a great improvement on a bad invention
"I know little about the affairs of Turkey, but I am sure that I know something about barberries and chest nuts of which I have collected a store this fall.
"When I go to see my neighbor he will formally communicate to me the latest news from Turkey, which he read in yesterday's Mail -- how Turkey by this time looks determined, & Lord Palmerston -- Why, I would rather talk of the bran, which, unfortunately, was sifted out of my bread this morning and thrown away. It is a fact which is nearer to me.
"The newspaper gossip with which our hosts abuse our ears is as far from a true hospitality as the viands which they set before us. We did not need them to feed our bodies; and the news can be bought for a penny.
"We want the inevitable news, be it sad or cheering -- wherefore and by what means they are extant, this new day. If they are well let them plain, that so they may in any case be entertaining.
"If words are invented to conceal thought, I think that newspapers are a great improvement on a bad invention. Do not suffer your life to be taken by newspapers."
-- Henry David Thoreau, Letters to a Spiritual Seeker, p.50