A message to those who refuse to read news

By Lucy Ruscitto | Staff Writer

How many times have you heard a friend, family member or classmate say “I don’t even read the news”? Maybe you’re the anti-informer yourself?

Why do others feel the need to push themselves so far away from daily world happenings?

According to Savvy Psychologist Ellen Hendriksen, “the internet, a 24-hour news cycle, smartphones and an unprecedented political climate are all conspiring to make us feel lousy,” especially when we are so digitally oriented, and now — with COVID-19 — cooped up in our homes.

While this may be true to an extent, Dr. Dana Rose Garfin, an assistant adjunct professor at the University of California, Irvine’s School of Nursing, said she wanted to point out to consumers of news that completely ignoring any form of news to avoid stress is unrealistic.

“Some amount of concern is a good thing, so that we’re not complacent. We want to be aware of — and following — public health guidelines,” Garfin said. “The data show that the harm does not come from staying informed in a reasonable way — like reading your morning paper every day.”

So if the data is there, showing that staying up-to-date with world happenings “in a reasonable way” is completely healthy, why do certain members of society continuously refuse to do so?

It can be stressful. The news can be overwhelming and at times confusing, leaving the consumer in an engulfed state. But just because something can be oversaturating, does that mean we can get away with ignorance? Despite the news’ enormity, can we scrape by on the excuse that “it’s too much”?

The divisiveness and polarized political sphere has arguably continued to divide America, and understandably so — but just when it seems like the most obvious option is to back off and remove oneself from the news cycle, it quite actually is the quintessential moment to graze some of the daily headlines.

According to StAlbertToday.ca, an informed citizen is defined as being “a responsible citizen.” Being informed “allows you to hold people in power accountable” and “grants you power as an individual.”

Quite frankly, without the power of any remote knowledge of current events on one’s side, how could any member of society make a genuine judgment call (voting, anyone?) and feel confident in doing so?

Personally, a golden rule I have always held close to my heart was to not pass blame or make a decision on a public figure or a certain topic — unless I had done my research or experienced an encounter with that figure or topic that affected me.

Unfortunately, a lack of knowledge can be followed with a wealth of disinformation, and with the increasing amount of anti-newsers, our country’s welfare is being put at stake. As members of a republic, we are blessed enough to have a say in who leads us, and in turn, what policies they choose to enact that have the potential to affect our everyday lives.

If we have citizens who are voting based off assumptions curated with little to no backing, we have subsequently created a monster of a society that believes it is okay to pass on by without putting in the hard work to inform themselves, completely shattering the historical American values of individualism and diligence.

So please — for the love of your country, family members, friends, classmates, community members and more — do your duty and educate yourself on those issues that directly affect you and those you care about, or else when committed on a large scale, lack of knowledge may affect more than you could ever imagine.