Why Does Bad News Sell? Must We Pitch Fear?

I would love to witness what would happen if newspapers, magazines and TV and radio news programs would keep reporting and writing about positive happenings with the same intensity and repetition as they do in regard to negative happenings.

If you’ve been watching the news lately I’m sure you’ve noticed that there have been a rash of shootings occurring lately. New York, where I live, is densely populated so it makes sense that there may be more shootings here than in sparsely populated areas but…all of a sudden?

It’s gotten by senior mind going.

This is where my starting with, “I may be wrong but…” is more than my just being careful. I really don’t have the answers for this. That said I can’t seem to stop a thought that’s been gnawing at me since the third shooting incident was reported. Reports of shootings have been on the air a few times a week now.

I’ve seen shootings occur in the past, especialy when the economy was failing. People were worried and some turned to drink or drugs – there was marijuana and hash in the 60s and cocaine, etc. in the 70s & 80s.   I can see how taking drugs can lead to trouble. Having been in the discos till 2AM every night in the early 80s, I saw more craziness than I wished to. I thank spirit to this day that I never took drugs and chose to leave the club scene after working in it for two years.

I’ve learned though studies that when people feel fear they’re capable of doing things they ordinarily wouldn’t do. I’ve learned that FEAR is only a thought and has no reality. What is real is what happens when people choose to act because they have thoughts that are fearful.

In the last year or so I’ve been noticing wild actions that I think may be coming from a different kind of fear. These people may be afraid that they’re not important. When the great singer or great inventor makes headlines that can be a catalyst for others who have dreams in this area going after their dreams. Of course, some less well-adjusted people will feel failure because it’s not them getting the attention.  They often try to cling to stars or to people who know them.

Finally to my point – a couple of months ago I started having the urge to call TV news programs asking them why they keep reporting tragic incidents every hour for weeks on end!  It happened. We all know, within a couple of days, that it happened.  With cell phones and IPads  we all know about it even if we’re half way across the planet!  I can understand hearing reports about new finding re any specific incident. However, why must the incident itself be shown – if they have footage of it having happened – or interviews with people who may have been in the area, played and replayed for days on end.

  • I’m going to dare to put forth a theory I have that people who are less than mentally stable and who are unhappy can get fired-up by all the publicity these gun-toters are getting. It took much longer in the mid 1800s for news to travel but look at how the James Brothers tickled the spirits of cowboys and how “The Wild West” became “The Wild West!”  Do you remember the sweet cow-hands that nobody talked about?
  • I sense that a lot of the shootings are what they’ve called “copycat” events.

A revelation hit me when I came back from a Retreat last Friday afternoon and ran over to pay my credit card at a bank on Fifth Avenue and 34th Street, across from the Empire State Building. I got there just before the bank closed at 6PM. There had been a killing on the street in front of the Empire State during the morning rush hour.  I was contemplating the mess that it caused for people going to work in the morning. Traffic had been reinstated by the afternoon and there weren’t too many (just enough) police around.  However, what were around were tucks from every News Program I could think of and others.  Some were even double-parked. They lined Fifth Avenue. Each seemed to want to make its presence clear to all passers by.

I wonder if all the news about killings hasn’t led to more of them happening. If the news were simply reported and not dwelt on for days and even weeks I wonder if as many shootings would have followed the first that occurred some months ago.

I wonder if an employer, whose business made a good profit due to the combined efforts of him/herself and the employees of the company, gave a special dinner honoring his/her team – and this would be reported about daily on TV and radio for weeks and written up in papers and magazines and mentioned again and again in future issues – if more businesses might not learn to work with their employees as a team.   If good deeds between friends would be reported and given prime attention might that foster more and deeper friendships?

  • If – and this is a big one in my heart – if people from different and supposedly warring countries who practice supposedly warring faiths were good friends and went out to theater and dinner together and cared about each other – might that not show the world that war isn’t truly necessary? Can we get over the hump of fear that gets between countries’ rulers?
  • I’ll write more about this in my next post.

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Published in: on September 8, 2012 at 2:38 am  Leave a Comment  

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