I was on a Zoom meeting with some guys at church in September. The question was how do we consume the news. As I’ve said here before, I read a lot of newsfeeds from various sources.
Some are mainstream, such as the New York Times, Boston Globe, LA Times, and Washington Post. Some are progressive, such as Truthout and the Daily Kos. I consume a lot of conservative material, such as Daily Signal and Red State.
Oh, and there are non-news sources that often have news stories such as Thomas Industries, the Chronicle of Higher Education, and NatGeo. I’ve discovered that I can read about the exact same unlying facts, and discover that the conclusions are quite different.
This explains why I can never seem to keep up with my email. Initially, I subscribed so that I could peruse a balance of articles. I want to be a good, informed citizen. Of course, I come to these with my own biases, my own POV, but I’m willing to be convinced that I’m wrong. And even if I disagree, it might be a good piece for blog fodder.
Since I started working the Census, it’s been more skimming and less reading. It is especially true with the daily newspaper, which doesn’t take that long to read, even on Sunday. Yet it tends to pile up periodically.
And TV news is worse. One guy in my group noted that by the time he sees the evening news – he watches ABC- he’s already gotten the gist of most of the stories presented. Largely true for me as well. I record both NBC and CBS, but I tend to fast forward through the stuff I’ve already sussed out. This is especially true of the unfortunate narratives of fires and floods.
Sometimes, there is a story after the first commercial break that’s unfamiliar to me. The later stories often highlight a twist I didn’t foresee. NBC has a series called Inequality in America. It has features about the digital divide or Americans going to Mexico to get COVID-related medications. I need more than Joe Friday “just the facts.” Context matters too.
When my wife was away on a recent Sunday visiting her mom, I partook in something I seldom do. I binge-watched. It was the previous week of The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, plus JEOPARDY! I need to alternate; it keeps my mind in balance.
A recent CBS News poll asked, “When you get the news these days, do you feel…?”
I say now that maybe after the election, I’ll cut back. This is probably a lie. No matter who wins on November 3, I’ll still have an apparently unquenchable need to know.
How do you consume the news? By this, I don’t mean that you get info from “the Internet” or “Facebook”, but WHAT on the Internet, WHO on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram.