Why I don't watch the news & why you shouldn't either

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The national news does not make my top 20 list of worthwhile things. And it certainly should not be in your top 10.

NEVER start or end your day with news.

Bert Gulick once said, “Don’t watch the news. If there’s anything you need to know, someone will call you and tell you about it.”

This is true and I mostly follow his advice. So long-time subscriber & Planet Perry member Paul Eilers asked me to explain how I stay up on what’s going on despite being mostly unplugged from the world of ‘normal.’

I *would* be all for watching the news IF they told you stuff you actually need to know. But they don’t. Before our last Roundtable meeting, I went to breakfast in the hotel and the TV in the dining room was broadcasting some horrible story about child abuse or something. Nauseating.

I suddenly realized everyone in the dining room thought this was normal. Never questioning any of it. Not one person asked the hotel staff to change the channel. The staff switches on the TV (and maybe never turns it off), never pausing to consider whether this is improving the atmosphere. Whether it’s going to help everyone have a great trip and enjoy their day.

Nobody eating their breakfast seems to be questioning it either.

I took my breakfast outside and sat in the bench by the front door. The morning air was way better.

Unfiltered news is useless. The only exception is if you are actively seeking to publicize your business by harmonizing with existing, fast-breaking trends.

Yes, you can make a LOT of hay by synchronizing with current events. Jay Harper who sells gluten-free lipstick can crow about any number of celebs and their makeup or their diets. Email, press releases, guest editorials and blogs.

Adam Libman who does taxes can zero in on whatever the IRS is up to now or trumpet the impact of new regulations on rich or famous people. Ditto Rob Brown who advises financial planners.

Ben Gorelick who runs a hardcore mountain training school can send an email AND a press release about the Royal Family’s pampered vacation to Switzerland and how renegades choose less trodden paths.

"So many options for growing my business, but what should I do NOW?" Tell me your most pressing business problems and I'll show you your BEST next step.

The news is now driven by Click Thru Rates. Which means the news you see is whatever is triggering the Lizard Brain of very mediocre people who have little else to do.

The news is NOT your friend.

Yesterday I found out about the Zimmerman verdict because of a comment my pastor made at church. I found out about Cory Monteith because someone on Facebook expressed her sorrow.

Which just reinforces: “If you need to know, someone will tell you.”

WHEN you get your news you should be deliberate about it. If you’re looking for publicity hooks and want to ride the coat tails of fast-breaking stories, get Google or Twitter alerts.

You should seriously question how accurate the news you get is in the first place. You can be sure that the most juicy stuff seldom makes headlines.

Average people let the news happen to them. Millionaires are in control of the news they receive. They go out of their way to seek out news that affects THEIR world and THEIR projects.

The most successful entrepreneurs are highly selective about the information they receive; they prize accurate information sources and often go to great trouble and expense to find out what they need to know.

Wealthy people are highly distrustful of the mass media. They know that the media views us as evil, or at best a nuisance. They know that their job is to use the media to get customers, and to get customers DIS-engaged from other media outlets.

The most successful marketers I know all believe that their information is more worthy of attention than the news.

If it doesn’t build your dream, you don’t need it. MY information is far more worthy of your attention than the news. Because it’s what you need.

You wouldn’t let someone send you emails about random killings in Rwanda would you?

Then why do you watch it on TV?

It just makes you believe you’re powerless.

But despite what CNN says, you’re not powerless.

You can make a difference with very specific people in very focused ways.

Your job is to laser focus your very finite energy and NOT let someone else’s misery define your world.

Perry Marshall

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About the Author

Perry Marshall has launched two revolutions in sales and marketing. In Pay-Per-Click advertising, he pioneered best practices and wrote the world's best selling book on Google advertising. And he's driven the 80/20 Principle deeper than any other author, creating a new movement in business.

He is referenced across the Internet and by Harvard Business Review, The New York Times, INC and Forbes Magazine.

39 Comments on “Why I don't watch the news & why you shouldn't either”

  1. I was actually searching the web for an old Amway tape by Bert Gulick called “Habits”. I loved this tape and still remember it to this day. Anyway, I came across your site and that quote you mentioned about not watching the news that Bert mentioned in a tape I can’t remember which, is so true. Cheers.

