My Top Two Lessons from 2020
I’m writing to tell you some bad news.
You are being lied to.
The mainstream media in the United States is no longer reporting facts or performing real journalism. Instead, it has become a propaganda tool designed to shape narratives for political purposes.
This is happening across the board. Everyone from Fox News to CNN and others are doing the same thing, albeit with a different political focus.
I want to be clear here, there are individual reporters/journalists who continue to do good work. But they are by far the exception rather than the rule today.
The vast majority of the information being put out is inaccurate at best and completely misleading at worst.
Setting aside the morality of this dishonesty, one of the negative consequences of this is that you, I, and everyone else are continually being outraged, worked up, and having our blood pressure spike in order to make us keep watching.
There is a reason for this.
The Importance of Maintaining a Level Head
When you are upset, your heart rate rises, and you begin to lose your rationality.
Scientific research has actually shown that the more “worked up” you get, the less rational you are. As a result of this, you are easier to persuade than if you were calm and collected.
I know this from personal experience as a trader.
If I’m worked up for whatever reason, the quality of my trading nosedives, leading to greater losses. I then become even more emotional and my trades become even worse.
So why is the media doing this to us?
The media is dying and desperate for clicks/eyeballs on their websites/shows, and it’s been dying in the US for some time.
Social media has revealed that much of what the media talks about is pure propaganda.
Citizen journalists are the ones breaking most major news stories.
And we also know from various leaks and “hot mic” incidents that the media in the US intentionally ignores major stories for political purposes.
Because of this loss of credibility, the media looks for any big story to generate traffic.
And if there isn’t a story, they will manufacture one like “Trump colluded with Russia,” “COVID-19 is going to kill all of us,” or some other thing.
Challenge the Media
These kinds of big stories drive traffic. The average person who doesn’t read the news will suddenly turn on Fox or CNN when these kinds of things happen. And that means more revenue for dying media companies.
If you think I’m being mean-spirited here or biased, consider what Ben Rhodes, the deputy national security adviser for strategic communications during the Obama administration, said about the media:
Rhodes, 38, said in the article that it was easy to shape a favorable impression of the proposed agreement because of the inexperience of many of those covering the issue.
“All these newspapers used to have foreign bureaus,” he said. “Now they don’t. They call us to explain to them what’s happening in Moscow and Cairo. Most of the outlets are reporting on world events from Washington. The average reporter we talk to is 27 years old, and their only reporting experience consists of being around political campaigns. That’s a sea change. They literally know nothing.” [Emphasis my own.]
Source: Washington Post
Again, this is the top Obama communications official saying that the average reporter is 27 years old and “knows nothing.” So this is not me being biased or somehow mean to the media.
What you hear or read about in the media is in fact being written by people who have ZERO understanding of anything about how the world works.
We all know this on some level. Every single person reading this article is an expert on something. Have you noticed that whenever the media attempts to talk about the subject of which you are an expert that they get almost all of it wrong?
If the media is completely wrong about something you know a lot about… why would you assume they are correct about other things?
For this reason, I’ve decided to stop watching the news. I mentioned last week that one of my core principles is that if I catch someone being dishonest with me multiple times, I avoid that person.
This includes people on TV, on the radio, or in the newspapers.
Cutting Away the Filler
I’m doing this because I am focusing on improving my quality of life. To me, the big lessons of 2020 are:
- Life is fragile.
- We are ultimately on our own when it comes ensuring we and our loved ones are safe and living good lives.
For this reason, my new rule is that if something is overly negative and makes my life worse, I act to make sure it no longer has the opportunity to do this.
So I’m turning off the news, ignoring the hysterical narratives, and focusing on being kinder and politer to others.
Editor, Money & Crisis