Early last week, I saw at least a dozen “tweets” (messages on Twitter) from folks here in Idaho citing an article entitled “Which States Will Be The Early Risers?” which named Idaho as one of the five States most likely to lead our country out of the recession. Everyone seemed very excited about this terrific news. In fact, it was tweeted with such vigor that you’d think the title would have been “Global warming solved!” It cited factors such as “a strong high-tech industry” (did they miss the loss of 6000 jobs at tech anchor Micron over the last few years and thousands more at HP’s local division?) and other factors such as “most days of sunshine in the last 9 months” and “most recycling per capita”. (okay, I’m joking about the last two).
Then, three days later, someone sent me a link to an article in the local paper titled “Joblessness average in the Treasure Valley soars past nation’s” which stated that “unemployment in the Treasure Valley – once the powerhouse of Idaho’s economy – jumped 1.2 percentage points to 9.6 percent in May, exceeding the national rate for the first time since the recession began.” I found it quite amusing that despite the fact that this article was on the front page of the paper, not one of the folks who were so anxious to “tweet” about our imminent recovery took the time to share this article about our higher than average jobless rate.
So which is it? Light at the end of the tunnel or doom & gloom? Don’t we see the folly here folks? My $.02 is that nobody really knows and I don’t really care. Personally, I stopped listening to this nonsense a long time ago. I want to be clear, this is not an attack on the vast majority of journalists who do a tremendous job of keeping us informed on what’s going on in our communities. What I’m fed up with is the endless prognostication of prognosticators whose sole purpose in life seem to be predicting things that are completely out of our control and causing fear and loathing among the general population.
A long time ago, I started significantly filtering the news that I consume. I read voraciously about my industry (technology) and try and stay informed on the important issues that will shape the future of our country, the State of Idaho and my local community. But it’s been 15 years since I’ve watched any of the popular “news” channels (or any television at all for that matter, other than the occasional sporting event) and I quickly pass on articles that venture down the path of those above, and I don’t miss it one bit.
It’s the beginning of summer. I’m proposing that everyone should try going the next 30 days with a new filter on the news that they consume and see how it affects them. It’s beautiful out. Go outside and take a walk or play with your kids. Get some exercise or cook a nice dinner for your spouse. Stop paying attention to this garbage and focus on things in your control. I assure you that the date of our departure from the recession won’t change but there’s a good chance you might find yourself with a sunnier disposition a month from now. As they say on Twitter, #boycottcrapnews