Buried Ledes

For the vast majority of September I managed to go without once reading a news site. Not just world news, but tech news, too. The goal was to see if I could do it after so many failed attempts to scale back my compulsion to know about seemingly important events. Aside from a handful of articles on Engadget and one on The Verge, the objective was met and I'm using the additional hour every day to read long-form books from authors that I've generally found very difficult to understand without a high degree of focus. What I like about the longer-form of writing is that the author(s) clearly had to understand a topic very well in order to pen several hundred pages on the topic and, becasue the books are generally well-edited and well-researched, it's possible to better understand the subject matter and come away more informed than is ever possible when reading an article that is designed to be consumed in less than 10 minutes.

Another benefit of staying away from the current forms of news consumption is the general calm that comes from not being bombarded with negative story after negative story. News organizations and virtue-signalling bloggers are often quick to jump on a person's transgressions, often removed from any sense of context, and conflate the issues with hearsay and suppositions. The inundation of gloom casts a pall over even the brightest of moods, and I'm tired of feeling like shit about problems that I am not empowered to solve. We do, however, have control over how we feel, hence the decision to abstain from the pessimistic echo chamber that constitutes modern news media.

This does make me worry, though. An uninformed citizen is unable to make informed decisions. By refraining from reading the news, am I putting myself at a disadvantage to others?

Over the years I've tried various angles of "quitting the news" to no avail. The English media is far angrier and less objective than the Japanese newspapers, so I tried for a while to stick primarily to local sources. This didn't pan out though because I started to see the subtle biases and agendas being pushed by different organizations across the country. Later I would read some English sources of news first by saying "Okay, {organization}. Lie to me.", knowing full well that anything I read in my native language could be so full of barely-masked motives and hyperbole that I'd strain my eyes for all the rolling. Eventually I trimmed the sources down to just those who I felt were the least aggrandising of opinions that harken back to a darker time in human history. But this wasn't enough, becuase the incoherent goals from ideologies I fundamentally disagree with come from many angles.

What I seek is simple: a verifiable, centerist view of world events without the inline opinions.

Unforunately, I do not believe this is something that people can do anymore. A news site without manufactured drama would be more dead in the water than those bloated with advertisements, tracking, and paywalls.

Perhaps it's just better to stick to books. Many of the same problems will still exist, but the ideas and concepts within are generally better explained.