The world is doing much better than the bad news makes us think

The world is doing much better than the bad news makes us think
Earth rise as seen from a lunar orbit (Image: NASA)

[Ed. – Notice that the example the author chooses to kick off his ‘deep thoughts’ is words by Donald Trump and not the media, which, when writing his presidency, focuses on what they perceive to be doom and gloom and not the robust economy he has provided.]

“Major portions of the world are in conflict and some, in fact, are going to hell,” President Trump said two years ago in a speech before the United Nations. Most things the president says are controversial, but the only disagreement most Americans across the political spectrum might have had with this statement was his use of “some.” As a rule, we tend to believe — mistakenly — that the world is getting worse.

There is a natural human bias toward bad news. The title of a 1998 article in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology sums it up: “Negative Information Weighs More Heavily on the Brain.” Negative stimuli get our attention much more than positive stimuli — which makes evolutionary sense for survival. Nice things are enjoyable; bad things can be deadly, so focus on them. And given that, in the news media, attention equals money, we can see the commercial reason for a lack of headlines such as “Millions not going to bed hungry tonight.”

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