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News illusion

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News illusion

Post by Guest on Mon Jul 01, 2013 6:54 am

Do you really need to know all of that? I am talking about the news here. Advertisers buy space and finance the newspaper provided that their ads will be seen. This leads to a filtering of most abstract and profound information in exchange for scandals, people-based news and "shocking stories" which contain more fiction than truth. It's a business and they give people what they want. We are sedated by the first type of news and stimulated by the second regardless of how relevant and enriching the quality of info in the first is. We are incredibly well informed yet we know very little. Whether you're watching, listening or reading the news, you're bound to be exposed to distorted information (in large quantities). Our own mental map is manipulated as a result and we lose track of the real dangers and risks we're facing.

If you're a regular newspaper reader, think of how many news snippets you've read last year. Think of how many have influenced your life in any shape or form. I don't know about you, but I can't think of more than a couple. Out of thousands, that's not a good number. I used to read newspapers (at least three of them) daily and watch many news programs, but I stopped. I thought I would miss a lot, but I only gained more time. I read some background articles by my favorite authors and consume books in large numbers. Internet helps when I want to be informed in a specific field and I can always track the source and search for academic articles to get quality.

Please, share your thoughts. Do you think news is a waste of time or do you benefit greatly by watching/reading/listening to it?

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Re: News illusion

Post by Snickie on Mon Jul 01, 2013 9:53 am

It's not so bad when you're selective about what kind of news you take in.  Like, I try to pay as little attention to celebrities and anything where people claim racial/sexist/whatever prejudice as possible.

All I try to pay to pay attention to are gas prices, laws that could affect me/my family, and Supreme Court decisions.  And I don't even pay much attention to those.

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Re: News illusion

Post by Koneko on lyoko on Mon Jul 01, 2013 12:50 pm

I don't tihnk you should cut out reading/listening/watching the news all together, I mean, twisted as the information may be, people should still be informed of things that are happening in the world around them. I'm talking about things that are of real relevance to their lives, not some celebrity scandal printed on he front page of The Sun followed by the topless page 3 girl. 

Although, I'm not one to talk when it comes to this sort of thing, I tend to avoid the news, not because of how the information is manipulated and biased(and let me tell you there is a lot of bias), but because it's all just so damn depressing. I only listen to the news on the radio because it's on in the morning when I'm getting ready for school.

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Re: News illusion

Post by Guest on Mon Jul 01, 2013 3:14 pm

Koneko on lyoko wrote:I don't tihnk you should cut out reading/listening/watching the news all together, I mean, twisted as the information may be, people should still be informed of things that are happening in the world around them. I'm talking about things that are of real relevance to their lives, not some celebrity scandal printed on he front page of The Sun followed by the topless page 3 girl.
I will address real news because as all of us would agree, celebrity scandals are worthy of no one's attention. 

I believe each individual chooses what's of relevance to his/her life. There are many happenings around the world and most of them don't impact your life, but you choose to seek such information because you want to possess an understanding of different cultures, the topics interest you, you hope to make a difference in the future...etc. That's completely understandable and there's nothing wrong with it. However, it's one thing to follow what you're interested and what is of relevance to your life and another to follow 24 hour coverage that only serves to waste your time. Long articles, magazine articles (profound ones) and investigative journalism are all positive sources of information because they provide ideas that require time and concentration to digest and analyze. 24 hour coverage and most news programs throw info at you in a rapid succession that is bound to leave audience greatly uneducated. It leaves no time for you to make sense of what you see or hear (even worse, if such info is biased and not true). I wouldn't consider that beneficial. 

Like mentioned before, we're incredibly well informed yet we know very little. We're swarmed with false information that we happily digest thinking we've successfully acquired info that would help us understand the world. Bombing in X country, revolt in Y, elections in Z. All of that "knowledge" is useless if you don't know what, how and why. If you seek more info through the news to be more informed, chances are that you'd waste your time listening to worthless details (because each news anchor always brings exclusive content) and fabricated stories. Think of what happens during elections (to be more specific, think of what happened during the last election).

Real life example: My old man is currently watching life coverage from Al-Tahrir square in Egypt. For those of you who haven't been keeping up, Egyptians have been protesting for quite some time now and they're flooding the streets all over the country to demand early elections and the resignation of president Morsi. My father's been following the coverage closely for the past three days and he spends at least five hours/day going from one channel to the other watching two people fight over who's right and watch the masses chanting. I did watch the masses and a couple minutes of some "experts" who are supposed to "predict" what's going to happen (they're really good at that. Financial crisis?). I didn't linger and just kept on with my day. Today, the supreme counsel of the armed forces announced that it would give Morsi 48 hours to give in to the demands of the people. That was the grand announcement and happening of the day. I learnt of the announcement a couple minutes after it was scheduled to be on and didn't miss a second of it. I wasn't informed of it because I spent my day hogged to the TV or even the internet, I was doing my daily check up on business articles and the news was filtered and delivered to me. 

tl;dr: My father has spent a minimum of 15 hours in the last three days watching the news while I read articles about the happenings in 30-45 minutes. I may very well be more informed than him on the subject matter and he's wasted more than half a day. I am pretty sure he's acquired more information, but 95% of it was worthless.

Conclusion: I am not saying abandon news and seek no knowledge of the outer world. If you want to acquire real knowledge, read articles, books and seek sources. Follow specified investigations and Don't fall to information bias. More info isn't always better. More often than not, more info translates to a waste of time. Be selective of what you watch, listen and read. Recent isn't relevant. You'd be wrong if you thought it would limit your knowledge. News anchors have successfully made us wrongly believe that we're at a disadvantage without them.

Please, take some time to read this . It's not long and is very relevant to the topic. What do you think?

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Re: News illusion

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