Journalism

Why Is the Media So Negative?

"Everything that's bad is politics; everything that's good is the market."

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I rarely watch cable news anymore. It's all hysteria, all the time.

CNN: "We are destroying the planet."

MSNBC: "The middle class is disappearing!"

President Donald Trump says drug trafficking "is worse than ever!"

I'm glad my favorite magazine, Reason, cuts through the gloom and tells us the truth: There is less war and more food. We live healthier and longer lives. HIV will soon be history. We are increasingly free to be whoever we are and love whom we want. Even work has become more pleasant.

It's a surprising message, since most journalists tell us everything's terrible.

"They're wrong," says Katherine Mangu-Ward, Reason's editor-in-chief, in my new video.

Why is the media so negative?

Mangu-Ward says evolution wired us to see a world in which things are bad. "If you are a caveman who hears a little rustling in the weeds and you say, 'Oh, it's probably fine' and the other guy says, 'It's probably a tiger!' that's the guy who lives. That guy was our ancestor."

So today, as life gets better, my profession wins clicks and ratings points by hyping whatever makes us afraid. Reporters ignore gradual improvement and, sometimes, miracles.

"We live in a world of reliable miracles," says Mangu-Ward. "When I'm having a bad day, I trawl the internet for videos of happy cyborgs…hearing-impaired people getting cochlear implants turned on for the first time…paraplegics walking with the help of adaptive prosthetics, infants getting their first pair of coke-bottle glasses…things that, in another era, would have caused the founding of an entire religion!"

Even food is better. Meatless meat tastes as good as meat from an animal because "people want to make money by selling you a burger that didn't hurt a cow," says Mangu-Ward.

OK, so science moves forward, but how will we pay for it? News anchors tell us "the middle class is shrinking."

That's true, says Mangu-Ward, "because people are getting richer!" A chart in Reason shows that Americans moving out of the middle class mostly moved up. There are more high-income people than ever before and fewer low-income households.

Another Reason article points out that "pestilence, war, famine and death are all on the decline." You wouldn't know it from other news sources, but it's true. Deaths from war have declined dramatically.

I pushed back, pointing out that American life expectancy dropped recently. Suicide among white men is up about 40 percent.

"Still, overall, that is the tiniest blip," says Mangu-Ward. "People are living longer, healthier lives."

Even work got better.

"If you watch the news, you would think absolutely everyone is America is laboring in an Amazon factory, crying while they fill boxes. That's just not, on average, what work looks like," says Mangu-Ward.

"A couple hundred years ago, work was dangerous. It was very easy to die at work," she reminds us. "Work was extremely boring, even for people that had good jobs. Jobs are pretty interesting now, and they mostly don't kill you, and we should be grateful for that."

Reason's writers aren't dumb. They don't pretend everything is rosy.

The magazine includes reporting on "the terrifying rise of authoritarian populism," threats to a free internet, and worries that "Americans aren't saving nearly enough." But Reason is the rare publication that also points out good news.

When looking at that, Mangu-Ward sees a pattern.

"Everything that's bad is politics; everything that's good is the market."

Markets allow every individual a choice. Products and services must improve, or you won't buy them. That's why market competition brings us gradual improvements.

Politics, by contrast, gives us just two choices. Then it forces everyone to obey whatever the majority chose.

"At Reason (we) describe why everyone should have less power over each other…because people are going to make mistakes and hurt each other. Better that they shouldn't do it with the force of the state behind them," concludes Mangu-Ward.

She suspects life will continue to get better "if we can just manage to keep politicians from screwing it up."

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  1. “Why Is the Media So Negative?”

    Cuz it makes money.

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    2. Two reasons.

      The first as stated above, train wrecks sell better than stories of good policy and preparedness.

      The second is that fear is the best breeding ground to manipulate us with propaganda.

  2. “I’m glad my favorite magazine, Reason, cuts through the gloom and tells us the truth: There is less war and more food. We live healthier and longer lives.”

    Hmmmm, technically this sounds like Stossel. “Reason” may be a bit broad for this description. Guess I’d have to go back to confirm. Or I’ll just keep it in mind going forward.

