Why No News is Very Good News Indeed

CaptureRadio Four have just informed me that an “elderly couple have died in a house fire”. I don’t want to know about this. It is sad. A tragedy to those involved.

But there is nothing I can do about it.

The news is usually sensationalist, people-obsessed, black-and-white, tragedy-obsessed, irrelevant to my life, trite, cynical and misleading.

Cat stuck up tree…

…let’s look at today’s online Telegraph. Here is every article from “above the fold”, i.e. the page I can see without scrolling:

  • Police chief blames parents for not teaching children “right and wrong”
  • Airline fees and baggage charges soar
  • Fix the economy? I’ll just finish this round… (this is about Obama playing golf)
  • Kate and William spend anniversary apart
  • Heat seeking – where to soak up the sun abroad
  • Take the University Challenge quiz
  • UKIP don’t like it up ‘em

Mind. Numbingly. Banal.

And this is supposedly a high-brow newspaper?

There is nothing here that educates me, helps me get where I’m going, enriches my life or allows me to make more intelligent decisions about anything of importance to me.

And I couldn’t help but notice that below the fold there’s a variant on “elderly couple die in house fire”. It is “Prague gas explosion injures 40…”

Why am I getting aerated about this?

Is it just my age?


This is why – because our brains are being reshaped all the time (this is true – new neural pathways are being built and old ones torn down all the time). Your brain is plastic. It is changing. Reacting to its environment and its conditioning.

And the environment of news is toxic.

As I’ve written before, our…

Conditioning drives our

Beliefs which drive our

Emotions which drive our

Behaviours which drive our


And the news is right at the top of the funnel. It plays a big part in our conditioning. And most of us are completely soaked in it.

There have been times in my life when I have completely avoided the 24 hour news cycle for months at a time. I felt happier, more focused, more thoughtful, calmer and more able to think and concentrate.

I still know what’s going on by reading weekly news magazines where there’s no mention of gas explosions in Prague and I do not have to listen to John Humphreys trying to uncover the stunning, amazing, never-before-seen fact that two politicians of the same party may actually have a slightly different viewpoint on the same issue, instead if doing what he should be doing which is to inform us of events.

Waiting for my man…

I am afraid I have slipped back into news watching – mostly online UK newspapers. A lot of my news surfing involves classic junky behaviour. I miss the news when I cannot get access to it. I consume it first thing in the morning. I get a wee “hit” from doing so. I use it to relax although it doesn’t actually relax me. I become addicted to “developing” stories whereby I need the next instalment. I think I can handle it. And so on…

Cold turkey…

So today I’m putting a stop to it. I’m going back to my no news world. I will do my brain a favour and allow it to develop its new neural pathways without the malign influence of what someone with a very, very different agenda to me has decided is news.

6 Responses to Why No News is Very Good News Indeed

  1. Neil A April 30, 2013 at 3:49 am #

    Dear Mark,

    Right on the money here, the News is not really news at all. I have not watched a current affair or news program for more 5 years now. Has my brain collapsed, No. Sure I’m a bit ignorant about things that are happening, hardly the end of the world. I don’t get weighed down by the crap that I have no control over either.

    What is the cost of taking in the News; let’s say 30 mins x 5 days a week for 50 years. This 6500 hours or if you were to work that it is about 3 years pay! This also equates to about a quarter of my obligation free time (time that is not taken up with work, feeding, washing or traveling).

    Spend your time on this planet more effectively. Get a hobby, learn something, loss or gain weight the choice is yours.

    • Mark Nugent April 30, 2013 at 8:43 am #

      Well done.

      Read a chapter of Ian Banks’ latest at 630 this morning instead of surfing news – feel better already, although the party described in the book is making me think about beer and it’s not 9am yet!

  2. Keith Plumb May 15, 2013 at 11:22 pm #

    Mark, I go with most of what you say. I have never regularly purchased a daily newspaper in my life. I do not look at newspapers on the web either. One of the worst items is the review of newspapers on the TV news.

    I usually only read weekly/monthly specialist magazines because the journalist actually know what they are talking about and have the time to produce articles based on facts.

    The news media that I do use quite a lot is the rss feeds to the BBC webpage. You get a one or two line summary and you can choose to read the article or not, this way you can spend you time reading what you interested in.

    I am glad you wrote this blog, I thought that it was just me.

    • Mark Nugent May 16, 2013 at 10:37 am #

      Hi Keith – I’ll try that BBC feed, but I’m going to avoid all “tomorrow’s fish and chips wrapper” type stuff. M

  3. Keith Plumb May 21, 2013 at 8:41 am #

    Hi Mark, I picked up a copy of “I” the other day. It was free and I wanted something to read over breakfast as I was away from home. There was an interesting piece by the assisstant editor who arguing that their piece about Angelina Jolie and her double mastectomy was real news and not just celebrity rubbish. He said that just because she was a celebrity it did not devalue the news aspect.

    Apparently “I” puts all the celebrity stuff on one page so that you choose not to read it. Other poeople have said to me that “I” worth reading, it is rather like a printed version of twitter.

    • Mark Nugent May 21, 2013 at 10:05 am #

      Hi Keith – I wasn’t aware of “i” but Google tells me it’s from The Independent…I’ll check it out. Thanks.

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