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No News

news is really not news, but it is a great deal of opinion, bias, and bitterness that brings divisiveness amongst the listeners whom it is meant to serve.

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Rabbi Berel Wein

Sivan 28 5781
There is a saying that no news is good news. There is truth to this statement, for when there is nothing lost, it signifies that nothing untoward has occurred and that life in society merely continues to roll along normally. I have always maintained that no news is also exactly what it says – that the absence of startling news is a neutral thing. Those in the world who have an optimistic view of life see no news as a positive thing, because of the absence of bad news or sad tidings.

Those who are pessimistic and dour by nature will view no news as being a negative thing, for it merely continues and confirms the negative view of everyday life events. So, no news is really the conundrum of the glass being half full and also half empty at the same time. No news is like beauty – it exists and is defined by the eyes of the beholder.

Since the advent of 24-hour seven day a week news cycle of broadcast television and the Internet, there is really no day of no news. For these networks must have "breaking" news to be able to continue their incessant broadcasting. The definition of news today has been significantly expanded to include a great deal of nonsense, and, in many cases, even complete fabrication and fancy. News has become, in the main, a matter of opinion, and we all know that there never will be any shortage of opinions among human beings.

So, news is really not news, but it is a great deal of opinion, bias, and bitterness that brings divisiveness amongst the listeners whom it is meant to serve.

Here in Israel, where, unfortunately, periodically we are confronted with violence and battles – and when that happens we all become glued to the news outlets on a 24/7 basis – we welcome with relief the fact that there is no news. There will always be politics to discuss, members of our Knesset to interview and discussions about money in Israel, as it regularly plays itself out in our wonderful little country and deeply argumentative society.

For over a year, every day we were kept abreast of the ravages of the Corona virus here in Israel. We were told in minute detail how many cases of sickness occurred daily and of the tragedies engulfing thousands of Israeli families because of the morbidity of the disease. However, now that a vast majority of the population has become vaccinated and inoculated against disease and the number of cases has become infinitesimal, the Coronavirus hardly makes the news programs here at all. So, once again, we could say with relief that no news is really good news. As all the health restrictions are being relaxed, the ravages of the Covid-19 pandemic begin to fade from our memories, though I am certain that they will never completely disappear and be forgotten and eliminated.

I am a recovering news junkie. For decades I was addicted to hearing the news at least six or seven times a day while in the United States. When I moved to Israel I brought my addiction with me and continued to listen regularly to the hourly news broadcasts here on Israeli radio. However gradually I began to recover from the addiction. Finally, I can restrict my listening to the news to one or at the most two broadcasts each day. I have discovered that by attending synagogue regularly, I am privy to all the news that one needs to know simply from the kinds of the conversations that others carry on with me. Even during the recent war with Gaza, I restricted my listening to the news to twice a day – morning and evening. By not listening to the news, I have discovered that I have become calmer, more focused on my work and projects and in a better frame of mind then when I was totally addicted to the news, which invariably is not good news. Good news does not attract advertisers and listeners to news networks.

My theory in life now is that whatever I will have to know will sooner or later be filtered down to me. So, to me, no news is really good news and any news that I do not have to hear or deal with is a plus for my psychological well-being and lower blood pressure.
את המידע הדפסתי באמצעות אתר yeshiva.org.il