  2. I haven’t watched the news for 2 Decades! (and haven’t been to vote on any elections for the same time either). I get my news from reliable sources, supported by decades of research and understanding the hidden powers and agendas at play. If anything, the mainstream media is only good for identifying the guys we definitely need to support – those are the ones the MSM tries to defame, including Jordan B. Peterson and Donald Trump. Research has shown that watching the news of the Boston Bombings can cause MORE SEVERE PTSD-like symptoms than actually getting bombed! Related research here:
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3890785/
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4219737/

    Public education is another thing I’d never subject myself or my kids to, ever. It serves the same purpose of dumbing us down and making us more easy to control. Read more:
    https://www.amazon.com/Dumbing-Down-Curriculum-Compulsory-Schooling/dp/0865718547/ref=mt_paperback?_encoding=UTF8&me=&qid=1544185823

  3. News is evil propaganda today , I have not watched the news since high school and plan on never listening to the sick non humans who are trying to screw this entire country! The mainstream media is all owned by the centrals banks and they are able to brainwash you and your children through their media BS. Also schools are enforced to teach fake history or just not give you the entire history just fragments that benefit the central bankers and stock market! Hopefully people are realizing our own government killed everyone in the twin towers so they could make a hell of allot of private money on their war.

  4. I don’t watch the news because I can’t figure out how it would enrich me in any way, shape, or form. Political news is the worst. It just sends me the message “here is a bunch of stuff you should worry about but can’t do a thing to change!”

    When I did watch the news, I was frequently too worried about world events to enjoy life. Now I take the philosophy “I’ll inform myself of the things that matter to me”. Some people may think this is irresponsible, but I don’t care. It’s my life, not theirs. Not gonna ruin my life to appease others.

  5. I googled this because I just decided to take all news apps of my smartphone.
    I also decided to stop watching news channels and leave the TV off for most of the day. It’s usually on all day.
    For the first 15 mins I was bored rigid, then after that I realised that there is a world of peace and enjoyment as standard built into all of us. Let the love within take priority.
    I already knew this but I forget sometimes.
    I practise something called “Knowledge”
    and have done for 30 years but this article inspired me to be wary about what I let into my life. Thanks
    Words of Peace is a website where you can apply to be taught how to practice Knowledge. It’s totally free and available to everyone.
    Please don’t think this is spam. Just wanted to share.
    Cheers
    Tony

  6. Yes Hans!! I was thinking of Philippians 4:8 also while reading this. Watching the news doesn’t make me a better person. I’m better off to society when I’m feeling happy, optimistic, strong, and filling my mind with positive, uplifting ideas and thoughts! ?

  7. Perry,
    You hit one of my hot-buttons. I know several people who lead abnormally limited lives because they’re extremely fearful, and in each case, after talking with them about the reasons, I’ve come away convinced the cause is watching TV newscasts.

    I agree with a lot of the posts. We have a responsibility as citizens to keep informed about our country’s leaders and world events so we can make informed choices and participate in the political process, but most of what passes for the local evening news on TV is blatant voyeurism. Even when limiting my news to politics, it helps to view opposing viewpoints so I can draw my own conclusions.

    Philippians 4:8 in the Bible says it best: “…whatever is true, whaever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — think about such things.”

    I think if we all followed that principle, many of us would be a lot happier people!

  8. I’ve avoided the TV news for quite some time. I like what was said above by David Solomon (see #8). The talk shows are just as insidious or perhaps even more so than the news. I am an ex talk-show junkie and news junkie, and I know that I am much better off for abandoning both of them.

    I do catch the headlines via Google News every couple days, choosing what I wish to learn more about.

    The sad thing is that the news of today really drives much of our society. I for one do not like to be told what I should be concerned or outraged about.

    Even the weather channel has fallen into this trap of trying to dramatize things way beyond realistic expectations. Each new weather event is promoted as the “storm of the century,” to the point that many are enthralled watching whatever devastation does happen, and find themselves disappointed if the event doesn’t live up to its hyped-up expectations.

    “Just give me the facts, ma’am.”

  9. Cheers Perry

    I don’t listen to the news because it’s not mine. Not wishing to show off but just because the average person if there is such a creature doesn’t know what Joe Biden does for the country I don’t think it is cause for lament. alot of people don’t know who Bill English is in NZ either but he’s the Deputy PM and Minister of Finance.

