PLEDGE NOW
Headline Nation: Making Sense Of The News

Navigating the news. We live in a torrent of headlines. We’ll get a philosopher’s guide to sorting it all out.

A stack of newspapers. (Flickr / Jon S)

A stack of newspapers. (Flickr / Jon S)

The news is everywhere.  The news is too much.  The news is not serious enough, not factual enough, not contextual enough.  Everybody has an opinion about the news.  Fox News, celebrity news, “lame-stream media.” Alain de Botton has written about sex and travel and Proust and philosophy.  Now he’s writing about news.  A kind of philosopher’s take on what we’re getting and not getting.  How we’re overwhelmed and under-nourished by the news.  How the news can power a democracy, or cut it down.  This hour On Point:  We’re thinking through, getting meta, on the news.

— Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Alain de Botton, philosopher, essayist and documentary producer. Author of “The News: A User’s Manual.” Also author of “Art As Therapy,” “How To Think More About Sex,” “Religion For Atheists” and “A Week At the Airport.” (@alaindebotton)

Lisa Tozzi, news director for BuzzFeed. Former deputy editor for the New York Times. (@lisatozzi)

From Tom’s Reading List

The Huffington Post: The Difficulties Of Consuming News — “Much of what we now take for granted as news has its origins in the information needed by people making major decisions or at the center of national affairs. We still hear the echoes in the way news is reported; timing is assumed to be critical, as it really would be if we were active agents. If you don’t have the latest update, you might make a terrible blunder or miss a wonderful opportunity.”

The Observer: “The News: A User’s Manual” by Alain de Botton – review — “De Botton can be infuriating as well as stimulating. He pronounces from a philosopher’s lofty chair. He does nothing you could call probing research. He merely analyses what he sees – and that can be naively obvious. He wants fewer bare facts in The News and more context and explanation. Fairness and balance? They only make sense as part of an overarching narrative (which can also be called bias). Put aside the twists and turns of economic reporting. Seek economic understanding instead. Don’t make politics boring. And, while you’re struggling to do better, rediscover an abiding interest in foreign affairs. De Botton wonders plangently why Uganda is so sparsely covered.”

The Daily Beast: What is the News? Whatever Alain de Botton Thinks It Is — “If we are to believe de Botton, though, this decision isn’t ours to make. The average reader, he declares, is but an unwitting receptacle for media narratives. The news possesses ‘the power to dictate what our idea of ‘other people’ will be like.’ That’s right: dictate. ‘If we are regularly told that many of our countrymen are crazed and violent, we will be filled with fear and distrust every time we go outside. If we receive subtle messages that money and status matter above all, we will feel humiliated by an ordinary life.’ No, of course. ”

Read An Excerpt Of “The News” By Alain de Botton

Alain de Botton On The “Point” Of The News

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
Feb 12, 2016
Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., reacts to the cheering crowd at his primary night rally Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016, in Manchester, N.H. (AP Photo/J. David Ake)

Trump and Sanders take New Hampshire. Ferguson under fire from the Justice Department. A rocky week on Wall Street. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

Feb 12, 2016
Overcast sky surrounds a man as he rests beneath the art sculpture 'Cupid’s Span' Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012 at Rincon Park in San Francisco. The Bay area has endured unsettled, rainy weather for a week. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

Love in the digital age. Romance, sex and expectations in a time of Tinder, Bumble and OKCupid.

RECENT
SHOWS
Feb 11, 2016
A sampling of same of the great books author David Denby thinks could help encourage young readers to love books. (National Post)

David Denby on the 24 great books that can bring even today’s kids to reading. And maybe you, too.

 
Feb 11, 2016
In this Oct. 21, 2013, file photo, Vern Lund, president of Liberty Mine in central Mississippi near DeKalb, Miss., holds some of the lignite coal planned for use in the nearby Mississippi Power Co. carbon capture power plant. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis, File)

The Supreme Court hits the brakes on the heart of President Obama’s push to fight global warming. We’ll dig in.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Notes From New Hampshire, #9: Remedy Or Replica?
Wednesday, Feb 10, 2016

Jack Beatty offers one last note from New Hampshire, and looks beyond to the primary races yet to come in both parties.

More »
Comment
 
Tom Ashbrook’s Note From New Hampshire
Tuesday, Feb 9, 2016

Fresh off the New Hampshire Presidential Primary results, host Tom Ashbrook reflects on his trip to New Hampshire, and on what comes next in the race to the White House.

More »
Comment
 
Notes From New Hampshire, #6: Bernie v. Hillary — The Electability Debate
Monday, Feb 8, 2016

Bill and Betty are not real New Hampshire voters. But their arguments about the Democratic race for President most certainly are.

More »
Comment