“Keeping watch” as we watch the news

I began to ask myself, “What’s behind a compulsive need for news?”

Over the past few years I’d become something of a newshound. I was spending a lot more time watching television news, and news alerts were pinging on my phone, demanding, “Stop everything and read me now!” I was afraid that if I missed something—if I wasn’t fully informed at all times—I would somehow be more vulnerable to danger and evil. It felt almost like an addiction, so I began to ask myself, “What’s behind a compulsive need for news?”

I realized that it is not unusual to think that knowing more about the problems of the world is a form of self-protection, in that the more we know about a problem, the less likely we are to be ambushed by it. Is that really true? Are we more in control of a situation if we know all about potential pitfalls? Many of us have found that we’re not—that the hunger for a constant stream of human information leads only to more fear and confusion. 

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