Why do the media distribute more news about the bad things in life than the good stuff? Does that reflect the true state of our society? The good news versus bad news debate has been around for decades.
Every day we are immersed in stories about the most horrific acts and events that have taken place in the world. It’s common knowledge that “bad news sells.” But what is it regarding bad news that makes it attractive and readable? It seems counter-intuitive that people’s minds would be primed to seek out information which paints a nightmarish view of the world.
As per the human psychological tendency, people focus on the negatives and remember negative memories more clearly than positive ones. However, this trend is not only a cause of the media’s bias toward negative stories but also an effect of this bias. Humans seek out dramatic, adverse events. However, while this may justify why bad news sells, this does not mean that we should automatically accept how the media handles our cognitive biases.
It is also important to remain conscious of the fact the media influences to promote bad news because we are more likely to consume it. Spreading and emphasizing only negativity about events or any individual does not help.
To prevent us from becoming an overall pessimistic peer, we need to make a conscious effort to find the silver lining in bad conditions and actively seek positive news. Though it is essential to stay well informed on the issues that affect our society, it is equally important not to lose perception of the good still present in the world.
While this goal may seem unattainable, by taking the time to remember the good around us, we can be empowered to make an effort in amending the negative around us as well.