In “Fooled by Randomness” Nassim Taleb said the news makes idiots of us because it gives us confidence, not insight. Like a PhD in macroeconomic theory. So a couple of months ago I decided to experiment. I took Taleb's advice and restricted myself to just The Economist each week and the occasional blog, avoiding everything else.
And I came to the conclusion that Taleb is right: surprisingly, I didn't actually feel less informed; it made no difference to the performance of the pitifully small Grice retirement fund (which was unfortunate, some 'performance' would have been nice!); it made no difference to conversations I had with friends or family; to my overall sense of well being. I found that if anything was important it would find me. And reaction is easier than prediction.
But I also realised that I missed the news for its pure entertainment aspect. Finding out how sub-stories end after the fact without the suspense before was a bit like seeing only the football results on a Monday morning.
Related previous post: Avoid News: Towards a Healthy News Diet - By Rolf Dobelli