Lessons From Home: News

David Stertz
April 4, 2020

Here is a newsflash for you: generally speaking the news is not your friend. The news industry is designed to make money, and it makes its money by selling its wares to you. It always has been this way and probably always will be. There are some exceptions to be found. But those exceptions are few and far between.

This is not to say that the news never gives you needed information or never does noble things. It is to say, however, that the news industry has every motivation to make its wares as sensational as possible. 

Unless you are a conspiratorial kook, everybody knows that Covid-19 represents a threat. In other words, it does kill people. There are differences of opinion as to how great the threat is, but no doubt it is a threat. 

The news industry has an amazing ability to take threats, press them down upon us, and captivate our attention continuously. Ever since the advent of the 24 hour news channels, we can be bombarded with experts and opinions ceaselessly. With the addition of the internet and social media, there is nearly a ubiquitous presence of people telling you what is happening right this very moment. Add in the unrestrained stirring of the passions of the readers/hearers/viewers, and you get an anxious brew of people clinging to every word of the newscasters.

The trouble is that this works. It works on me. At the beginning of this pandemic, I was hooked. I was reading with eagerness to find out every little thing that I could about the threat. 

Not only does this waste time (see yesterday’s lesson), but it also makes a person (read me) anxious, irritable, and confused. Every possible angle of the story is analyzed by every conceivable expert or opiner until, we the consumer, are not sure what to believe anymore. 

So here is the lesson – stop consuming the news. No, I don’t mean totally, but mostly. Here is what I have done and what I would suggest for you. First, read instead of watch. When we read we have time to ponder, pause, and consider what we are reading. Second, set specific times to consume news. For me, I had to slow down to just looking a little in the morning and a little in the evening. Third, ask yourself what worldview is behind the news? What is the agenda of the person giving you the news (yes, they all have one)?

In the end, when I took these steps, I watched my own anxiety, irritation, and confusion cease. Maybe they will help you too!

Lord Jesus, come quickly.