Who Follows the News?

I think in the US, you feel like you have to keep up with the news. Our nightly ritual was to eat dinner in front of the evening news on TV. There are also multiple sources of information on the internet, so there is no excuse to be uninformed and unaware. That would make you look pretty ignorant and stupid, right?

But, how useful is all that news, really? I recently came across an article – Is There Any Reason to Keep Up with the News?  that brings up some very good points. Why do we keep such a close eye on news? What do we get from it?

The news is truth and reality. But, is it? It’s only a narrow version of someone else’s truth and reality and if you believe everything you see and hear, the world is a very bad and dangerous place.

We will have more empathy and compassion. When this was studied it was found that we are able to have empathy and compassion for an individual. But, when it’s about a lot of people, especially far away people from other countries and cultures, it’s more than we can deal with so we tend to just tune out.

We are well informed so we can take action on important issues. How many times have you actually taken an action because you saw something on the news? Chances are if you did, it wasn’t very often and your actions were prompted by your own research, conversations with others, and many other factors beyond what you saw on the news.

In reality, news is mostly entertainment. It’s exciting. There is drama, action, suspense, comedy, and it can usually get your blood pressure up. Sometimes they talk about good things happening but more often it’s disasters, death, destruction, and with the upcoming US elections, politicians behaving badly.

I have cut down on the news a lot over the years, and since coming to Panama I follow almost none of it. As the years go by I have become more and more careful about what I put in my head. I think it all becomes a part of you in some subtle way. If there is something big, someone in my circle of friends and family is sure to mention it. I’ll scan a couple sources for local news (and Spanish practice). Otherwise though, if I feel the need to know about something I can do my own research. Most of the news doesn’t add anything positive to my life and I feel a lot more peaceful without it.

I will continue to vote though. I feel strongly about that. I may not live in the US but I’m still a citizen of that democracy, and what goes on there affects me and mine.

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About Kris Cunningham

We live in David, Chiriqui Provence, Republic of Panama! This blog is about some of our experiences in our new country.
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36 Responses to Who Follows the News?

  1. Deborah says:

    Thank you for the interesting post. I gave up watching the news a few years ago – as most of it was negative and really did not serve much of a purpose in my life either. I do not miss it at all.

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  2. 4sarge says:

    The News is Depressing – Everything is a Crisis. Rain, Snow, Sunshine, the media goes into Crisis Mode. Panama for me would be a Warmer Climate to Relax & let the World (Mine) travel at a Slower Pace

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    • You pass the test! 😀
      Seriously, if you haven’t commented before or the site doesn’t remember you for some reason, then your comments wait for me to send them through. You can’t see them until I get that done.

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  3. Lyn McKee says:

    So right Kris.
    We watch very little and just enough to be ready to vote.

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    • It’s hard to avoid people talking about the elections so you probably have some feelings, but yes. It’s better to check out the candidates yourself. Otherwise though, not too much useful in the news, I agree.

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  4. Kris,
    Very good points.
    Most of the mainstream news is nothing but distractions to avoid discussing the real issues that are more important to the planet and the people. Climate change, hunger, disease clean water, clean air, wealth inequality, safe food, and overpopulation. If there was a mandatory education level for the majority of people on this planet the news will be a lot different.
    But that’s not going to happen, because the rich people want to keep the rest of the population uneducated so that they are not concerned with these issues.

    Besides, this is who controls the media:

    http://www.businessinsider.com/these-6-corporations-control-90-of-the-media-in-america-2012-6

    Cheers,
    John

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    • I think we really know very little about the powers behind it all and how decisions are actually made, and they want it that way. As you said, an uninformed and uneducated population is much easier for them to deal with.

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      • Yep… the powers behind the media and government. Who knows? I just watched Fair Game last night. The factual movie about Vallerie Plum. Amazing Bush and his cronies were not impeached for that. That incident and the Iraq war was the beginning of deceit that a big percentage of American people have bought into. Hard to proud to be an American.

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        • When I was young it felt like the USA stood for good things, a positive force in the world. Now… not so much. I think the Bush years dragged the country down so much we may never be able to turn that around.

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          • Laureen says:

            Yep, I agree Kris, but I’m hoping Berine gets elected and changes it 😊.
            Thanks for a thought provoking post. I skim over the news very briefly, just reading the captions, not the meat of the articles. Then I spend my time on the travel section and the funnies – lol!

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            • Bernie who? 😀 hopefully someone gets elected who can do a good job. I’m sure I’ll hear about it when it happens. Meanwhile I’ll be with you reading the travel section.

