Coronavirus

U.S. Media Readers 'Strongly Prefer Negative Stories About COVID-19'

The National Bureau of Economic Research finds that U.S. media coverage of the pandemic is far bleaker than in other countries.

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Why are Americans so prone to wallowing in despair? A new working paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) doesn't have an answer to that question, but it does provide plenty of evidence that the phenomenon is real: U.S. major media coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic has been much more negative than in other English-speaking parts of the world, in large part because of reader demand for unrelentingly bleak news.

NBER researchers found that 65 percent of scientific journal articles and 54 percent of non-U.S. news articles were negative in tone, versus an overwhelming 91 percent of U.S. media reports.

"U.S. major media readers strongly prefer negative stories about COVID-19, and negative stories in general," wrote the authors of the paper, which is rightly titled, "Why Is All COVID-19 News Bad News?"

The tone of the coverage was only weakly correlated with the reality of the course of the pandemic: There were more than five times as many media articles about rising coronavirus case numbers as there were articles about decreasing coronavirus case numbers, even during the times when cases were actually declining.

The negative coverage was particularly pronounced with respect to two pandemic-related issues: vaccines and schools. On vaccine prospects, U.S. coverage "emphasized caveats from health officials and experts downplaying the optimistic timeline and past success" of vaccine scientists. Indeed, "the terms 'Trump and hydroxychloroquine' receive more coverage than do all stories about companies and researchers developing vaccines," according to the NBER.

Similarly, U.S. media overwhelmingly took a negative view of reopening schools, contrary to both the emerging scientific consensus—which has generally held that it is safe to reopen many schools—and the tone of coverage elsewhere.

The NBER could not discern a partisan breakdown in these findings: Major media outlets on the left and right were both extremely negative relative to their counterparts in other countries.

"Negativity appears to be unrelated to the political leanings of the newspaper's or network's audience," wrote the authors.

These findings are not really so surprising, given the media's strong preference for negative news in general. The aphorism "if it bleeds, it leads" is unfortunately accurate: Newspapers and television programs cover kidnappings and murders with such frequency that it may seem like these tragedies are more common than they actually are. It's also true that we really have ourselves to blame, since the coverage reflects the audience's preferences. Why this appears to be a uniquely American phenomenon remains a mystery.

The consequence of extremely depressing news coverage—even if it's what readers and viewers demand—is, well, more depressed readers and viewers. There is plenty of evidence right now that depression rates are skyrocketing for both children and adults. To address this, the NBER's paper concludes with an endorsement of guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): Stop consuming so much COVID-19 news, because it's bad for your mental health.

NEXT: What the Weirdest Game of This College Football Season Can Tell Us About COVID-19

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    1. Telling a big lie is okay if it stops the literal reincarnation of Adolph Hitler from killing 6 million Latinx children in cages along our southern border.

      1. You don’t agree with Matt Yglesias that we need to increase the population of the United States to one billion?

        1. As long as they are non-white and vote Democrat, I’ll be onboard with that plan.

          1. Palestine has certainly benefitted by a large influx of Jewish people.

            1. >palestine
              You can’t just make up words and expect me to know what you’re talking about

              1. It’s a popular fiction story, written by Noam Chomsky.

                1. I quit working at shop rite and now I make $65-85 per/h. How? I’m working online! My work didn’t exactly make me happy so I decided to take a h chance on something new… after 4 years it was so hard to quit my day job but now I couldn’t be happier. Here’s what I do… USA ONLINE JOBS

          2. Accidental flag… sorry. Fat fingers.

            CB

      2. You mean the cages Obama and Biden built and used first?

        Trump is a complete asshole, but he’s got a lot of ground to cover to catch you.

      3. Doesn’t the big lie that any of that started under the trump administration ultimately enable Biden to go back to operating those cages in exactly the same manner as the administration that actually built them (when Biden was VP) and the media kept their existence secret from the public?

