It’s 5:30 in the afternoon, about the time I take my break. I put my laptop to sleep, push away from my desk and make my way to the windows to water some plants. Lo and behold there it is again. A TV in the distance that comes on at 5:30 PM sharp. And it will stay on until 11 PM tonight. Occasionally, I can see the switching from one news station to another, from one show to another. But like clockwork, the TV will stay on for five and a half hours. I’ve been watching this sad routine for four years now and I can guarantee that this TV will come on at 5:30 PM tomorrow.
This is going to come off as a polemic, and it is. I’ve been preaching against watching TV (the news, movies and shows) for years now and I finally have science to back it up!
6 Reasons To Stop Watching TV
This is going to sound racist but entertain the thought. When there is a shooting in a mostly white country or a white part of town, the whole world stops, watches and listens to the great western countries being attacked. However, when there is trouble in a non-white part of town, a non-white country or concerning non-white races, no media covers them. If they do cover them, it’s a small coverage. Some evidence to back this claim? Sure. A recent example was the 2015 Paris bombings.1 Do my dear readers know what happened the day before? The day before 40 people died in Beirut. Hardly anyone knows that. While the whole world was “Praying For Paris,” no one was praying for Beirut.
We all assume that the top news media are telling the truth but that’s the farthest thing from the truth. Business Insider published an article in 2012 stating that “Six corporations control 90% of the media in America.” These are News-Corp, Disney, Viacom, Time Warner, CBS and Comcast.2 Rupert Murdoch, a media mogul, alone owns The Times, The Sun, The Wall Street Journal, 21st Century Fox and many many more. On top of that, 26/33 of these outlets have a liberal bias.3
Ted Turner, the founder of CNN, said it best, “ABC, NBC and CBS are like a cartel, they are all within two blocks of each other.” He went on to say, “70% of network programming was trash….sleazy, violent entertainment.”
Now, I’m not saying you can’t trust the news corporations. I’m saying don’t believe the media for being 100% true or 100% false. Instead I’m stating conduct research and use your intelligence. Here is one of my biggest tips: the news is not an educator, it’s not a teacher, it is not there to teach you the fundamentals and/or give you a foundational understanding. The news is there to report current events. If you want education, the old, time-tested advice remains true, you must read books. In fact, without a foundation based on books, you’re giving the news outlets consensual permission to brainwash you.
2. It’s Negative
If you aren’t an economist, owner of a hedge fund, a trader or a professional that lives or dies by the latest news, you shouldn’t watch the news. The news is the same every day. It’s all negative. We won’t feel good by watching the news. Darren Hardy, the founder of Success Magazine says it best, “Sure, I’ll laugh along with the sitcom, but afterward, I feel the same as if I ate fast food—bloated and malnourished. And I can’t get over how commercials prey on our psychology, our fears, pains, needs, and weaknesses.”
Constant negative news has a tendency to make us anxious and negative. It makes us upset about things that don’t even affect us! We get scared watching the news. Imagine going to sleep after that all that negativity and cortisol-boosting programing.
Carl Sagan, an acclaimed scientist in the 60s and the reason I own a telescope, has this to say on television, “Overall, the most pervasive source of radio transmissions from the Earth is our television programming…The mindless contents of commercial television and the integuments of international crisis and internecine warfare within the human family are the principal messages about life on Earth that we choose to broadcast to the Cosmos.”
3. The Rich Don’t Watch TV
The higher up the corporate ladder people are, the less television they watch. Tom Corley, the author of Rich Habits, says “67% [of the rich] watch less than one hour each day. [And] only 6% watch reality TV.”4 TV is a waste of time and the rich know it. Malcolm Gladwell reports, “In just the past decade, the time devoted to advertisements in a typical hour of network television has grown from six minutes to nine minutes, and it continues to climb every year. Americans are now exposed to 254 different commercial messages in a day, up nearly 25 percent.” The rich know this and they take proactive action not to be persuaded by the media. They refuse to watch TV.
Richard Branson, the business mogul behind Virgin, once unapologetically said, “I am against the utter waste of time that is spent in compulsory watching of matches…If 450-odd people watching matches spent that time in Buckingham cleaning windows, for instance, they would gain at least something more than ‘watching others achieving something’.”
Robin Sharma, a leadership speaker, said it perfectly, “An addiction to distraction is the death of creative production.” I’m going to repeat it because it is so well said, “An addiction to distraction is the death of creative production.” Commercial programming is the consensual agreement for a long-term dumbing down. Robin Sharma, Richard Branson, Darren Hardy, 67% of the rich, all know this.
TV is a waste of time, period. Even if you’re watching a documentary, it is only a productive use of your time if watching that documentary brings you closer to your goal. Else, it’s a waste of time.
4. It Leads To Property-Crimes and Violent Crimes
For every extra year a 15 year old was exposed to TV, there is a 4% increase in the number of property-crime arrests later in life and a 2% increase in violent crime arrests. The effect is largest for children who had extra TV exposure from birth to age four. Children who grew up watching a lot of TV, even the most innocuous family-friendly shows, were more likely to engage in crime when they got older.6
5. It’s Harmful To Children
Dr.Gail Gross says, “Studies show that violence on television does have an adverse effect on children and the way they think and act.”7 This does not only affect children. Children have a difficult time differentiating between what is real or what is make believe and tend to emulate or copy what they are seeing. Dr.Gross continues, “if enough violence is viewed, the brain reacts as if the person doing the viewing has actually been abused…Now add to this the fact that children who watch violence on television have brains that are still developing, and you can see how really dangerous TV viewing can be.” Children seeing too much violence on TV are more likely to be argumentative, more likely to act out in class and more likely to be class bullies, more unwilling to cooperate and to delay gratification. Children who watch a lot of TV seldom learn how to properly socialize or even how to entertain themselves.
On top of that, parents become careless when they discover that watching TV is a lot more entertaining than taking care of the kids.
6. It Leads To Obesity
This is straight from the U.S National Institute of Health, “More than 2 hours of television viewing per day was associated with a high mean body mass index…A higher percentage of adults with health conditions watched more than 2 hours of television per day.”4 On top of that, they have a high intake of energy that comes from snacks and dinner.
TV is passive and addictive. It turns off our brains. Children and adults watch it like unconscious zombies. Meaning, we don’t have to understand what we are looking at in order to keep watching. Unplug all your TVs. Un-bookmark your news sites. Become a world class expert in your field, not a world expert on a show or the news.
To your success,
- Steven D. Levitt and Matthew Gentzkow, “Measuring the Impact of TV’s Introduction on Crime,” working paper. See also: Matthew Gentzkow, “Television and Voter Turnout,” Quarterly Journal of Economics 121, no. 3 (August 2006); and Matthew Gentzkow and Jesse M. Shapiro, “Preschool Television Viewing and Adolescent Test Scores: Historical Evidence from the Coleman Study,” Quarterly Journal of Economics 123, no. 1 (February 2008). / 101 Prison overcrowding and the ACLU “experiment”: see Steven D. Levitt, “The Effect of Prison Population Size on Crime Rates: Evidence from Prison Overcrowding Litigation,” The Quarterly Journal of Economics 11, no. 2 (May 1996).