Activism Political Commentary Society

The news is a drag

Liked I have a secret. I hid it for years. by Amanda Ripley (Unraveled)

Even when things get better, when Covid cases plummet, when Congress actually acts, when a police department get reformed, when greenhouse gases get cut… the framing of the news doesn’t change. It remains the same: Vibrating with anxiety, reflexively disappointed, rarely delighted.

It’s like that friend you have — who always sees the worst in everything. You go out for coffee and feel empty afterward. Finally, you stop going.

I like this comparison — that the news is that person who’s always a drag.

So what would be better? In the essay, I make the case for routinely and systematically reporting out Hope, Agency and Dignity in every story.

Hope and agency for sure; right now the news feels disempowering and hope-draining — and that it’s intended to! The publisher’s goal is the clickbait headline, which often preys on your fears or manipulates you through your sense of identity — but in being so endlessly negative they support the fascists who want you to give up on social justice because there’s no hope, they back the corporations who want you to give up on climate change because there’s no hope, and they further divisions by turning you against the outgroup — whoever isn’t like you.

We need to see signs of agency and hope so we will risk action even when the stakes are high — especially when those in danger are someone unlike us.

See also: don’t read the news

By Tracy Durnell

Writer and designer in the Seattle area. Freelance sustainability consultant. Reach me at She/her.

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