        One of the weirdest things about 2017 was when for a while FNC covered trump in the same manner that the rest of the MSM had covered Obama (or is it “St Barack the Infalliable?) and almost immediately the leftist pundits started getting super-concerned about the dangers of that kind of “State Media”.

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    3. Evidence shows the Reason reader is imbecilic. The readers here unreasonably accept whatever drivel is published here at reason without asking a single question. For example: Where is the proof that the reader is demanding anything? I don’t see it here in this article written by Mr. Soave. In the first paragraph it is said that, “the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) doesn’t have an answer to that question, but it does provide plenty of evidence that the phenomenon is real.” Are there websites where readers of U.S. media are saying, “give us more negativity’ that I am not aware of?

      It’s sad that so many people are incapable of independent thought.

      1. Clearly, you have no grasp of ratings and circulation numbers. Or are we to believe the average news organization is not trying to determine the audience’s appetite so they can sell advertising?

        Look in the mirror and call that guy imbecilic.

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  1. U.S. major media readers strongly prefer negative stories about COVID-19, and negative stories in general

    Why blame the ‘victim’ (Readers)? Try blaming the perpetrator…MSM.

    Soave…do you really think we ‘like’ endless negative stories? Newsflash: We don’t.

    1. Blaming the producer instead of the consumer? How un-libertarian of you. Next you will tell me drug dealers introduced fentanyl into the American drug market instead of the people with opioid affinity demanding something stronger for their voluntary cravings.

    2. I blame the consumer because the consumer is demanding the constant stream of negativity. Not everyone, but enough do that the media pays attention to them. People WANT to know how horrible Trump/Biden is. They WANT to know about all the Red Staters causing new virus surges. They WANT to know about all the new horrible restrictions Blue States are implementing.

      They literally wank to the bad news.

      It’s like horror-porn.

      1. People just want to know WTF is going on with covid so they’ll gobble up any info available on it.. the media could make it positive and we’d eat that up, it’s just not available.

      2. Everything is so terrible and unfair.

      3. I blame the cia, but then again, I’m the only one thinking clear headed around here.

    3. Well, you and I and many people who post here might not like it. But people do seem to love bad news. Even before the ‘Rona there was a strong tendency for people to gravitate towards bad news and pessimistic takes.

      1. I doubt that. I posit that they read bad news more than good news. And that’s rational. You want to be prepared for bad things.

        This issue is clicks. Old media didn’t have to worry about clicks. So group emotion didn’t put much pressure on content. But now…

        So I don’t think it’s intentional at all. It’s an unfortunate consequence of amount of data gathered by clicks.

        1. I don’t know. People get really attached to their doom narratives. Just look at how angry some people get about stories suggesting that maybe global warming isn’t so bad or won’t be as disastrous as some predict. Or if you question the assertion that racism is the biggest problem facing minorities.
          I think clicks is certainly part of it. But there are other factors as well and a lot of back and forth between the consumers and producers of news.

          1. But that’s just the feedback loop in play. It’s rational to read bad news. Then you are fed more bad news. Then you adopt the apocalypse as the narrative.

            So sure, they get attached. But still, social/online media seems to naturally lead to this. Content producers and consumers need to make conscious efforts to resist both the feedback loops and the reliance on click driven revenue. But there’s not much incentive to such resistance beyond not wanting a doom addicted population.

    4. To at least some extent, this is the MSM responding to the market, and has been for a long time.

      Check out “Trust Me, I’m Lying” by Ryan Holiday who used to run marketing for American Apparel, first published in 2009 (if I’m remembering correctly), but there’s an undated edition that was put out after the 2016 election with some updated commentarty. The first 100 pages include a rundown of the steps he used more than once to get invented stories published by major MSM outlets. Largely it’s based on manipulating the business model of the blogosphere, and knowing which blog streams will ultimately bubble up to become headlines in the “legitimate” news media, and manipulating the fact that scarier headlines usually generate the most “engagement” and the most click-through, which in turn generate the most at revenues.

