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How the News Is Killing You

Reading mass media news articles is unhealthy and causes unhappiness, so stop it; Americans want to know more about socialism, as evidenced by Merriam-Webster’s two most searched entries in 2012; meanwhile the Swedes were dissatisfied with gendered pronouns and have officially incorporated a third, gender-neutral one into their language. These discoveries and more below.

On a regular basis, Truthdig brings you the news items and odds and ends that have found their way to Larry Gross, director of the USC Annenberg School for Communication. A specialist in media and culture, art and communication, visual communication and media portrayals of minorities, Gross helped found the field of gay and lesbian studies.

News is Bad for You – and Giving Up Reading It Will Make You Happier
Society needs journalism – but in a different way. Investigative journalism is always relevant. We need reporting that polices our institutions and uncovers truth.

Africa: Imperialism’s High Mark Of Conquest In The 21st Century
The US-NATO military curtain has fallen the length and breadth of Africa. “Zimbabwe and tiny Eritrea are among the few nations on the African continent that have not yet been absorbed into the AFRICOM matrix.”

GOP’s Not-So-Shocking ‘Shocking Attack’ On Obama’s Chained-CPI Cuts
A GOP official quickly called the chained CPI a “shocking betrayal of seniors.”

Upper-Income Seniors’ Medicare Hike
President Barack Obama’s plan to raise Medicare premiums for upper-income seniors would create five new income brackets to squeeze more revenue for the government from the top tiers of retirees, the administration revealed Friday.

Kermit Gosnell: The Alleged Mass-Murderer and the Bored Media
Recently, David Weigel joined a few reporters for a morning coffee klatsch with Newt Gingrich.

The Rise of the White, Middle-Class Anti-Gentrifiers
Over the past decade or so, an influx of young professionals has transformed the character of faltering urban neighborhoods like Brooklyn’s Williamsburg and Bushwick and working-class preserves in Chicago and Atlanta.

Poll: Gay Television Characters a Boon for Marriage Equality
Recent polls show that more than 50 percent of Americans support marriage equality, and a new study suggests that television portrayals of gay characters may have had something to do with it.

The Question of Socialism (and Beyond!) Is About to Open Up in These United States
Little noticed by most Americans, Merriam Webster, one of the world’s most important dictionaries, announced a few months ago that the two most looked-up words in 2012 were “socialism” and “capitalism.”

Swedish Gender-Neutral Pronoun, ‘Hen,’ Added To Country’s National Encyclopedia
“Hen” has made it into the Swedish National Encyclopedia, but it doesn’t mean what you might think.

How Many Times Should You Chew Your Food?
There is a point at which efficiency crosses over into lunacy, and the savings in money or resources cease to be worthwhile in light of the price paid in other ways.

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