Today’s Press is Flooded by Negative Headlines, and It’s Our Own Fault

Emily Esser, Staff Writer

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The opening line of the chorus of “Good News” by Ocean park Standoff is: “I need some good news, baby, ‘cause all the world’s gone crazy.” Unfortunately, this reflects all too accurately what’s being reported in today’s times.
When I joined Breezes in September, I promised myself one thing: no bad news. There’s already plenty out there, ranging from “Kim Jong Un tested a missile!” to “Local homicide!” Today’s headlines tend to consist almost exclusively of negative stories, pessimistic or bleak views that claim to “tell it like it is.” This begs the question: Why? Why is there such high demand for bad news? I mean, it’s not like it’s in short supply. People tend to complain about how there’s hardly ever any good or even neutral stories, just ask around. So, if everyone’s complaining about it, why haven’t the times changed for the better?
Back in the olden days when televisions were boxes and the news was on for just a couple hours each day, everyone tuned in to see whatever was happening. Now, you can pop onto your phone at two a.m. and see the backlash of President Trump’s latest tweet throughout all the “fake news.” We’re being fed a 24-hour, unrelenting stream of news reports, and it’s only becoming worse. There’s an old newsroom adage that goes: “if it bleeds, it leads.” One could make a strong argument for ‘negativity bias,’ a psychological term describing humanity’s collective hunger to hear and remember bad news. It suggests that we, as a species, are wired to react quickly to potential threats. Taking this into account, seeing or hearing bad news might be interpreted as a signal to change what you’re doing to avoid danger. “It’s the highs and it’s the lows we remember,” as the song “Good News” goes.
A study by the Pew Research Center conducted some national surveys back in 2014. The center found out that newsfeeds have been dominated by war and terrorism since 1986. Close followers are things like bad weather and natural disasters. On the other side of the spectrum, science, technology, foreign news, and entertainment have been pretty unpopular. Coincidence?
So, maybe some aspect of human nature is to be drawn to more negative things. Reporters realize that society subconsciously flocks in greatest numbers to bad news. They want to make a profit and decimate their competition, so the more gory and dramatic the stories, the better.
While it may not be very uplifting, bad news is a much more common nowadays than good news. However, it seems we have only own tastes to blame. It isn’t impossible to find good news, but you’ll have to do some digging. Besides, nothing worth having ever comes easy.