Sunday, February 01, 2009

"It's not news, it's fark"

Drew Curtis is my new hero. He’s the CEO of and author of It’s Not News, It’s Fark: How Mass Media Tries to Pass Off Crap as News. What inspired the book and accompanying website? Listen:

“Initially, I noticed that a story about German condom sizes being too large would reappear occasionally. Then I noticed other stories that reappeared on a regular basis, like Seasonal Articles that come out every year (“There Will Be Traffic on the 4th of July,” “People Procrastinate When Filing Their Taxes,” and the inevitable combo article of “Where To Get Your Halloween Candy X-Rayed — By the Way, It’s a Hoax”). Then I noticed other patterns like Media Fearmongering, Out of Context Celebrity Comment, and so on. But the kicker was noticing that when actual news does occur, all these types of stories vanish completely. Until the event ends, and then media returns to its old ways.”

Most “news,” Curtis says, is negative, trivial, manufactured, and unactionable. So he’s on a low-information diet. He saves a lot of time by NOT reading a newspaper and by NOT watching TV news. And he’s a happier guy because of it. His attitude is first-rate.

But Curtis doesn’t stay ignorant of the “important” stuff. He counts on friends to alert him to things that might affect him personally or affect his business. His advice:

“Take two weeks off. Don’t watch any news, don’t read any news, don’t listen to any radio talk shows. Then tune back in. Did you miss anything? Nope. It’s the same old crap, different days. That’s what I’m talking about in my book — the media patterns that are used to fill space. It’s 95% or more of the content of any given news show.”

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At 10:24 AM, Blogger Francois Tremblay said...

Actually, I NEVER read or listen to the news, or listen to radio. I don't miss anything, in fact I probably know more.


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