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Louis C.K. says Internet news is heroin

Technically Incorrect: In an email to fans, the comedian draws a contrast between news on the Web and news in newspapers.

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.

Louis C.K. A subscriber to paper truths?

Dennis Van Tine/Geisler-Fotopres/dpa/Corbis

It's slightly depressing to think that I might be involved in a drug-dealing network.

Mind you, the number of palliatives most of us need to get through the days suggests that we'll all take relief wherever we can.

Still, famed comedian and realist Louis C.K. has just suggested that news on the Web is strong, dangerous stuff.

In an email to subscribers of his "Horace and Pete" Web show, Louis mused: "Internet news is heroin. Newspaper news is nutrition." (The email was noted by site The Interrobang and part of it showed up on Twitter.)

How curious that Internet news might be spiked McDonald's when compared with the farm-to-table approach of newspapers.

Louis pleaded that readers shouldn't get mad at his personal view. However, he explained, "The truth is that the news, if you're really paying attention, is complex and boring."

He said he sets a goal for himself to read only the news that's provided by his physical newspaper, "because the stuff that goes up on sites is immediate, brash and badly reported. They just scoop it, slop it and chuck it."

The advantage of the newspaper, he said, is that it has limited space. He added, "And they have until morning to get it to you. So there's more thought put into it." There's certainly more driving a truck put into it.

It's a tempting notion that more thought is put to things that appear in papers than those that exist online. But surely some of those are the very same things.

Moreover, with a physical paper, editors may make more-stringent decisions about what will or won't reach human eyes. Now, information of all sorts appears on the Web. Some of it might be arrant bilge. Occasionally, though, the Web provides an outlet for true information that might previously have remained hearsay and gossip.

Louis does concede that "there are other avenues to the truth that are Web based."

"When I walk into the coffee places where they are literally using lab equipment and glass beakers to make the perfect coffee," he said, "I get the sense that the young people sitting at the tables are reading blogs and sites that are quiet and thoughtful."

Here at Technically Incorrect, we're always quiet and thoughtful. We don't enjoy loud noises. However, the common component between newspapers and the Web is surely the reader.

Every day, readers have to make judgments about what they believe and what they don't -- just as they must when they're at work or on a date.

Unlike the old newspapers, the Web at least gives readers an opportunity to quickly root around and find, if not answers, then enough perspectives to stop them swallowing information wholesale. Some choose not to do that. They prefer to stick to sources they know, sources that reinforce their views and thereby make them feel better.

This isn't the first time Louis C.K. has mused about the troubles that tech brings to life.

He memorably told Conan O'Brien how and why he resisted his daughters' pleadings to own a cell phone. He made a wonderful video about the societal detriments of cell phones. (Sample: "I have this friend. He has a phone that can IM, it can instant message, and so now I really want him to die.")

Louis was brought to his latest troubled musings about tech, according to The Interrobang, by the way that advertising has instantly wrapped itself around the Web.

In another part of his email, he said: "When the news used to be a single broadcast that you would watch on television, with commercial breaks, there was a sense that these companies bought advertising to pay for the news to be brought to you."

It's different these days, in his view: "But now with sponsorship of individual moments of suffering, presented to comfortable gawking consumers, it feels like someone died in a far away place so you don't have to! And now you get to watch. And it's brought to you by Geico!"