No News is Good News

Flip through the channels on any cable system in these United States and you will notice a recurring theme-CNN, MSNBC, Headline News, Fox News, and on and on. Turn on the radio and you have the news stations, go to your front porch and you'll find a copy of The Boston Globe, the New York Times, or some other daily. Your local store has racks and racks of news magazines, and the most popular sites on the Internet are dedicated to giving people up-to-the-second coverage of what is going on! It seems as though we cannot get away from the news in the Information Age.

If you pay attention to this constant bombardment of information, you will notice that a large portion of it is negative. Stories of war, famine, scandal, murder, crime, and other scars on the human race crowd out the stories that tell all of the good that goes on. Why? Because the modern adage "No News is Good News" is true. The news providers know that the population is titillated with sordid details. In fact, there is a name for the "good news." It is called fluff!

What are the effects of this? It would be easy for someone reading or hearing the news to believe that the world is a sad place. The inundation of negative reports are also self-feeding. People eventually become numbed to the shock of war or murder to the point that they barely notice. In addition, people no longer trust their political leaders-recent polls have the number of people believing that government officials are honest and well-meaning below 40%.

This is one adage I wish were not true. I would like to see the purveyors of news be more fair in their coverage and give us the feel-good stories most of the time. If that happened, our world would be much happier. But it is unlikely to change-"No News is Good News" captures the state of mind our culture is in right now, and people would likely turn off a news channel or stop reading a newspaper that went to positive content. Maybe in the future, after war and crime have been exorcised from society, this adage will seem like an artifact of history!

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Links of Interest: CNN Interactive
FAIR (Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting)