By Jack Shafer | POLITICO
Left distended, gagging and glum by their hefty 24/7 media diets, a smattering of intelligent people are battling information obesity by applying the bariatric clamps on their news consumption. Anything to end the painful and disorienting gorging, they cry.
The most notable self-experimenter in media self-denial would be technology columnist Farhad Manjoo of The New York Times, who reduced his social media use to a trickle and canceled all news notifications on his phone for two months. Instead of consuming online news, Manjoo switched to print newspapers and achieved, he thinks, an increase in news literacy. Eve Peyser of Vice divorced herself from the internet for five days by decamping to an off-the-information-grid cabin in the woods. Reporting back, she said the test left her “calmer than ever.” Semi-retired business executive Erik Hagerman has outdone both journos by moving permanently to the sticks where he has avoided all news media since November 8, 2016. Hagerman hasn’t gone all hermit on us: He still makes the 30-minute trip to Athens, Ohio, each morning for coffee. But while at the coffee shop, as New York Times writer Sam Dolnick informs us, Hagerman often slips into a cone of silence—white noise from his headphones—to block the inevitable incoming waves of contaminating news that might travel from a stranger’s lips to his ears.