    Learning is a person responsibility that unfortunately many people don’t take seriously enough. Interesting you should speak about entrepreneurs and finding out the information that counts. I am currently on a personal mission undertaking a Crowdfunding campaign and it is a buzz just to get up each day and see how I can break through the barriers to raise the capital I need. I have been reading your blogs for six years and they are truly seminal and informative. I certainly hope the audience here can read and comprehend the necessity of not being bogged down in the daily detritus called “news” and see the value in seeking out what it is they really need to know.

    No doubt I’ll be labelled some kind of liberal hippy from “Australia” but us Kiwi folk roll like that.

    Best regards

    Maree

  10. Thank you for your blog post. I really do appreciate it.

    The media was once the watchdog of the government. Now they are the lapdog.

    I no longer watch the news and have not for months and months. It’s garbage for the brain. Garbage in, garbage out.

  11. Hi,

    I use to work for a TV station and I would go to the morning News Dept’s conference in the morning. The news for that that nights news broadcast was manufactured at that meeting. Only earth shattering news replaced the other bull shit.

    Norm Ford

  12. There are studies that show that listening to short bits of information reduces your ability to learn bigger subjects in depth. So avoiding the news helps your brain in many ways. Read a book instead and get educated for real.

    My city (Calgary, AB) flooded a few weeks back. I didn’t know it until 2 days later when my brother from Japan called me to see if I was okay!

  13. Having more time freed up for better things to do in life is another good thing about not watching tv and not listening to the radio (I’m allergic to the radio – those people there blabber excessively – waaaay too many words – possibly in a wrongly directed effort to make up for not being “visual”.) Radio hasn’t been a part of my life for more than 2 decades, TV for quite a few years (except when I happen to hear there’s a good film on).
    Last time I used to sit down and listen or watch the news was two decades ago when there was a war here in Croatia. So I came to realize what despicable manipulation the whole media establishment was living on. Today I can recognize it anywhere from a mile. And avoid it like the plague unless I have a special wish to point out at its real nature.

  14. What you said about the “nauseating” story is why I quit watching the news in my early 20’s (now in my mid-50’s). It’s not that I don’t care that a little girl was badly hurt, it’s because I care too much. And there is not one single thing I can do about it. And I could’t agree with you more that the media is not to be trusted about just about anything. I will even go so far as to say that we no longer have a free press. Woops, starting to get on a soap box here. Glad to know others feel like I do.

  15. I agree with you Perry about the mass media. It really is hard to believe even the important stories now-a-days. And like you said someone will eventually tell you about the story through social media.

    I don’t know if you will agree with me on my next point, but I believe the next trend will be for people to get their news from youtube more then anyplace else, because they can chose what they want to hear and by whom they want to hear it from. But, I still think that that is dangerous, because from what I have heard a lot of people get their news from the daily show with Jon Stewart which is neither a news network nor journalism. I think journalism will be a thing of the past in the near future with too many voices to hear from at least the way we know it. The news is getting more and more opinionated and less journalistic. It’s a trend.

  16. “Unfiltered news is useless” Oh, but that the news were unfiltered. On the contrary, every little bit of the news that you see has been carefully and cynically filtered by professionals to make you feel even more lost and frightened.

    Yes indeed, those are the first 2 steps of Dan Kennedy’s sales letter formula. These news organizations are marketers too: they do everything they can to addict you, to manipulate you into feeling that you must consume even more of their product to stay abreast of this frightening world.

  17. I kicked the news habit almost two years ago, & I can accurately call myself an ex political news junkie. I found myself yelling at the tv before my day had even started and what did watching it change? My blood pressure, my mood, my outlook and my hope for humanity…all were adversely affected by this daily drudge and death report. My life has fallen peacefully back into a place I like…without it. People will certainly tell you…many times way more than you want to know. When an independently owned, morally conscious program of the GOOD NEWS, (yes, good things DO happen too), is broadcast I will tune back in. Until then, my statement has become “I stopped watching the news…I’d rather spend my time in a positive frame of mind”. That seems to make people pause for thought.

  18. Since I work in my “cave” all day and we don’t have satellite TV, cable TV, or even a regular antennae; I don’t watch any news.

    Like you said Perry, if it’s important enough, someone will ask “Did you hear about…” or my Facebook friends will post a comment or a link to an article that they read.

    Even if I’m totally clueless about a lot of “news” that’s going on, I’ve found over the years that it hasn’t really hurt me by not being informed. Actually, the opposite would be true.

