Read this article. It’s a brilliant piece of satire that appeared in the UK’s Guardian recently. It sums up exactly how pretty much every article on some scientific finding is written up. It’s absolute genius.

And it explains part of why I’m happy to have stopped watching the news so much.

When we lived in PA, Tony and I were 24/7 news junkies – we had a standing evening date to watch Keith Olbermann (and sometimes Rachel Maddow, if we didn’t decide to jump ship to Comedy Central and watch Futurama instead). If we wanted the tv on for background noise, it was typically on the news. If we weren’t sure what to watch because nothing was on (typical, given we had 100 or so channels), then we’d turn on the news.  It turned into a lot of news.

There were some good things that came out of it: we could both name all 9 justices (how many people can still do that after 12th grade?), and between the two of us we could name at least 60 US Senators.

But the news, which was already dumbed down, got dumber. In part, I blame whichever studio exec it was who decided Twitter was fun and that the solution to falling ratings was to have the news announcers read the tweets of the unwashed, uneducated, opinionated masses. *insert several headdesks here* The thing is this: if you’re tuning into the news, chances are you want to see some actual NEWS, and maybe some commentary from an honest-to-Ceiling Cat EXPERT. What you don’t really want (or at least what I really, really didn’t want) was an ongoing relay of every tweet anyone (especially celebrities) had tweeted about whatever the hot news topic of the day happened to be. I have yet to figure out why I’m supposed to care what some random English teacher (being picked on because I’ve been one) has to say about the Obama Administration’s policy towards Georgia (the country, not the state)(though I don’t care what said teacher would care about policy toward the state, for that matter).

When they’re not reading tweets, the news channels are engaging in artificial shit-stirring of the type so brilliantly satirized by the article I linked to at the beginning of the post. Most of the time it’s in the political arena. (I mean honestly, was it *really* a big deal that Michelle Obama took a daughter to Paris over the summer? No. She went on vacation to visit friends. She took her daughter. They can afford it. They had fun. The end.) If it’s not politics, then it’s celebrities, and if it’s not celebrities, it’s the ONOES! (choose one) sugar/caffeine/exercise/red wine/excess fat/cats/lack of sleep/stress/chocolate/pencil skirts/work/unemployment/high heels/marijuana/carbs/vaccines WILL KILL YOU DED TOMORROW IF YOU DON’T WATCH THIS NEXT SEGMENT.

Frankly, people, it got old. And we moved out to Kansas, and suddenly we’re watching very little tv. I get my news from the Daily Show, which is as it should be, and from a quick flip through the New York Times website. If something looks important, I’ll read more. But my life is happier and much less stressful when I’m not paying attention to every ounce of maneuvering going on between John Boehner and Nancy Pelosi because, honestly, none of it matters. (It would matter if they ever accomplished anything, but anymore that seems too much to ask.)