After years of feeding my habit, this political TV junkie finally suffered from total, absolute burnout. I became tired of the same talking heads babbling about the same sets of talking points; the pundits who were almost always wrong, and, when they were proven wrong, would go on to explain why things didn’t go as they should have; and the “strategists” who shared their Machiavellian concepts with the rest of us. I couldn’t take one more split-screen set of so-called experts yelling at each other, pontificating and prognosticating. I had it up to here with CNN and Fox News and MSNBC. I couldn’t bear the superficial interviews on the network morning shows or the self-important musings of the nightly newscasts. I became sick of the polls and the stories about the polls and the analyses of the polls.
So I quit. Cold turkey. No more news on television. None. No Hardball, no Meet the Press, no Good Morning, America. Free at last, free at last! Thank God Almighty, I was free at last!
So, during this election cycle, I have gained virtually all of my political news from written sources. As a result, I’ve found myself caring more about what has been said rather than how it was said. I no longer see — nor do I miss — the instant analysis that follows debates. I don’t have to subject myself to on-air advisors telling candidates what they must do to perform better in the next primary.
In the print and online worlds, there are so many more sources and options. The only shouting involves exclamation points and capital letters. The junk is easier to recognize and ignore. I’ve even found myself reading the transcripts of debates rather than watching and listening to them, which has allowed me to concentrate on substance and disregard the theatrics. There have been some absolutely moronic questions asked by debate “moderators”, but, if you think they sounded stupid on television, you should read them.
I feel more informed than ever, and I find all the talk about the irrelevant aspects of the race to be, well, irrelevant. I’m no longer a part of the electronic echo chamber, and I’m very happy. I may never go back.