Don’t Read the News

Antony — May 4, 2012

Ever find the news depressing? Feel like it’s just reporting on a series of tragedies and screw ups?

Many people follow the news out of a sense of civic duty, or because they think it will make them better informed. But is that really the case?

Our book club’s latest book, The Black Swan, touches on the idea that following the news may be pointless. First of all, the author contends that news reporters fall into a kind of groupthink where they all follow the same narrative when reporting on events, with no one willing to offer dissenting interpretations. So the news cannot be trusted to present any accurate information, beyond status quo conventional wisdom.

Secondly, in the context of market investing, even if the news actually has accurate information, following it offers no competitive advantage, since markets will already incorporate all publicly available information into their prices. A similar effect occurs in daily life; the vast majority of news is irrelevant and has no impact on your life, and the information that is actually relevant will most likely come to your attention even if you are not following the news.

Some people go even further, saying that reading the news is not just pointless, but actually harmful. Check out this article for some reasons to avoid reading the news. Among other things it contends that following the news is unhealthy, inhibits thinking, kills creativity, and is a costly waste of time.

Feel free to keep reading the news if you enjoy it, but if you’d rather do something else with your time, then don’t feel guilty! Enjoy the time you’ll free up for other fun, productive activities.

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Disclaimer: The articles and opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the Libertarian Book Club.