Watching the News is Bad For Your Health

by DavalosMcCormack on December 7, 2009

I was watching the evening news on ABC the other night. It was terrifying. There was death and dismay and disease and pain and suffering. And that was just the commercials! Honestly, nothing on the newscast – whether it was war, crime or recession – was nearly as grim and depressing as the ads running between the segments, which were about what drugs you should take if you have “fill in the blank” disease.

And it’s not just on ABC. You can get the same experience on CBS, NBC, and any other evening national news broadcast.

It’s amazing. It’s as if the only people watching the news are doing so because they are too ill or old or diseased or all three to move away from the TV. There are ads for medicine to treat high blood pressure, ads for medicines to treat erectile dysfunction caused by high blood pressure, ads for medications for acid reflux or heartburn, ads for.. well you get the picture. You have a problem, they have ad for it.

One of our friends was recently cast in a commercial for a cholesterol-lowering medication. It gets shown during the nightly national newscasts. It’s very odd to see your healthy friend on screen, talking about having something they don’t have and how a drug they didn’t really take cured them of a problem they never had and gave them back the life they never really lost in the first place.

The ad is filled with concerned faces and sad music but then once our friend finds the right treatment everything is happy and sunny once again and the screen is filled with her walking and smiling and everyone within three miles smiling right back at her.

What is scariest of all though is the constant litany of dangerous side effects that each drug has that run like a drum beat through each ad. “Don’t take if you are pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant, know someone who is pregnant or can even spell the word pregnant. Don’t take this if you take the medication mentioned in the five previous ads. If you have an erection that lasts longer than 2 days shouldn’t someone other than you have noticed by now. Side effects may vary, consult your doctor before taking.”

Now I understand why the Beatles once sang “I read the news today, oh boy”. Oh boy indeed.

No wonder young people don’t watch the news on TV anymore. Not only is it easier to get exactly what you want when you want it by going online, you also get to avoid the scary “old people’s disease” ads.

That’s one of the reasons why Dr. Andrew Weil, one of the guru’s of complementary medicine, advises people to take a “news fast” every once in a while. Don’t watch TV news, don’t read the newspaper, don’t listen to news radio. Give yourself  a break.

After watching all those commercials, it’s not just your brain that will appreciate the downtime, your heart and your spleen and your liver and your kidneys and several other organs that shall go unnamed will as well!

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