News is mostly negative because news consumers pay more attention to negative news

News is mostly negative because news consumers pay more attention to negative news

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In other words, “news” feeds society’s demand for miserablism and people’s enjoyment of being depressed and complaining:

News coverage of current affairs is predominantly negative. American accounts of this tendency tend to focus on journalistic practices, but this cannot easily account for negative news content around the world. It is more likely that negativity in news is a product of a human tendency to be more attentive to negative news content. Just how widespread is this tendency? Our evidence suggest that, all around the world, the average human is more physiologically activated by negative than by positive news stories. Even so, there is a great deal of variation across individuals. The latter finding is of real significance for newsmakers: Especially in a diversified media environment, news producers should not underestimate the audience for positive news content.

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This paper is focused on the human propensity to give more weight to negative information than to positive information and the relevance of this tendency for the nature of news coverage. The importance of negativity biases for news is relatively clear. Negativity biases affect news selection, and thus also news production, as well as citizens’ attitudes about current affairs.

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Second, negative tone is a defining feature of news; good news, in contrast, is nearly synonymous with the absence of news.

Source: Cross-national evidence of a negativity bias in psychophysiological reactions to news | PNAS

With the advent of on line news delivery, news editors monitor each click. If news consumers are focusing on negative news, editors will know this right away and deliver more of what the news consumer wants: miserablism. We can be absolutely 100% certain that if consumers want negativity, then editors will deliver negativity and that is, in fact, what they deliver.

Consider the effects of such mass propaganda on entire populations?

An interesting study would be to determine if, with the advent of online news and click counting, has negative news increased?

Related: The above answers my recent question – why do reporters feel compelled to take a good news story and then add material to spin it in to a negative? Now we know: negativity sells.

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