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  5. Diane says:

    Kris,
    I’ve been living on an island in the Caribbean for 15 years, and gave up watching the news about 10 years ago when I gave up T.V. altogether. I also strengthened my spiritual belief, which helped me understand why watching the news is a pointless waste of time. It doesn’t enrich my life in any way, and often makes me feel even worse since these are things I have no control over and can’t change in any way. I believe we should never give our attention to anything unwanted. Focus on positive things and what you want in your life – what makes you feel good. You can make a difference in your community by leading by example – be happy and caring and giving to the people in your life. Help in ways you know can make a difference in your immediate environment. That’s what makes me feel good. Making a positive difference in the lives of people I interact with daily – in my own little world. It doesn’t make me feel good to spend time each day watching the bad things that happen every day in the rest of the world. I can’t do anything about any of that, and it makes me feel helpless and sad. So I have to wonder – why would I subject myself to that?

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  6. Sunni Morris says:

    Kris,

    I couldn’t agree with you more on this subject. If there’s something I want to know more about i’ll research it myself. We have lots of means today with the internet. But you’re right, we watch TV while eating dinner EVERY night. I hate it, but hubby can’t do without his nightly fix of the news.

    It’s all bad news any way you slice it and who needs that? Enough happens in daily life without all the added drama. And it’s only the news commentators take on it all anyway. I don’t need to pollute my mind with that stuff either, so I usually excuse myself after dinner and dishes and disappear upstairs. It’s the only way to keep my sanity and to chill out.

    Good post.

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  7. Anonymous says:

    good morning Kris,
    thank you for your reflections! i live in europe and here the news are just bad, bad, bad! refugee crisis, war in syria, isis in indonesia and everywhere, paris attacks, ect! and it doesn’t stop.
    my partner is in paraguay right now for business, but our thought of going back to live on your side of the world just becomes more and more urgent for us.
    it’s stressful to read and listen to the news everyday. especially when things happen on your doorstep. and i wouldn’t mess up a perfectly nice moment that you could have on your patio, with depressing news.
    cheers
    heidi

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    • It must feel much worse to you with so many bad things going on so close to you. In the USA we have very little idea how it is to live like that. But I agree, I will continue to live my quiet life on my patio. I hope you will be able to live a more peaceful life too 🙂

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      • heidi lilla says:

        for whatever reason my comment is anonymous! sorry about that! thank your for all your lovely articles! have a lovely day Kris!

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  8. David says:

    That’s part of the reason for looking into retirement in Panama. Do not need those distractions. Kris, know it or not your the real news source. Keep us informed on the happenings around David.

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  9. Robert & Helen Berding says:

    MSM all over the world are in the hands of a few corporations. They make the stories to suit the big corporations, banks and their servants the politicians. So I do not listen to them generally. I get my sources on Youtube and internet. I am an expat for 28 years. Have not been back to my home country the Netherlands since 2003. In every country I worked and lived I learned the local language. We are happy in Panamá and read La Prensa and La Estrella to know what is going on. Also the comments. If a country like Panamá would go into a economic and social depression and this would effect our daily lives, we have a plan B. We would move to Uruguay. Zen Buddhist say: Enjoy it here while you are alive. I talk a lot with local entrepreneurs and they always are interested to hear my opinion about Panamá and how it is in Europe. Generally they do not talk about the U.S.A. (too much of a bad and cruel history except for the canal). They are more interested to hear about European, Chinese and Japanese companies investing in Panamá.

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    • Yes, I believe you are right about who controls the news. Interesting though, about talking with the locals. Maybe it’s because you know more about Europe? A lot of people talk with me about the US probably because I’m from there. They tell me though that in this area the bad things didn’t affect them much and they have no ill will towards the US. They are more curious about how life is there today.

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      • Robert & Helen Berding says:

        Yes Kris it is generally true about the average Panamanian. Although the higher middle class looks beyond this. Interesting is to observe that Panamanians are good retailers and merchants. I was reading that the reason is that 35% of the Panamanians have some DNA of the Chinese. So that is why. I like the mix of people here. It took a long time to balance out peacefully. Search on Youtube about the terrible voyages of Colombus to Panamá. I love history. Also about the Roman empire.

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  10. Kim says:

    Great reminder…so true. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

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  11. Funny you should mention the news because a blogging friend asked me to submit a picture of a newspaper headline from our local newspaper. I had to laugh and tell him we don’t have any local newspaper. The only way I get a newspaper is when my local Friday veggie truck wraps my broccoli or cabbage in newspaper. I submitted a picture of my veggies in a newspaper anyway. lol I like the new approach you are taking on your blog, Kris. I love hearing your thoughts.

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    • That’s a good one, getting your newspapers with your veggies 😀 I remember enjoying visits from the Friday guy with all his good stuff.
      Thanks, glad you are enjoying the blog 🙂 I’ve been having a very good time catching up with yours too!

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  12. Yes, love that you are venturing in to your inner world as well as the outer … 🙂

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