      If the media outlets are just the perpetrators, and the news consuming public are just the victims, then there’s no hope for a “market based” solution here. Forcing people to consume news that isn’t the stuff they’d read if given the choice isn’t a functioning market, and won’t offer any protection from propaganda; what’s needed is to somehow educate the public into a place where they’ll tend to be more responsive to good and responsible journalism and to be less responsive to manipulative propaganda just because it creates an emotional reaction or conforms to reinforce the pre-existing conclusions they’re looking to reach (in some cases by any intellectually dishonest means necessary).

    5. *Soave…do you really think we ‘like’ endless negative stories? Newsflash: We don’t*

      We come here for the outrage porn – pretty much same concept.

  2. Chicken or egg?
    Tell us Robby, how did you determine that it was “us” demanding negative news, and not the editors of every left leaning media outlet in the country, aided by social media actively blocking true facts that are positive?

    1. These are certainly questions worth asking.

      1. . . .which is why those questions aren’t being asked . . .

    2. Robby, or whomever wrote the headline, is just being consistent with Reason’s fundamental principle of gaslighting for the left.

      1. Gas lighting is not allowed for the left. It is a hydrocarbon fuel, to be condemned, not used.

    3. For the same reason that Pornhub has countless videos for all these weird fetishes (ask RabbiHarveyWeinstein for recommendations). Do you think Pornhub editors are pushing all these fetishes onto their consumers for some weird ideological reasons?

      1. I have studied hours of content on porn hub, and it seems pretty balanced

      2. … weird fetishes …
        No such thing.

    4. And to be fair, look at how the readers here at reason reward articles. Some story about asset forfeiture receives 1/10th the comments of the daily hot take on a trump tweet.

      1. There was a story about asset forfeiture?

        Huh…

    5. I just went and reviewed the paper, and it is absolute, utter trash.

      1) It nowhere presents real data that American News Readers prefer negative press. They say that negative articles from the *NYT* are among its most popular, and they give an oblique reference to a previous paper.

      2) They say this is true for “all political viewpoints” but their selection sample is WAY cherry picked. They have Politico, CNN, NYT, etc. But no WSJ. The only “conservative” voiced they have in there are Fox News and (perhaps) New York Post. How is that real data?

      What this paper proves is that the majority of media had negative press, and that among liberal papers like the NYT, negative press was the most popular.

      1. What this paper proves is that the majority of media had negative press, and that among liberal papers like the NYT, negative press was the most popular.

        Sounds a lot like that Twitter study which found that a very small percentage of accounts were driving the vast majority of the traffic, and those accounts tended to be FAR more left-wing than the average person. It’s not a coincidence that so many journalists use Twitter almost exclusively.

    6. Robby didn’t make that determination. The authors of the linked article did.

      Having said that, I could find no significant evidence in the linked article to support their claim of attribution. Only vague allegations about “article popularity”.

    7. That’s my question. Where is the evidence that shows the reader is demanding it?

    8. The pimping of grievance is so terrible and unfair. It’s a negative feedback loop.

      We truly are all victims.

      1. Go cower in the closet boot taste-tester.

  3. Not shocked by this. So many many people are unhappy shutins and want everyone else to have to be just as miserable as they are.

    1. 52% to be exact.

  4. There are no declining cases. Every day the number gets bigger.

    1. So many numbers, surely one of them is getting bigger. Let’s all shit our pants on that number. Tomorrow will be a new number and a new pair of pants.

      1. Sometime next week: Twenty billion people infected today! A hundred trillion dead!

        I figured this stuff would taper off after the election but it has only gotten worse. It makes me scared that the real goal all along wasn’t to get Biden elected but really that no one is in control and the country is just going to commit sociopolitical and economic suicide over nothing.

        1. Nice. Very nice.

    2. Took me about 10 seconds to find that Wisconsin is currently running at 65% of their peak on Nov 16 with deaths starting to nose over as well.

