Everyone kind of already knows that the news sucks. In all my life, I can’t think of anyone who seems to enjoy reading or watching the news every day. It’s a kind of bitter responsibility or endured necessity for people. News is like the societal version of flossing: it’s not fun, yet we continue to do it every day anyway, as a sort of obligation to prevent decay of the social order.
We all get it: yes, the news is overly negative, and yes, it often gets some things wrong. But in the end, we’re better off for it. That’s how the argument usually goes. Some even say we need the news, that democracy is impossible without it.
In this article, I’m going to challenge that idea. In fact, I’m going to argue that the news doesn’t just seem to be horrible, in its current form it is horrible. It is actively damaging our culture. And most of what we blame on social media or the internet—the upticks in stress, anxiety, pessimism, and polarization—is misplaced. News media is the true culprit.
Obviously, this is a bold argument. And this article will …
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