I’d always read the news as a part of my writing ritual: wake up, go to the newsstand, buy the Times, the Post, the Daily News, get coffee and a bagel, sit down with the papers, read until an un-definable click occurred and I started writing. But a newspaper in your hand is a quiet thing, even when it’s a tabloid. When I gradually switched over to getting my news on the web, it was like walking into Internet Fight Club, with articles headlined to incite arguments from anonymous commenters who left thousands of angry, misspelled, and misinformed comments for others, also leaving the same, and each side returning to leave more, driving traffic. Reading the Times/Post/Daily News no longer elicited the click. Now, reading it online, it was the readerly equivalent of listening to cats on meth.
Read the full essay. It’s worth the ten of fifteen minutes it’ll take (unless something on-screen distracts you, of course).