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Friday, October 03, 2003

News Poll

Bush didn't say he didn't read. He said he didn't read the news.

I spend less than 1 minute a day on average reading the news. I might hit and scan the headlines once or twice a week. I haven't subscribed to any sort of daily periodical in more than 5 years. The only periodical I still subscribe to is The Economist and that's monthly. I'd like to read the news more but I don't have time.

So there you have it. You're co-blogging with an unread ignoramous.

Let me explain why reading the news is a low priority for me. First, it is extremely seldom that anything appears in a paper that I need to know that day or even that week or month. On the rare chance there is, someone tells me. For example, I received a call within 20 minutes of when the 1st WTC tower was hit by the airplane. There was nothing I needed to do then either and I might have been better off if no one had bothered to tell me about it for a few hours.

Second, I'm extremely disillusioned with big media. My disillusionment started in my early 20s. At that point, I had no first hand experience or knowledge regarding virtually all of the information in the newspapers. However, on those rare instances where I did know something about the subject they were writing about, it was shocking to me how often they got it just plain wrong. If the article wasn't just plain wrong, it was often misleading. I remember thinking that if somebody else read the article they'd be all confused but they'd think they had it right because they read it in the paper.

Then it dawned on me that perhaps I was being confused by a significant portion of the rest of the articles of the paper that I knew nothing about. And there was know way for me to know which articles were ok and which weren't.

Over time, as I learned more and more I would find more errors and biases. In the last couple of years that's been coupled with outright, intentional deception including the NY Times/Jason Blair scandal, Eason Jordan of CNN admitting that they purposefully covered up news in Iraq so they could maintain "access" to "news" in Iraq, multiple media outlets calling the Iraq War a "quagmire" last March when it was clearly no such thing, dire reports regarding afghanistan two years ago, and on, and on, and on.

The thing is, if only a few percent of the news is screwed up, it's not (in my opinion), worth reading any of it. Because I don't know which few percent is bad I can't rely on any of it.

As far as non-news, non-technical reading, I probably average around 45 minutes per day.

Anyway, you see why I can't hold Bush's choice against him since it's the same one I've made.

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