    1. Stossel means that HE at reason tells the truth and some commenters too.

    2. Every boehm article is the economy is collapsing. So I agree… what positivity?

  3. The media is dominated by liberals and they are attempting a communist revolution. They WANT chaos so people will demand the government “do something” but they’re the ones causing it!

    1. +1000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000

      1. Oh and here you are. What a fucking surprise.

        1. A poster who posts often makes a comment… outrage!!!!

    2. Thank you for proving his point.

    3. EVERYTHING IS SO TERRIBLE AND UNFAIR!!!!!

      How can you not see this? Haha.

    4. I think it’s more a case of ‘the media is dominated by the Progressive Left, and the Progressive Left is losing.’ Therefore the Media is negative is a desperate attempt to get the voters to clamor to be lead to safety by Good Enlightened Progressive Leaders.

  4. Its easier to sell negativity as higher prices

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  6. A chart in Reason shows that Americans moving out of the middle class mostly moved up. There are more high-income people than ever before and fewer low-income households.

    Does that chart take into account that most households now need two breadwinners to survive instead of one?

    Will you also be trying to peddle your BS when households are forced to become three or four breadwinner households to survive by prostituting their children

    1. Actually, most households choose to have two incomes, due to greed and/or falling for leftist propaganda. It is still possible to have a family where there is a primary income generator and a primary homemaker. That family can produce and raise children to maturity, and still manage to retire and live comfortably. All without starving or wearing rags.

      1. That is American Privilege right there, buddy!

      2. It’s amazing to me how many families I know that burn through the entire second income in their family paying for childcare. They could easily be a one income family, but instead they choose to work a boring 9-5 so that someone who cares a lot less will raise their kids and witness all their little ones’ first moments for them, all because being primarily just a parent somehow got negative stigma.

        Then other people watch this insanity and conclude you just can’t make it one one income. Weird times…

        1. Maybe that 9-5 isn’t as boring as you think. Or maybe the wife working 9-5 means the husband can only work 9-5 instead of 8-6 and then gets a couple of extra hours to enjoy with the kids each day. Maybe this means he actually gets to see his kids now that he isn’t leaving for work before they wake up and getting home as they’re being put to bed.

          1. And you’re only hinting at the dimensionality. Maybe they work two jobs so that they can launch a business together. Maybe they work two jobs so they can afford property with a yard but within walking distance of a metropolitan train station. Maybe they work two jobs because they can afford two properties, one metropolitan and one rural. Maybe they work two jobs because one of them has aspirations that don’t pay the bills but their family supports them in those aspirations. Maybe they work two jobs because a member of their immediate or extended family needs some kind of support…

            1. No way, dude. Everyone is being exploited. Happy people don’t exist. So much grievance……

        2. Some of it is due to Advice Columnists who advise women to have a job and career so that when hubby assaults them, or a better babe comes along, they aren’t financially devastated.

        3. A few years ago some tv show ran the numbers on a families budget and discovered it was actually costing them $1,000 a month for the wife to work.

      3. I don’t think it’s greed or propaganda. It’s women wanting to pursue something other than being a homemaker. Fortunately now they can earn enough outside the house to make it feasible. The household work still has to get done, but they can afford to either pay someone else to do it or they can buy technology to make it quicker and easier.

        1. I’ve worked at home and I’ve worked corporate jobs. Corporate jobs suck, there’s no fulfillment it’s only drudgery. Children can be a delight, almost nothing about work is otherwise they wouldn’t have to pay you to do it.

    2. What’s your retarded definition of survive?

      1. Not to mention, what is his/her definition of “forced”?

        1. It’s Hihn; don’t expect much.

    3. So it’s a bad thing that women now have a chance to get out of the housewife mold and pursue some other type of work? They are free to do so now because labor outside the household earns them enough to pay other people (or other machines) to do the household labor that women of past generations were typically responsible for. You don’t need two incomes to live a middle class lifestyle. Families are choosing to have two incomes (and pay the associated costs of not having a homemaker) because it is more rewarding.

