Flat White

Sick of news

7 June 2018

8:05 PM

7 June 2018

8:05 PM

We’re sick of news, apparently. I can’t say I’m particularly surprised:

If you feel like there is too much news and you can’t keep up, you are not alone. A sizable portion of Americans are feeling overwhelmed by the amount of news there is, though the sentiment is more common on the right side of the political spectrum, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted from Feb. 22 to March 4, 2018.

Almost seven-in-ten Americans (68 per cent) feel worn out by the amount of news there is these days, compared with only three-in-ten who say they like the amount of news they get. The portion expressing feelings of information overload is in line with how Americans felt during the 2016 presidential election, when a majority expressed feelings of exhaustion from election coverage.

While majorities of both Republicans and Democrats express news fatigue, Republicans are feeling it more. Roughly three-quarters (77 per cent) of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents feel worn out over how much news there is, compared with about six-in-ten Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents (61 per cent). This elevated fatigue among Republicans tracks with them having less enthusiasm than Democrats for the 2018 elections.

I think two other issues, apart from the sheer quantity and all-pervasiveness of news, feed into this feeling of exhaustion.

The first one, particularly popular on the right but with its own version on the left, is the concern about the “fake news”; the view that news providers are now so biased and partisan that much news they produce are opinions masquerading as facts.

The second one is the recognition that so much of what is currently presented as news is actually a content filler and not matters of genuine importance and public interest: manufactured outrages, celebrity gossip, clickbait, “the world is going crazy about…” type of stories based on what three random people on Twitter have twitted about – followed up by stories about the social media reactions to these initial social media reactions; the information equivalent of a tasteless pap that fulls the stomach but doesn’t satisfy hunger or appeal to the senses.

Arthur Chrenkoff blogs at The Daily Chrenk where this piece also appears.

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