  19. I agree with both Dave and Perry.

    News is important. News is tribal DNA. How we grew up and survived from the waterhole. You wouldn’t have humans without news. We would be extinct.

    It can wake us up and make us want to take action. That would be “good” news. (Not necessarily likeable news).

    There is definitely “news about the news”. Even, “News for News Sake”.

    Which is the same news. Over and over again. Recycled and regurgitated. So its not news any more.

    Which dilutes it and make it “noise”, not news. But humans are drawn to noise also.

    So I think Perry is saying – be selective about your news.

    Value it, but choose it – be proactive, not reactive (first lesson from Stephen Covey).

    Trust the source, not necessarily the volume or frequency.

    Thanks for reading!

  20. Perry you need to add not only the newscasts which I also try to avoid but also the Radio and TV talk shows which seems to harp on the topic of the week which gets the most listeners whether it really matters or not.

    I have stopped listening to radio completely in the last 2 years and really don’t miss it. I scan the daily news on my ipad and choose to pick what I want to read and when I want to read it.

    I find that the news in general brings down my spirit and I want to be uplifted by what I read and not be so worried that the world looks like it coming to an end soon, if you catch my drift.

    That said, I do not have my head in the sand when it comes to using the news to help sell my products, in fact, I welcome any news that has to do with dieting, fat loss etc., as that helps to create a need in the minds of many who really need my product.

    And perhaps after hearing the news that they might die soon if they don’t do something about their problem, they might buy my product if they read the news which has to the side of it my advertisement.

  21. Dave Vranicar, above at #4, made noteworthy and well informed comments, in my view.

    In addition, have a few questions for you.

    Would you want to know if the U.S. mainland was about to be subjected to nuclear attack? Would you want to know if the federal government privatized, negated, or made major changes Social Security retirees’ benefits, Medicare, Medicaid, labor legislation, anti-trust laws, income (or other) tax legislation, major corporate and/or business regulation, access to the internet, federal insurance for bank depositors, etc? Would you want to know if martial law was about to be imposed not only in Chicago and its suburbs – but the whole State of Illinois? Would you want to know if the U.S. Senate and House passed legislation (which the President was about to sign) imposing a federal flat tax of 75% on personal and business income?

    Your view above – ” My information is far more worthy of your attention than the news. Because it’s what you need.” – for me, seems myopic and dangerously self-centered.

    I do agree with your point that “Unfiltered news is useless.” In addition, now news outlet (or person) provides unbiased news. So, seek out the best informed sources you can. For some, it might be “The Wall Street Journal” (news coverage, not editorial pages), “The New York Times”, CNN, etc. Others might pick Fox News, the editorial pages of “The Wall Street Journal”, etc. For others, different choices would be evident.

    However, to hold the position – “If you need to know, someone will tell you.” – in my opinion, is synonymous with burying your head in the sand (while hoping for the best) and problematic – to say the least.

    1. Would you want to know if the U.S. mainland was about to be subjected to nuclear attack?

      HELL No. Who wants to deal with that if they don’t have to?

      Would you want to know if the federal government privatized, negated, or made major changes Social Security retirees’ benefits, Medicare, Medicaid, labor legislation, anti-trust laws, income (or other) tax legislation, major corporate and/or business regulation, access to the internet, federal insurance for bank depositors, etc?

      No. Knowing about it won’t change it and it would just mean I would have to adjust my means.

      Would you want to know if martial law was about to be imposed not only in Chicago and its suburbs – but the whole State of Illinois? Would you want to know if the U.S. Senate and House passed legislation (which the President was about to sign) imposing a federal flat tax of 75% on personal and business income?

      No. It doesn’t matter. All that would mean is having to find new loopholes and stick it out until it changed. Knowing about it won’t make it stop.

  22. Perry, Thanks.
    Although I naturaly don’t watch the news, because I have naturaly reaized it kills my time, no matter how interesting it may (seem to ) be, even the good news, like, mabey, Princess Kate just had a baby boy? or questionable stuff like, the job market has gotten better, I felt somewaht guilty after waiting for the Zimmerman verdict on CNN on Saturday, and realizing I knew what the verdict would be. I believe I’ve come to the point where I can predict the news, based human nature.

    Thanks for your breath of fresh air reminder, that the news should be our news as entrepreneurs.