      You are full of shit.

      https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/usa/wisconsin/

      1. It was sarcasm.

      2. Luckily the entire midwest suddenly started taking the virus seriously, even the places that didn’t do lockdowns.

        But now all the Trumpers in the northeast & california STOPPED taking the virus seriously, so the numbers are going up.

        It’s science.

    3. They use the government deficit model for gauging success.

  5. Have other countries politicized the virus like the US has? Our political class, including the political media, has been awful. Might explain some of the excess negativity.

    1. I think it all boils down to the fact that Americans are at war with each other. We have no common history, no common values or beliefs, and there is no ethos present to bind us together as one people. I’m thinking about moving to Israel so my children can have a future and be judged for their merit and character instead of on the color of their white skin.

      1. so my children can have a future and be judged for their merit and character instead of on the color of their white skin their dumbass dad.

        ftfy

    2. Maybe I’m wrong, but I get the impression that in other countries the political class admits to being human whereas here they believe themselves to be infallible gods. That’s why nobody will ever admit that destroying the economy just wasn’t worth it, and the political class will instead double-down.

      But a conspiracy between the politicians and the media? *scoff*

      Naw. We just like dirty laundry.

      1. Well, first of all I didn’t mean to imply any conspiracy involving anyone. Polls showed that the public considered the media to be the least trustworthy entity when it came to virus news. Somehow below Trump. They earned that totally on their own.

        I wonder if our politicians actually consider themselves infallible or if they think they have to act that way to be successful.

        1. I think they are simply arrogant pieces of shit who think they are better than the rabble, and they don’t care about anything but themselves and lining their pockets with donor money, which is the only group they pander to.

          Morally and ethically bankrupt, both parties one as bad as the other.

          1. Yeah I agree that virtually all of our politicians, their staffs, and the media that covers them are ethically and intellectually bankrupt. Federal, state, and local, with a possible exception for local media.

      2. Maybe I’m wrong, but I get the impression that in other countries the political class admits to being human whereas here they believe themselves to be infallible gods

        I don’t know about that. Anyone in a position of power will start to think of themselves as infallible to varying degrees because they’re Just So Smart, how else could they have gotten to where they are? I don’t see much difference in that regard between our own Best and Brightest, and those in most other First or Second World countries, other than perhaps the degree to which they can inflict their big ideas on ordinary people.

        I will concede that ours are a degree worse, primarily because the incestuous environment between the government, media, and lobbying/think tank groups is tight enough to make the Hapsburgs envious. These people all know each other, get married to one another, and move back and forth between these three power centers constantly, looking for the next grift to run.

        1. Big Tech is starting to come into play with that as well, because they have so much fucking money to throw around that they’re worming their way into place as a “homo novus”-type of class.

          Colorado, for instance, never would have turned into a Little California-type of one-party Democratic state if it hadn’t been for Jared Polis and Tim Gill using the money they made from selling their tech businesses to spearhead Democrat political campaigns (Polis sold an online greeting card business, Gill sold Quark). Polis in particular even telegraphed this in his senior thesis at Princeton.

        2. “looking for the next grift to run.”

          This.

      3. I do t know about whether pols elsewhere simply can’t admit having been wrong, but it’s absolutely true here. Our pols are simply incapable of it. They constantly double down on bad policy with the mantra of either “we just didn’t do enough of policy X for it to take effect” or else (especially these days) “you people just aren’t following The Rules™️ and so it’s your fault my brilliant policies haven’t worked.”

        There is no room for any semblance of humility.

        And every single one needs to be fed feet first in to a wood chipper for it.

      4. And yet you are proud of the endless media slobbering for any democrat like your bae biden.

      5. Not politicians and the media. Cia and the media. Goddamn I’m not even trying to be sarcastic – when are you ass fucks gonna start using your head? This should be common knowledge by now.

        https://rockthetruth.blogspot.com/2009/05/steve-kangas-martyr-for-truth.html?m=1

    3. Seems most other countries citizens have become enlightened sheep

  6. The actress who plays a newsperson on the CBS evening news ought to get an emmy for her performances; the facial expressions and the voice tones are well suited to the worst disaster in human history.

