I’m facing something of a dilemma. 2020 is looking to be an eventful year what with the presidential election and one third of the senate up for grabs and the entire house of representatives. Australia is on fire. The climate crisis is worsening. And then there’s all the regular everyday things that will continue to happen. I feel a duty to stay informed, but I really don’t want to. What am I supposed to do?
The duty to stay informed is pretty obvious. If I’m going to participate in society, it would be better to be knowledgeable than ignorant. I am going to participate in society. Therefore, I should stay informed. And it’s not just me. It’s virtually impossible for anyone to opt out of society. That means that everyone has a minimal duty to stay informed.
Not wanting to stay informed might seem as simple, but for me at least, it’s more complicated. It’s simple in the sense that the news is depressing. Of course I would prefer not to be depressed and avoiding the news would help with that. If that were the whole argument on each side, I would just suck it up and stay informed.
The real reason I don’t want to stay informed is that I hate the news media. They’re awful. They’re a huge part of the problem with society. And they’re just getting worse. This creates two problems.
The first is that it’s hard to stay informed when you don’t trust the sources of information. It’s not impossible. You can get the information from many different sources and compare and contrast to approximate which bits are real and which bits aren’t. Or you can do a lot of primary research to go around the news media altogether. Either one is a lot of work.
The other problem is that the only way to fix the news media is to stop supporting the current order. Every time we click a link or watch a broadcast, we are sending a bad message. There’s no reason for them to improve if they’re getting clicks and views. That’s the main reason why I want to avoid them.
So, I’m stuck. I can either be informed by supporting a terrible industry or I can take on an unpaid full-time job or I can be ignorant. I guess that makes it a trilemma, not a dilemma. That’s not helpful though. The least worst option I can come up with is to use the media to stay informed, but to protest it as much as I can. If anyone has any better ideas, I’d love to hear them.