      1. Most jobs suck. The only thing rewarding about them is the paycheck. Traffic sucks, co-workers are a drag. bosses are a pain in the ass, etc.

        1. I guess I must be a weirdo in that most of my jobs haven’t sucked. I like having a feeling of accomplishment at the end of the day, and work has usually done that for me. When it didn’t I found another way to pay the rent.

    4. Does that chart take into account that most households now need two breadwinners to survive instead of one?

      That would explain why only couples have places to live and all single people are homeless. Thanks you for pointing that out.

    5. “Does that chart take into account that most households now need two breadwinners to survive instead of one?”

      If this was true, there should have been a VERY significant increase in the workforce participation rate over the last several decades. In 1956, the workforce participation rate was right at 60%. In 2016, it was about 62.5% (it did peak in the mid 90’s at about 66%).

      Of course, in 1950, the average new house was 983 square feet. In 2018, it was 2,436 square feet. In 1950, about 60 percent of families owned a car. Right now, it is closer to 90%. So “surviving” means a lot more cars and much bigger houses, I guess.

  7. “A couple hundred years ago, work was dangerous. It was very easy to die at work,”

    This is where you go “Thank you unions and radical extremist Far Left Big Gubment “Socialist” regulations for making work less dangerous.”

      1. I love when idiots support idiots.

        Safety regulations were passed on most states prior to massive unionization, for example child labor laws. In fact all but a handful of states had child safety laws prior to the federal bar on child labor sought by unions. The 40 hour work week was developed by Ford based on research showing decline in productivity, before Ford had a union. As work became more technical employers started involving safety as cost to train replacements became greater than safety costs. Most of these trends were in place prior to union mobilization. A few unions like miners did affect change, but most changes came in parallel to the union movement.

        But you two fucktards are too ignorant to actually go read the actual history of labor and instead blindly repeat union talking points like good ignorant dogs.

        1. Ford was paying his employees far higher than average because he wanted them to be able to buy his products and thats why he got pissed when they decided to unionize. it was essentially a slap in the face for being a good employer.

    1. Unions did play a role in making work safer, but that was before you were alive. Now they just play a role in making things more expensive for consumers and warping our political process with lobbying. The biggest improvement in worker safety, by far, has come from market-driven technological improvements.

      1. Exactly and we don’t need unions to make things safer now that we’re up to our necks in lawyers.

    2. “This is where you go “Thank you unions and radical extremist Far Left Big Gubment “Socialist” regulations for making work less dangerous.””

      No, you fucking lefty ignoramus, this is where you point out that gov’t regs were:
      1) a trailing indicator
      2) went entirely too far, causing cost increases far beyond benefits.

      1. Unions also went entirely too far. If you see that a table got bumped out of position and is protruding into the aisle, do you just push it back? Not in a UAW plant! Only the building custodians can move furniture, so you have to put in a work order and wait.

        If you note that obstruction in the aisle is a safety hazard, they’ll probably come within a few hours, but you aren’t allowed to move it. Protecting those union workers jobs is more important than safety.

  8. She suspects life will continue to get better “if we can just manage to keep politicians from screwing it up.”

    “Well, that’s the trick, isn’t it?”

  9. “”Everything that’s bad is politics; everything that’s good is the market.””

    To be honest, that is extreme if not false.
    The free market though will tend to correct “right” and “wrong” based upon what the market wants.

    Perhaps more exact is that a free market will support political rights over political wrongs based upon the concept of freedom of association that free markets are based upon.

    1. The difference between markets and politics is that when markets get it wrong, the mistakes go away. However when politics gets it wrong they try harder with more force.

  10. Why Is the Media So Negative?

    Sadly, it’s what the market demands. Consumers click on scary headlines, not happy headlines.

    1. then why are kitten videos the most popular, people are tired of the hate behind the negativity

  11. This right-wing malcontent couldn’t bring himself to mention Fox in a rant about fear-mongering and negativity with respect to cable news?

    Carry on, clingers. So far as your betters permit, anyway.