    Gerald

  23. Controlling the news is kind of simple. I learned which channel the weather and traffic news is broadcast on and tune into that. Otherwise I use the on/off control on the remote. BTW, even more poisonous and deleterious to your sanity than the talking heads on the news are the talking heads on the political commentary shows.

  24. Wow. Perry. I’ve been following you for about five years, and I almost always agree with what you say. But on this point, I think you’ve gone off the rails. Maybe this is a rant aimed at getting on the same emotional wavelength as your target audiences. If so, it will probably work.

    First, a few points of agreement. Yes, most broadcast news is awful–sensational, trivial, stupid, and useless. So are most social media. And so is most print journalism.

    But we have a crisis of ignorance in the United States, and I shudder when I hear you tell enterprising people that it’s OK for them to turn their backs on the news.

    You’ve read the data I’m sure. Most Americans can’t name the vice president of the United States. A substantial percentage can’t even identify the century in which the Civil War occurred. How can we expect such ignorant people to vote for good solutions to all the problems our society faces?

    Despite your overall critique of The News, few really good news outlets tell a solid story, and they don’t pander to popular taste. I’d put the New York Times, the Economist, National Public Radio, and the Wall Street Journal in this class.

    You’ll say that each has a bias. And I’d agree with you. ALL media have a bias. That’s why you have to read a spectrum of publications. At least the news organizations I’ve mentioned here try to be fair.

    Many of the important things voters need to know don’t just “bubble up” through social media. The average person, for example, isn’t going to comment in social media on the massive extinction of plant and animal species that’s been underway for decades. But conscientious voters–including entrepreneurs–should know about it, and should care about it.

    When smart, enterprising people turn their backs on the news, or rely on what other people regurgitate through social media, I shudder for the future of any democracy–and especially ours.

    Dave

    1. Dave,

      The news in the hotel lobby does not educate you.

      The Economist does; and to a lesser extent Time Magazine does.

      But the standard stuff on the TV is the exact reason why people don’t know basic facts about the world.

      You have to go out of your way to get educated. Education never just ‘happens.’

    2. Dave,

      Do you trust TV news editors (with potential vested commercial and political interests which they don’t particularly hide) more than your personal friends? I agree with Perry. If I need to know something from the traditional mass media, my friends on Facebook and Twitter will let me know. If they don’t think it’s interesting or worthy of sharing, then I honestly don’t think it’s worth my time.

      Most of the social issues you are talking about are seriously covered in social media. For someone interested, it’s not hard to find. TED is on youtube. Also, I doubt which century the Civil War occurred is “newsworthy” according to traditional media, or the person of the vice president. The real problem is most people aren’t interested in the things you mention.

    3. Dave,

      I totally agree that as a nation, we are very poorly informed. But do you really think that watching the news will give us an informed population? As it is, most people get their information from the news … and make voting decisions, diet, medical and other very important decisions on 30 second sound bites … that are profoundly biased.

      Our democracy is not working. Just look at congress. Even our congressional members are poorly informed, voting the party line rather than a properly researched, well informed vote.

      Sorry, we cannot rely on the news media to educate the population by giving an unbiased, multi-sided view of events. They are too concerned with 1) attracting viewers based on sensation and 2)furthering their own point of view.

  25. I totally agree.

    It is really sad how biased the news reporting has become. I can remember when journalism tried to be fair, presenting the facts without slanting the story to fit their political point of view.

    Now I find it impossible to watch/listen to any news program. Each outlet has their own agenda/view of what how we should view the events of the day and they go to great lengths to tailor the news to fit their point of view.

    As you point out, most news stories just pollute our minds, taking valuable energy from what we should be doing/thinking about to getting all worked up about the biased reporting.

    The best solution is to limit the sources you allow into your personal space, those that do not help you advance your own goals should be shut out.

  26. Perry:
    This is so true…and even my 13 yr old gets it. Last night after we watched the extended John Deere tournament playoff… 60 Minutes came on and were interviewing a serial killer “angel of mercy” and they even stated they have never done so before in their long history but obviously thought people would find some value in this…my son asked who cares? and why are wasting time reporting on this?

  27. Glad to hear someone else feels the way I do. People look at me funny when I tell them I don’t watch the news. In fact, I refuse to watch it – I leave the room. The news only adds negatives to one’s life. Who needs that?

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