The lucky stroke crippled me and gave me a new life. Now I'm just unbelievably good looking and modest. Always turn a little to the left.
29 Mar 2015
Behind the ethics and evolution of the bad news business
Do we eat everything we are given?
Its about shock selling of News, its a consumable item just like ice cream. They believe that if they make people miserable they will buy something to make them feel good. Why, Advertising revenue and newspaper sales.
There are hidden, and serious, ethical issues in the news media. It has become an industry in which editors and journalists routinely select the most disturbing and shocking news for our daily, or even hourly, consumption.
Editors may make such decisions on the assumption that “bad news sells”, but the discourse of journalism suggests that it is taken for granted that good news is frivolous and distracts from the serious events such as wars, famine or child abductions.
There are three arguments that tend to justify this approach. We are told that consumers are free to select different types of news and that it is the media’s job to hold those in power to account – hence the interest in wrongdoing rather than “right-doing”. We are also told that bad news is in some sense good for us and for society, in terms of increasing awareness of what is wrong so we are able to take appropriate action.
Our research, however, provides strong evidence to show that these arguments are false – indeed the opposite is true – there are curious parallels with the businesses trying to sell us peanut butter donuts or stuffed crust pizza and beer.
Research found that exposure to negatively framed news items (such as war, or bumble bees disappearing) makes people significantly less likely to take positive action than those who saw more positively framed news items (peace talks, bumble bees making a comeback).
The more anxious, sad, depressed and worried the news items made people feel, the less likely they were to be motivated to donate to charity, be more environmentally friendly or make their views known.
Our brains are not adapted to process the whole of the world’s horrors, selected and framed to present the most shocking and horrifying picture of the world. It is no wonder then that many try to turn off and those that do engage with it experience anxiety, worry and depression.
It is time that we brought to light the ethical issues associated with the way in which news is selected and presented and prompt further reflection and discussion on how these issues can be addressed.