How to Ignore the News

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“Will Trump survive this?”

A friend of mine texted me yesterday. I had no idea what the “this” was. Later, I learned.

Turns out, like most of the media’s breathless revelations about Trump’s supposed crimes, the story that people reacted to meant little. The anti-Trump media exploded with fake news, fake interpretations of real news, and speculation that supported their own angry fetishes.

But any reasonable person would respond like my friend. I did, too. For a moment.

Then I thought about it. I applied simple Stoic thinking:

  • What is under my control?
    • My own thoughts, opinions, desires, aversions, and actions. Nothing else.
  • How do I choose to react?
    • By having a beer and watching a television show with my wife.

I can’t control what Jake Tapper does. What people say and think is not in my control. So I adopted an attitude of uncurious disdain for those things. I chose to emotionally ignore them. The way I might ignore a spider I see through a window.

Later, I found a problem at work that I could help solve. So I took the first steps toward solving it. Or trying to. I did what I could at the moment. I wrote down some notes in my Commitment notebook. Then, I went to bed.

Today, I noticed several reports pointing out that all of yesterday’s breathless reports about a grand jury were really non-news. Special counsels use grand juries all the time, the way doctors use stethoscopes and plumbers use PVC pipe. If a special counsel didn’t use a grand jury, he wouldn’t be doing his job. A grand jury authorizes just about everything a special counsel does. It’s a formality to hold those lawyers in check.

Non-news.

Non-news the anti-Trump media treated like a supervolcano eruption that wiped out half the population of North America. Because the anti-Trump media choose not to control the things they can control: their own thoughts, opinions, desires, aversions, and actions. They chose to go berserk on the air like a spoiled kid in the toy department at Target.

You don’t have to avoid the news to live free. It helps merely to remember what’s in your control and what is not in your control.

I can’t control the media. And they can’t control me. Unless I let them. The way the media let Trump manipulate their minds.



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