  7. After refusing to report that Sweden’s covid death rate was just one fourth that of America’s since July 1 (i.e. 114 vs 461 deaths per million), today’s Wall St Journal ran another pro lockdown article entitled “Holdout Sweden Ends Its Covid-19 Experiment” that demonized Sweden’s decision to not lockdown industries and schools (and didn’t impose a mask mandate).
    https://www.wsj.com/articles/long-a-holdout-from-covid-19-restrictions-sweden-ends-its-pandemic-experiment-11607261658?mod=world_major_1_pos4

    The Wall St Jrnl article, which excoriated Sweden in every paragraph (and praised countries that imposed lockdowns), never reported that Sweden’s daily and cumulative covid death rate have been far lower than that in the US for the past five months.

    But now that Sweden’s daily rate of new cases and deaths have risen in the past month (nearly identical to recent increases in the US), the Wall St Journal once again (as they did from March – June) has trashed Sweden’s libertarian response to covid as a total failure (but didn’t criticize the US or any other countries that imposed lockdowns and experienced higher mortality rates than Sweden).

    And yet, according to the WSJ article, Sweden’s sudden change in covid policy only includes banning gatherings of more than 8 people, banning high schools, and limiting alcohol sales (whose details weren’t provided).

    In sum, Sweden has NOT imposed a lockdown, as the headline and article falsely/misleadingly insinuated.

    I predict more anti Sweden pro lockdown news articles in the next several days.

    The left wing media (including Rupert Murdoch’s WSJ) continue to spew cherry picked propaganda that contradicts the truth.

    1. Sweden doesn’t have a lot of obese blacks who live on fried chicken and high fructose corn syrup and never exercise. That might be one reason for the difference in health outcomes. Too bad institutional racism is oppressing BIPOCs with southern comfort food.

      1. Or, Sweden isn’t being honest about the number of people infected or dead.

        If I told you the sky was about to fall, would you believe me?

        1. “Sweden isn’t being honest about the number of people infected or dead.”

          When anyone says that about China, the left loses its mind trying to defend China.

          Personally, I’m not going to be surprised if we someday find out that China responded to COVID using the hoof-and-mouth solution. People who die from a bullet in the back of the head do not count as COVID deaths, after all.

          1. Except in the USA.

        2. Sweden has been transparent. Far more than most countries. Here in Canada, I’m not so sure they’re being honest.

          And that was a hit piece. Sweden is not MANDATING incoherent decrees like we are.

    2. and limiting alcohol sales (whose details weren’t provided).

      Alcohol sales have also been stopped after 10pm in a restriction similar to the measures that many European countries have imposed during the second wave.

      When all else fails, check the Daily Mail.

      https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9025989/Swedens-Covid-infection-rate-soars-Britain-Germany-Spain.html

      1. 13% of Swedes are over the age of 70, compared to just 10% of Americans, which makes Sweden’s significantly lower covid death rate (than the US) even more impressive.

        1. Where’s the proof that the numbers are accurate?

          1. You got others you can prove accurate?

      2. Sweden’s limiting gatherings of more than 8 people, banning alcohol sales after 10PM and temporarily closing high schools cannot be considered a lockdown (at least by the standards of Democrat Governors, County Executives, Mayors and left wing media outlets).

        Dozens of countries in Europe have also imposed far greater restriction than Sweden recently imposed.

      3. WTF kind of science is there that stopping alcohol sales does anything to prevent COVID spread? At least, what evidence is there operating that a liquor store is more dangerous than operating a grocery store? Where it’s normally allowed, when you might already be in the grocery store, why is buying beer, wine, or spirits while you already there more dangerous than buying broccoli?

        In California, a spokesperson for the state’s Alcohol and Marijuana Control Office confirmed that cannabis businesses are considered essential and can remain open as long as they are able to comply with strict social-distancing requirement. How in the hell is a pot store essential but a liquor store gets shut down (not that Cali has done that yet, but lots of places have deemed alcohol sales to be non-essential)?

