Morning News Nightmare

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bad news.JPGEvery weekday morning while sipping coffee, doing my hair and/or trying to decide if a shirt needs to be ironed, I watch the news.

Well, that is, I used to watch.

Now, as of about three weeks ago, I might dare to watch a few minutes of local weather and traffic. But if Good Morning America comes on before I can change the channel, I flinch when Robin Roberts or George Stephanopoulos utters, “More bad signs for the economy.” Then I finally find the remote and occasional refuge in PBS. Somehow even Arthur feels better than the gloom and doom of our current political and economic situation.

The fact that I, a former news junkie, would rather listen to a talking aardvark speaks volumes about how bad the news has been lately, as well as the media’s ability to instill fear (and my need for a.m. background noise). But I’d bet I’m not the only one to dread the depressing coverage.

Watching the news can be a psychologically perilous activity. Why? Because as they say in the biz, “If it bleeds, it leads.” And in our 24/7 news coverage era, that translates to a lot of anxiety-producing news stories. I mean, which is going to make you clutch your chair and watch past a commercial break: a reporter announcing that your house is just fine or a frowning journalist who tells you that your walls are riddled with cancer-causing mold and fire-breathing toads?

Cancer and toads win every time.

So in our culture of fear, I’ve taken a few steps back, just to preserve my own wellbeing. Yes, times are hard and the global economy is teetering. Yes, life might not get easier for a while. And yes, believe it or not, I still want and need to be aware of what’s happening in my community and in the world. But I don’t have to inundate myself with fear-based broadcasting. Instead, I’ve started focusing more on the positive. This morning, for example, after successfully beating Robin to the punch, I read Psalm 1 and Jeremiah 17, two favorite passages that remind me a Christian can stand firm and be blessed in even trying circumstances. And how about a rousing, how-dare-we-be-scared-of-anything reading of Psalm 112: 6-8? That beats GMA‘s, Today‘s and Fox and Friends‘ coverage combined.

The news isn’t going away—nor should it. But I can still control how much of it I ingest—and how early.

Who wrote this?

Meredith has had two careers: one as a writer/editor for both Focus on the Family and The Navigators, and one as an English teacher trekking far-flung corners of Europe, Africa and Asia. She now rejoins Focus, but with souvenirs—including new eyes with which to better view American culture.

Have something to say? Leave a comment.

Anonymous More than 1 year ago

Comment by  monica:

How can so many people watch the news without getting angry or depressed?  All it takes is ten minutes and I get mad.  I like to know what's going on around the world, but there's only so much I can take...watching the news isn't the greatest way to start or end your day.  I guess it'd be better to watch during the afternoon.

Anonymous More than 1 year ago

Comment by  Lisbeth:

There are times where I've watched the news and wondered if there are some people out there who have become paranoic about the world around them just from watching the news.  It is kind of sad that all the news talks about is horror stories 99% of the time.  The kind of stories that burn traumatizing audio/video into your skull for life.  I've always been told by the people around me to regard the world with a certain amount of suspicion.  There's nothing wrong with being suspicious about people but it is very unhealthy when you allow that healthy dose of suspicion to become a paranoia that clouds your judgment and your ways of thinking.  If you allow paranoia to take over, you allow yourself to be a victim. 

Anonymous More than 1 year ago

Comment by  skr6776:

It may seem silly, but for a former news junkie, I gave up Fox News for Lent two years ago.  I can say that my time with the Lord that I spent instead of watching morning news was incredibly enriching to my walk with him.  Now I get my morning news on my smart phone apps, one local and one national so I can pick and choose which stories I'm interested in. 

Anonymous More than 1 year ago

Comment by  Jane:

I am glad I am NOT the only one choosing to ration what I allow into my mind--especially so early in the morning!It's good to be informed--but NOT good to be made to feel fearful at every turn.

blessings, and great postjane