I haven't watched, read, heard about, or listened to the news, or other source of current events (e.g., the Wikipedia front page, surprisingly) since 15 May, 2023. I know nothing about what Congress is doing, who said what, who died, or what atrocity was committed where.
For all I know, the late president Biden was succeeded by now-President Harris in June, Putin survived 4 coup attempts in a week in July and Ukraine became a state of the new USSR, and there was a protest for/against X at Y, X being something that didn't exist before I quit the news. I have no idea if that sounds like crazy-town possibilities or not, because I have no trending frame of reference! The last comprehensive update I got on the world was three months ago!
I've instead subscribed to the City of Tempe's email updates so I can stay up to date on what's happening in my town and my local community. I've discovered so much in the last few months about Tempe, the city I've lived in since I graduated over five years ago. I pay more attention to local signs and attractions as I drive around, getting that "stuff's happening!" current-events dopamine hit I used to get from national news. I'm excited for Fall when it cools down and I can explore Tempe on my bike again. You don't notice how many bike lanes there really are in Tempe until you try biking around it. It's pretty well covered! I feel like Tempe is "my town" out of all the other cities in the Phoenix metro area, and not just "the town" I happen to live in.
A few pieces of national news have made their way to me, via my colleagues and friends in the area. Even though I've resolved to know as little about the news as possible, I'm allowing the people I trust to shape my minimal knowledge of what's happening, which also tells me what matters to them, rather than telling me what matters to the editor-in-chief of any one "trusted" source, were I going to half-ass it and settle on "my brand" (or an aggregator, which are also avoided; I'm going for zero outside-say-in-what-I-should-give-my-attention-to, not minimal), or take the time to "research" and establish my deeply-thought-through opinion on an ultimately-shallow concern. I figure anything major, and definitely anything that immediately affects me, will make its way to me through my colleagues, my friends, and my family. I'd rather spend my time on the things that genuinely interest me and the projects I myself can do.
I'm more relaxed now after work, and I have more mental energy for working on my personal projects in the evenings. I used to spend my time reading about a new event multiple times, from multiple sources and angles, trying to find the "objective" story by finding the "accurate" sources and rejecting the bad facts. However, if I reject all sources outright, and I reject the concept of having an opinion on that which I cannot control and that which does not control me, I don't have to use up my critical thinking for the day by spending time "staying informed." Not because I question any platform's journalistic integrity or bias, but because I question the relevance of their reporting to my daily life. Most of the time, there is none.
By choosing to stop trying to discern the "good" news from the "bad" news, I've become incredibly perceptive, and instinctually rejective, of both.
It's strange how easy this has been, because I really haven't changed my internet-browsing habits too much, other than limiting my youtube subscriptions to non-current-events channels (and using an ad- and algorithm-free youtube client instead of the website) and visiting a few hobby-specific subreddits directly. Other than that, I still go down rabbit holes and I'm still all over on the web, but I've trained myself to disregard any currents events that come up (perhaps in a section of a webpage I'm reading, begging for just a "drop" of my attention, like the rich man to Abraham) and to outright ignore my previous news outlets.
Recently I made it to where I instantly notice a headline or any other possible "whirlpools" into the news, and I have the self control (and a good lack of curiousity, stemming from already being three months out of the loop; It's like reading the plot to the sequel to a movie you've never seen) to resist a quick glance or persual over the edge. I notice it viscerally, but reject it before any thoughts about even get to my conscious.
Similar to how a non-smoker can better detect the smell of cigarette smoke than the person smoking, but that would require us all having to admit that if news is cigarettes then we're all hardcore smokers, almost by default.
Each re-opening of TikTok or Facebook or US News on your phone is a ciggie; they both distract you for about five minutes, right? when you should be doing something else? and everyone who does it knows it's bad for their physical/mental health, yet it makes them feel better in the moment so yet they do it anyway?
Cigarettes travel in packs of 20. How many packs of newsciggies are you looking at a day? I'm not trying to switch to "better" cigs; I'm trying to quit smoking altogether.