Rarely can you turn on your tv or log onto your internet without seeing some piece of bad news. Any given day you can hear about some mass shooting, some terrorist attack, or some natural disaster. Yet we rarely pay attention when something really good happens. Whenever we get poor customer service we usually get upset with the company and feel free to tell all of our friends and coworkers. But the vast majority of the time we received good or even great service, it’s nothing but silence.
I don’t think it’s ingratitude that cause people to pay no attention to good things and good news. It’s how we are wired. We are much more likely to pay attention to bad news than good. It served us well when we were still prehistoric hunter gatherers trying to forge a living in an unforgiving environments. Not so much anymore. We make little note of the facts that we are much less likely to suffer violence in our lives or cheated in business. We pay more attention to these facts because we hear about every murder and every foul business practice. ‘If it bleeds, it leads’ is still true today. And I am convinced constantly paying attention to these needless fears and anxieties are not good for our mental health.
I had to consciously stop watching the news because I knew that everything that is going on is not being equally reported. About all I have heard on my news feeds for a year now was election this and election that. Seriously? That’s the only thing that matters in our world for the last year? You have got to be joking. We’re sending probes all over our solar system, just finished digging a huge tunnel under the Swiss and French Alps, are testing medications that could severely slow down degenerative brain diseases, the Olympics are starting in early August, the Chinese are about finished building the largest radio telescope in history, Nicaruaga is building a canal to compete with the Panama Canal, we’re testing vaccines for HIV, and we’re discovering new exoplanets all the time. And that is just a short list. We are living in really cool times and the media isn’t even covering most of the good stuff. All the news that’s fit to print, right.
People wonder why I haven’t watched cable news in almost ten years. I have enough going on in my own life and I see enough cool stuff going on through non traditional and specialized media sources to pay attention to the cable news dinosaurs. I really don’t know anyone under the age of 40 who watches cable news on a regular basis. My brother and most of my friends don’t even have cable or satellite tv. I wouldn’t have it except I get it with my apartment. All I watch on traditional tv is live sporting events. Cable news companies, if you want to quit losing your audiences try reporting something other than calamity and politics. Some of us actually want an easy source to find out about science and tech advances and humanitarian efforts. The latest violence and the politician who got busted in a scandal doesn’t matter to most people. It certainly doesn’t matter to me anymore. That’s why I’m no longer a viewer. And that has gone a long way in helping me manage my depression and anxiety problems.