First, my apologies. It’s summer, which is my Very Busy Season. Things will slow down after September. I’m trying to drop this quicker than I normally would, so you have something from me.


When you sit down to read a book for fun, would you rather read something like Hammer’s Slammers or Monster Hunters Inc… or a diatribe on the health of oatmeal for breakfast?

I choose books based on whether they have things in them that interest me. I like science fiction, fantasy, some detective things. Sign me up for Heinlein novels, Harry Potter stuff, Sookie Stackhouse and Merry Gentry. I love the Cadfael series. All of these have characters that may have started out seeming normal, but very quickly showed they were not.

That’s because books aren’t written about the normal people. After all, who would read it? It would be boring.

I got up this morning at 7:32am. I read news on my phone for ten minutes while waking up, then stretched for a few minutes, and headed down to make breakfast. I was very tired after a long weekend camping, so I decided to take a nap. I napped for just shy of two hours, and I’m feeling better. I did some paperwork for a company I work for. I made eggs for lunch.

Isn’t that dryer than a popcorn fart? I mean, really.

News is the same way. During the physical newspaper era, we got around that by having a “page one” news blast, and then putting the less interesting stuff inside. People tended to read the majority of the paper, knowing that there was information of use inside, even if it wasn’t a headline. After all, when your news only comes once a month (in the early days of America) or once a week (at the beginning of the 20th century), you eventually read every article. Why? Because it’s there. And newspapers did their best to keep it interesting, with articles for men, women, and younger readers. Most of the news, though, wasn’t Front Page News. Nor should it have been, really.

Most people no longer get newspapers these days. You’ll probably notice that those who do tend to be much better informed, and less “opinionated” and more educated. The print newspaper, however, is going the way of the dodo.

The only news being read these days with any regularity is headline news, page one stuff. That means our view of the world is not predicated on reality, but on splash. It’s skewed. And it’s wrong. Having only headlines as your reading material makes you begin to assume that everything IS a headline.

This is how we get a relatively low number of school shootings equating a huge movement to “stop the violence against kids”. This is how we end up thinking that every abortion is late term and due to people being stupid. This is how Trump got castrated (and crowned) by the media.

Our “news” isn’t actually news anymore. It’s just a series of splashy headlines designed to cause you to be enraged. Heinlein talks about how the media (in his case, the media controlled by a religious zealot running America, in one of his books) twists the mind by using phrases and sounds and similes that bring about emotional responses. He talks about how people who are very good at writing that kind of thing will, in that society, never lack for work. I submit that it is happening right now, among all of us, by both sides of the current America’s Great Divide.

I challenged myself during the last couple of weeks. One week I spent reading only “page three or later” type articles. I read things about gardening, and how 18th century lighting is changing how we light our homes today. I pursued information on my local community. Another week, I read only “social media” – articles gotten online, and basically “just the headlines”, the big noise that is always clamoring for attention. During my “page three” week, I felt very calm, relaxed, and I slept better. I still heard the headline news, because various people in my life shared pieces here and there, but my stress level was down. During the week on social media, I felt hyper, stressed, over-tired, and worried. I got into more arguments. I felt unsettled.

Was I less “educated” during the “page three” week? No, not really. I heard about things, and if I felt they were important, I could have people forward them to me to read. I’m on FaceBook, so I was going to see SOME news, no matter what. I could have come here, too, though I did not end up doing so.

It’s an interesting thought. What does it do to the brain, to be constantly and unendingly bombarded with front page slasher news? We long ago banned people from being able to use subliminals in advertising. Is this akin to another level of subliminals? Only worse, because we tend to be smothered with our own algorithm…

Something to give considerable thought to.

Yours in deep thought,


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By hagar

6 thoughts on “Why Something Makes it as News”
  1. Call me uninformed (or worse) but I stopped reading ANY news a couple of years ago. I dropped FaceBook like the pile of crap it is, disowned my cell phone so I wasn’t tempted to read ‘front page news’ articles at lunch and never turn on the TV unless it’s for episodes of Rick & Morty on HBO. I gotta tell you, my blood pressure is waaay down and I generally feel better than when I was occupied by all those distractions. Sure, I Still hear about stuff – especially the ‘big’ news… Maui, Trump indicted again, you know, that kind of stuff. But I’m not BOMBARDED with it, and it’s refreshing.

  2. I tell people “stop watching the news” . Some they look at you funny. Others get that ahhha look.. Its ALL negativity. Twisted views of HOW to think. The most famous reply I get- “ they wouldn’t lie to us!”. . . Yeah ok. Rush used to say stop watching the news, see how you feel after a week.and something to think about- did we really ban “subliminal” things ?? Or are they used in broadcasting the “news”??

  3. It all makes sense when you realize “news” is just entertainment. Yes, it is not fiction, nor is it “unscripted” (otherwise known as reality TV). But, it is entertainment nonetheless.
    It is all about eyeballs on screens. Ratings, advertising revenue, etc… That is the reason why Page 1 gets the big splash, and the rest of the paper is… well… actually interesting. It is the reason why cable news went from “we report, you decide.” to “we interpret the news so you do not have to.”
    No different for sports, or any other mass media. And, that includes social media.

  4. Slammers, yes (and have you read Forlorn Hope), MHI yes; let me suggest Alastair Reynolds (Revelation Space works and related), Neal Asher (Polity and Owner series), and Charles Stross (including Eschaton stories as well as Laundry) if you haven’t already run into them. (And assuming I’m remembering the proper author/series relationships…)

  5. To me, it’s just a further extension of the speed at which information flows and the signal boost low quality information gets as a result that is continuing to warp our perceptions and brains.
    Also, I’m genre agnostic. I tend to rotate between fiction (usually SciFi or fantasy but that kinda fits everything at a certain point), “literary” works, non fiction, and philosophy.

  6. Since I believe that all “Good” comes from ordering life’s disordered natural state, the leftist news media is where I start. To know one’s opposition, their tactics, their subliminal manipulations, and outright lies and distortions, is the beginning of knowing the truth. I have found over the past fifty years that given enough time, the rest of the story, the elements of a published story which were not revealed in the initial publication, comes to light by some investigative journalist’s work purposed to expose the cover-up, The Lie.
    It is this process which provides peace of mind. Knowing the facts of anything, produces the ability to know what my next action should be. Evil with all of its productions is essential to producing the correct response, whether that is peace or war, I just need to know which way is the correct, moral way, to proceed. My responsibility is to conserve and prepare, by keeping my opposition within view, always listening, always watching, always questioning, everything they provide for me to observe.
    But herein lies the dilemma. The question must be asked, “is this information provided, a ruse, a trick, a chaotic lie, by which the truth can never be discovered?” And if there are not enough facts to determine this positively, then the worst-case scenario must be assumed. Again, a settled mindset is produced when this occurs. I know what needs to be done in this case. Preparations to counter begins.
    Truth is always easy to know. Truth is straightforward, it doesn’t come in bits and pieces. It makes sense, commonsense, and is logical. The greatest privilege we have is to order life according to the truth. And by accomplishing this, Critical Thinking is acquired, and is able to be applied to more lies and deception in the future. if something appeals to the emotions, don’t trust it, but keep it for further evaluation.
    Evil is indispensable for arriving at the truth. Victory loves preparation.
    Waking up daily to fix failure, no matter where it is and no matter what it is, is utopia.

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