|Ben Affleck at the MSNBC studios on the set of The Rachel Maddow Show (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
Admittedly, I do somewhat less informed about current U.S. and international news. But only somewhat. I manage to pick up quite a bit from NPR, Twitter, and the atheist blogs I read. It has actually been a bit of a surprise to discover that I do not feel much less informed than I do.
I have also discovered that I relate to news stories much differently than I used to. Much of the news I used to consume was so opinion-laden that I was usually asking myself whether I agreed with the opinions being expressed instead of focusing on the actual news. Now I find myself directly engaging the facts of the news and deciding what I think about it without having to deal with all the outside opinion, pundits, analysts, and other garbage.
But the biggest surprise of all, one I never would have predicted, is that I feel much less angry than I used to. I sleep better, ruminate less, and actually feel happier. I am more patient and compassionate in my interactions with others, and I find myself far less likely to put people into rigid categories based on the political labels they use to describe themselves. To be sure, I still encounter plenty of stories that upset me, but I find that these feelings rarely last long or become points of obsession.
I have decided that I am definitely better off without cable news. While I will likely return to the PBS NewsHour at some point, I do not see myself watching it nightly like I used to. I may tune in if there is a particular story about which I'd like to learn more, but that will be about it. And I have no plans whatsoever to watch Maddow or any other cable news again. I truly suspect that one of the functions of cable news in the U.S. has become one of keeping viewers in a constant state of outrage where it is easier to manipulate them. This resembles fundamentalist religion far too closely for my taste, and so I'll continue to opt out.