That's not "fast" as in "quick", but "fast" as in "stay away from it"!
A "media fast" means going without all forms of paper and electronic news media for a week. To be specific:
• Absolutely no newspapers, news magazines, TV news, internet news, etc. Pretend you've moved to Alpha Centauri and no longer care what happens on our big blue ball in space
• Absolutely no unnecessary web surfing - i.e., unless going to a particular site is essential to completing a work-related task, don't go there
Now the good news; here's what you are allowed:
• Pleasure reading, preferably fiction
• One hour of TV per day, so long as it's not the news!
"Why Should I Put Myself Through This?"
Few people have any idea to what extent media reporting deliberately manipulates their opinions, carefully plays on their fears and anxieties, and presents them with a story that's so vacuous as to be completely useless.
Just last week I had to good fortune to talk to an expert in disaster management who has inside knowledge of the events surrounding the recent massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. He explained to several of us in great technical detail how the media reporting of the incident is extremely misleading.
And, of course, much media reporting is simply there to serve a political agenda of one kind or another. In Soviet Russia they had only two national newspapers, Pravda ("Truth") and Izvestia ("News"). This led to the common saying, "Pravda nye izvestia i Izvestia nye pravda" - "The Truth is not the news and the News is not the Truth".
Unfortunately, for all of our self-righteous rhetoric about having a "free press", we're not always much better off, it seems.
All the more reason to "turn off the tap" in your own life. And it's tough to do because we get addicted to the input, the gossip and simply the background noise the media provides. Afraid of missing something critical? Right... that's about equal to your chances of winning the lottery.
Yet if you want to be a more effective and more resilient person, you need to take back control of the information streaming into your life. After all, why should you swallow all the anxiety the media's trying to foist on you??
If you even half of their dire predictions of the last decade had come true, you wouldn't be reading this - you'd have long since been killed off by West Nile Virus, Avian Flu, killer bees, al Qaeda, H1N1 or a stray asteroid impact. Yet here you are, living and breathing. Who would have guessed?
So I invite you to join me this week for the 5 Day Media Fast. As you go through this process, please feel free to leave your comments on the blog. My guess is that you're going to feel SO much better. Maybe even better enough to make some changes to your lifestyle ;-)
On your mark, get set... STOP!
~ Dr. Symeon Rodger