM. But you will never know as it is always suppressed and if it does force it's way out. The same people who said one thing, will shamelessly report the exact opposite, as if what they originally said, never happened.

The Cassandra complex in action

I think we are seeing the “Cassandra complex” - a situation where accurate predictions are made by one person or group, but nobody believes them and after they prove to be true, nobody remembers that the warnings were issued. Honestly, though, it matters little, who is right or who is wrong. I’m not here to argue for the merits of one news source over another. Instead, I want to remind you, we are the fuel; we are being consumed and the “News” is stealing precious moments of our lives from our children, our spouses and friends. Even long after we have read the article or seen the news clip we remain unsettled, angry and annoyed,  How else was Donald Trump able to live rent free in people’s heads for the last 6 years if it wasn’t for the MSM’s daily briefings against him. CNN was a huge critic. Wasn’t it fascinating how their viewing numbers collapsed after he left office? They, like many others, provided a 1984 style,  “2 minutes of hate”, that tapped into our basest instincts. In the moment, it may have felt good to hate on Trump, but who was this hate more corrosive for?  You or him? He didn’t care. He probably relished it. Yet some poor sucker took an aneurysm every time Brian Stelter or Don LeMon railed against “Orange man” and the advertising revenue rolled in. Some people got rich, the rest got deranged. 

The news media doesn't care about you

We have a decision to make based on the knowledge that the news media is not your friend. Do not take any of their claims of impartiality at face value. Each one of them has an agenda which is around money. Who pays for them or who will pay them? This is not a public service for our good. The most important point is that by getting us into a highly charged state - the population is more controllable - we are paralysed by fear or we squabble among ourselves and we cannot see the wider picture. We are being hacked by the algorithm. While we all hid in our houses during covid, the biggest transfer of wealth occurred from the middle class to very rich. The US printed more money in 2020 than it did in 200 years. 2021 and 2022 weren’t much better and our leaders didn’t even follow their own rules. And when Canadians protested the continued loss of civil liberties, they had their bank accounts frozen by a “liberal western government”. A worrying precedent that has not yet run its course. Ordinary people have now been weaponised against each other. Like an “Artificial Intelligence Karen Hive mind.” We fall into 2 camps, the majority scared witless by mainstream TV into enforcing the orthodoxy and other smaller group driven wild by the lies and audacity of it all. It is a zero-sum game. We all lose. Can you list any way in the last 5 years that your family's life was made in anyway better by anything you read or heard in the news? I'm a news junkie and I can't think of one.

We are being manipulated to acheive an effect

At some level, I rationalise we are being lied to deliberately to create an effect. On a number of occasions, I have been involved in newsworthy incidents. I saw events unfold. I knew why thy happened and how they happened. Only to see it reported on TV with factual inaccuracies with a curious slant. Invariably, a talking-head agitator was brought on to give his opinion - which was heavily biased, further skewing the truth. If you can’t even trust the local media to report a news story accurately, what makes us so sure that we can trust the media with events of global import? In a recent post I have talked about smartphone addiction and thinking about this subject deeper, actually it is not the phone I’m addicted to, but the news feed and feelings it evokes within me. Anger, frustration, sanctimony.. all negative emotions but at least I feel something and it distracts from the boredom as I’m locked in my house or chained to my desk. I'm exactly how they want me. Anxious, atomised and waiting with bated breath to find out what some authority is going to do to fix the problem.The news is failing to prepare you for what is actually cominThis is no way to live. We were not built to live in a paralysing fear. We were created for action, movement and community. To take on the enormous challenges of life. This is the antidote to the news media's fear mongering.

The news won't prepare you for what is coming

Something serious is coming and we need to be focused. Not distracted. In the west we have been comfortably insulated for the last 80 years and we have lived in a golden era. I hope I’m wrong but I think things are going to take a sharp turn for the worse. The news is backwards looking and seldom predicted anything.

We have built up a financial, moral and spiritual debt. The news and the media are distracting us from what is coming. Worse, they are nudging us along the path. We are misinformed, entrenched, and miserable.

All debts must eventually be paid. We don’t know when the bailiff will come, but he will, and it is going to hurt.

"The news is the trans-fat of entertainment, slowing clogging up your neural pathways"

Some real, good news

The good news is that you don’t need “the news” to tell you to get your own house in order. Stop fighting shadows on your keyboard and quit thinking of sharp twitter ripostes to people who you neither know nor care about. The battle belongs at home. The battle is in your mind and you don’t need the unnecessary resistance of wading through the mental flotsam of a world in crisis. 

I encourage you to turn the news feed off and focus your mind on what you can control. We need an alternative approach, and I think Paul in the Bible points us in the right direction. 

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things.” Phil 4  v 8. 

This is harder than it sounds because you won’t get the immediate emotional feedback that your social media gives but renewing your thinking will equip you with a mental agility and toughness to face even the worst disaster scenes any news organisation could serve up to you. Maybe you won't even have to face disaster..what if you just re-adjusted your focus - how much more tolerable would life be?


Don’t go looking for the news. If you need to know the news, it will find you.