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My Hiatus From News Marination Has Changed My Writing

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Originally Published on OpEdNews

I turned off my cable TV the end of December. That left me with my Apple TV, which gives me Netflix and a collection of other free options. The biggest effect is that I do not have the news on for much of the day. There's no background of chattering pundits-- mostly liberal ones-- which I consider low in newstritional value.

After a bit more than 90 days I realized that this hiatus from TV news marination changed my writing. I used to write a lot of responses to the latest TV news stories. Now, I write less, and what I do write tends to focus on bigger picture think-pieces.
To be clear, I am not really watching less on the TV screen. I'm watching more movies, documentaries and youtube videos-- mostly TED talks, as far as youtube goes.
One of the first things I did when went cut the cord, #cordcutters is the twitter hashtag for this, was to watch a bunch of TED talks, and then the West Wing-- 150 forty three minute episodes.
To get the news I go to a batch of different, varying sites, mostly on my smart phone, and I check twitter daily-- I follow close to 3000 people including a lot of journalists and activists.
The point of this article is that by changing my media environment, I've changed what I write about and I conclude from that observation that I am re-prioritizing what I think about. And that leads me to suggest that the news as we see it may not be very helpful when it comes to waking people up so we can do something about the sh*t situation we are in. Because, as John Oliver would say, we are really fucked.
Bottom line-- I'd watch TV news that was more big picture. But the TV news we have now is so micro-focused on crap and distractions it does not help we-the-people to see the big picture. It distracts and keeps the people focused on minutiae.
I just added the new HBONOW to my media diet. I'll watch John Oliver and Vice news, and plenty of movies and series, like Game of Thrones. The thing about movies and series is that they just about all include "hero's journey" themes which include revealing and or confronting injustice, awakening, personal growth-- so they get me thinking about facing reality and confronting the problems. It might be a bit of escapism, but I watch with one eye while tracking the news through my own curation practices, not through the mostly limp liberal, Democrat ass-kissing hacks on MSNBC or the corpo-hacks on CNN. Yes, Democracy now is good. PBS is now a Koch property. Forget it. It's been a huge problem that has kept the left from developing its own strong media with teeth. Read Chris Hedges Death of the Liberal Class to get a better feel for that.

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So, I'm really enjoying not having TV news, a kind of self-imposed fast. I've considered ways to get news free-- using an antennae or a free service I could get access to, but for now, I'm choosing not to.


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