The Sensational Filter
My obsessive tendencies manifested themselves early. When I was in my early teens, two of these combined together to form a near daily hour of walking on a treadmill in the basement while watching CNN Headline News.
I didn’t have a clock but I could tell the time based on the segment that was on — world news, domestic news, financial, sports, culture, entertainment, fun fact, etc. At the time, the mid-90s, the tone seemed pretty tame and balanced and very rarely would there be anything truly breaking. If there was a catastrophe, it really was one.
NAFTA? Venezuela? Stuff that would later be turned into Netflix series — all would be slowly eked out. The read “breaking news” graphic package was deployed sparingly.
That’s not the world we live in today. He’s a quick look at some of the language used on cnn.com:
Some key words: catastrophic, worst, monster, coup, nuclear, bomb
Other sites have similar language, but it seems things only get our attention if they’re extreme.
Maybe we need our own filter tools to simmer down some of the language that we’re exposed to? Maybe a warning that what we’re reading will lead us to certain biases and world views. Just like we have noom for diet tracking, we will need tools that monitor what we consume on our behalf and at least give suggestions on how we can modify our browsing for better mental health.