We could all use a little good news couldn’t we? Indeed bad news is all around us. All you need to do is turn on the television, click on your favorite news website, listen to some talk radio, or pick up a newspaper, any newspaper, and your will get your fill of bad news.
Yes, all of the media is chocked full of the depressing, shocking, and horrendous. Every source from the most respected news agencies to tabloid rags are in the fray. You may ask why. Why is all you see, hear, and read about bad? The answer is quite simple. Because that’s what you want.
You want to hear about the gore of the latest mass killing. You want to see the carnage. You absolutely live for the depressing. Fourteen killed at a community college, “Wow, I have to read about that.” you think to yourself as you try to picture the scene in your mind. The economy is spiraling down like a plane with one wing, your mind races “Oh yeah that’s just what I though was going to happen.” Just face it, you live for this stuff.
Now we are back to the question of why. Why does bad news sell? And mind you, we are talking about selling here. The reason why it sells is because good news is boring. Good news is boring because it is all around you. Good news encompasses the whole of your life. To make the point, think about your daily routine.
You wake up and get out of bed. No harm there. You get ready, get the kids off to school, get to work, drive home, cook dinner, help with homework, and off to bed to do it all over again tomorrow. Sounds familiar doesn’t it? Nothing in that little scenario is going to stop the presses. There may be a few variations from day to day, but it is all basically the same. It’s all boring.
Let’s take a closer look at that boring day shall we? What you have really done is prove that first, you’re alive (that’s the waking up part). Second, you have a family. Third, you have a job. Fourth, you have a car or some reliable sort of transportation. Fifth, you have food to cook and eat. Sixth, your children are in school and learning. Finally seventh, you have a nice comfortable bed in which to rest your weary body. That is all good news. Furthermore, 95% of America has some variation of this same good news. We are bored beyond belief with good news.
When the majority of your life is routine and the routine is good, and the majority of people who surround you live the same life then you are no longer important. You lose your personal identity. But surely there is some way to regain your precious individuality.
It’s bad news. Bad news is different. Bad news commands attention. Bad news brings attention to whoever gives it. No matter how grand the story, or how respectable the source, in its basic form telling bad news is pure gossip. It is just like Aunt Bee on <u>The Andy Griffith Show</u> talking to Sara about Helen not entering the pie baking contest at the county fair. People want to listen to things that are different, and if those different things are bad things, then so much the better.
The news media has exploited this to the 9th degree. They have created the grand rouse. The media has figured out that our thirst for bad news is unquenchable. We don’t just like bad news, we love it. The worse the news, the more we’re interested. Now the media with the most bad news gets the most views. They sell more newspapers, get more viewers, and get more clicks. This is a golden recipe for advertisers. Advertisers couldn’t care less about the content of the media source. They just want customers, and they have the money to pay for their ads. You see where this is going don’t you?
Let’s take it a step further. The next time you read a news story about how the economy adversely is affecting your retirement, notice the ads. There is sure to be several advertisements for financial planers, or investment brokers, or something of the sort. The media has paired the problems that ail us with the solution. They have your illness and your pill.
The news is bad because individually we want to be the one who tells someone else. When you see a car accident, what is your first thought? You are probably thinking about what happened, who is involved, is everyone alright, and who am I going to tell first. You are gathering information. You are gathering this information to relay it. If you are the person who has the information, then you are important. Everyone at work will ask you what happened. You get the attention.
The media is the same. How many slogans have you seen for different news outlets that say things like, “First one the scene”, “We broke the story”, “You heard it here first.”? They want to tell you first because then you will go to them first, so you can be the first to tell others. It’s a vicious little circle isn’t it?
Ultimately we like bad news because bad news is different, even though it dominates all media sources. Bad news gives us the chance to be first. If we didn’t hear the initial story first, we will be sure to get the update first. And, of course, we will follow the court case. Bad news sells. It is not that bad news is more important than good news. It is because we like bad news better. Our lives are full of good news already remember? If rainbows and ponies was what we wanted to hear about, then you could bet your bottom dollar that the lead story on all major networks would be about Rainbow Bright and My Little Pony.
As with all other things, the answer for why is the news is always bad can be found by simply following the trail, the money trail.