Posted on December 11, 2015

So I have read Alain de Botton’s The News: A User’s Manual. I didn’t think it was so much a user manual as a description of what Alain de Botton thought was wrong with the news and what Alain de Botton thought the news should be.

I totally agreed with his explanation of the things which are wrong with the news.

As for what the news should be, they are very worthwhile ideas. I have no idea though how these ideas could be realized. I would like to read an explanation of that. How would the current journalist crap machine be transformed into a benefical industry which delights readers and gives journalists back their self-respect?

He has other ideas, such as why most cities are ugly, and what they should look like. To me there is a solidly possible way to achieve a non-ugly city. It could happen if residents got sufficiently political.

But for news, readers could complain all they liked, vouch not to read it, etc, and journalists would continue to publish exactly what serves them.

Anyway what I want to note in this post is how blatantly uninformed and false most news is. One doesn’t generally notice it because one is usually equally ill-informed to the journalist.

But on the rare occasion when you have the facts and/or knowledge you can see how the journalist completely missed the point, over-generalized, made something up, or reported someone’s lies without question.

I guess it can be excused by saying that some truth is better than none at all, and a generally mostly accurate overview of everything is beneficial, even if the details are wrong. Not to mention that a journalist can’t be expert on everything and doesn’t have much time to write their piece.

But I still wonder if I would be better off not reading any news, instead of reading so much false.