    1. You sound upset. Is everything okay artie?

      1. He just had to accept that his masters lost a high profile case–and in Charlotesville, no less.

        He’s just not happy.

      2. Haha. The rev has to be pissed about some injustice or another at all times.

        That’s how ya get to become a “better” donchaknow?

        Haha. What a sad doosh.

    2. So, you agree with everything he said to the point that this was only criticism you can offer? Also, what does this have to do with “clinging”, presumably to guns and religion?

      Finally, what about Stossel is right-wing? Supporting free markets isn’t right wing. Most conservatives don’t care about free markets.

    3. “Carry on, clingers. So far as your betters permit, anyway.”

      Ya know, the asshole bigot has a point; we should learn from ‘the elite’:
      Partial List of ‘elites’ Supporting Mass Murderers
      1) Lincoln Stephens
      2) Walter Duranty
      3) Joseph Davies
      4) Julian Huxley
      5) Upton Sinclair
      6) John Dewey
      7) Jean Paul Sarte
      8) Henry Wallace
      9) Alger Hiss
      10) Malcom Cowley
      11) Edmund Wilson
      12) G. B. Shaw
      13) Lillian Hellman
      14) C. Wright Mills
      15-20)Donald MacLean, Kim Philby, and the remainder of the Cambridge useful idiots
      21) Harold Lasky
      22) Jacques Derrida
      23) Harrison Salisbury
      24) Norman Mailer
      25) Graham Greene
      Fell free to add to the list. This took all of 15 minutes or so; there’s plenty more and it would not surprise me one bit if that asshole bigot was among them.

  12. “Then it forces everyone to obey whatever the majority chose.”

    These days it’s more often the loudest minority that gets to impose their will on others.

  13. I wonder how many of those middle class moving on up are only doing so because of inflation. If a hundred grand buys what seventy five grand did ten years ago, is that really moving from middle to upper middle?

    1. I think they’ve adjusted for inflation or buying power.

  14. When things are good there is no need for lawmakers hence everything is bad elect me to solve problems that don’t exist by making problems for others

  15. >>>HIV will soon be history.

    got an uncle and about 7 of his buddies who shoulda been on the other side of this.

  16. Orangeman. If Fauxcahontas wins, all will be right again in medialand.

  17. Since Clinton, if a Democrat is in charge they are courtiers otherwise they’re assassins.

  18. HIV will soon be history.

    And I’m sure it will disappear into history the same way everyone has forgotten about slavery and sexual inequality.

  19. “Still, overall, that is the tiniest blip,” says Mangu-Ward. “People are living longer, healthier lives.”

    If we ignore this concerning trend, yes.

    1. The link gives some nicely added detail to Stossel’s reference above. No, it doesn’t mean “everything is bad” but it does tell you something is going sideways in certain communities.

  20. The media is so negative because all the little people won’t go along with the MSM and its views regarding the impeded progressive of the left’s Glorious Peoples’ Revolution here in America.
    If we all would get behind the totalitarian socialists and turn our beloved republic into a socialist slave state, then the media would be print story after story of how wonderful our gulag truly is, how much better it is to live under socialist slavery and the many wonders and glories of being oppressed by our obvious betters.

    1. Close but no cigar.

      The objective isn’t socialism, it’s chaos in the masses and entitlement for the elite.

      The propaganda in socialist nations is simply the flip side of that in capitalist ones.

      Amidst fear and negativity the rich get richer and the poor poorer. As it has always been.

  21. Everything’s swell as long as you pretend climate change isn’t real.

    I don’t know which is more annoying, Reason’s constant pessimism about the things it thinks are important, or its constant optimism about things it doesn’t.

    1. WHICH climate change — The “Global Cooling” of the 1970s, yesterdays “Global Warming” scare, or the most recent “Global Cooling” scare (since the last 3-years temperatures are decreasing!)

      I have substantial evidence that “Changes” is about the only sustaining word in the “climate scare” fanatics cherry-picked computer models that have been proven faulty EVERY SINGE YEAR.

  22. Media would work better if work fairely. Article is nicely written.

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