        1. One study involves South Africa, where the positives of a near total ban on alcohol sales (deemed non-essential) include lower drunk-driving rates, alcohol-influenced crime, etc. But not a direct COVID link. Pols there just used COVID to put their power-trip wet dream wish list into action.

          1. “One certainty is that a prohibition of alcohol sales in South Africa has reduced pressure on emergency care units and lowered mortality. Healthcare professionals need to lobby for restrictions to remain until the crisis is over to ensure that health services can concentrate on dealing with Covid-19 and other patients.”

            Ok, I can concede this one point.

            “Additionally, this is an encouragement to lobby for a new normal around alcohol sales post-pandemic. ”

            AND THERE IT IS.

        2. Who needs scientific results when SCIENCE™️ dictates policy?

    3. According to Bloomberg Johns Hopkins data, 26 counties in the US have surpassed a positive covid test rate of 13%.
      https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/us-map

      Since studies (including one by CDC) have found/estimated that 3 – 10 times more Americans have been infected with covid (than have tested positive for covid), and since herd immunity will likely be achieved when 70% have been infected (and/or get a vaccine),
      it appears that herd immunity is very close to occurring in these counties (and many others where positive cases have been rapidly increasing).

      Counties in the US with the highest covid case rates are:
      Crowley, CO – 22.8%
      Norton, KS – 20.6%
      Bon Homme, SD – 20.0%
      Buffalo, SD – 19.2%
      Chattahoochee, GA – 19.2%
      Lincoln, AR – 19.1%
      Dewey, SD – 18.5%
      Trousdale, TN – 17.5%

      1. Other than Chattahoochee with 11k, all of those counties have less than 10,000 people, most have less than 5,000.

        What that means is small numbers of people getting infected have a big influence on the percentages. A single family of 4 all getting sick in Buffalo, SD would swing the positivity by over 1%

        1. As with all disease/health data, the covid case rate is far more important than actual numbers of cases, which is why the left wing media (and the fear mongers at Michael Bloomberg Johns Hopkins focus almost exclusively on the number of cases and deaths (instead of their rates as a percentage of the population).

          Counties (and states) with the highest covid case rates also have the highest covid infection rates, and herd immunity is likely to be achieved when 70% of people have been infected (and/or are vaccinated).

          Many counties will have achieved herd immunity before vaccines are distributed.

          1. I see people throwing around terms like “herd immunity”. Nobody knows what that means with this pathogen. You can search around Google Science.

            This bug. I have never seen a disease act like this. It is unique in pathogenesis. Things like Ebola limit spread because it kills off the hosts quickly. This one spreads because it does not.

            Once it gets into someone susceptible it becomes systemic. Overwhelming defenses it can kill or maim in days or persist for months. We have no specific treatment.

            The lungs can go from a few small infiltrates to near complete white out in days. They are filling with fluid and pus. The patient is drowning. Kidneys, heart, blood vessels all are infected.

            It differs from influenza in ways I will not go into in a post. To put it bluntly this is a badass disease.

            So the best I can say is take this seriously. Try to be responsible. To shrug it off as most deaths are in older people is cruel beyond my comprehension.

            The lungs in short order

            1. Except that the extreme demographic stratification of the deaths does give one lots of information on how best to tackle this. Namely, you have a specific group that can be identified, protected, and treated. In 2019, WHO’s guidance on how to manage a pandemic specifically rejects lock downs as being ineffective. They should have listened to themselves. Cause we now know that lock downs are not correlated at all to C19 mortality.

              1. Death statistics do not tell anything about morbidity or disease prevalence.

                I am not advocating total lockdowns for the US. I don’t think it is even possible but they do work if you catch things early enough. Look at Australia and New Zealand.

                Protecting the most vulnerable of course but there is no way to be very effective in that if there is a widespread contagion going on. How do you think it gets into places like prisons and long term care facilities. What about hospital workers?

                This is a very sneaky virus. It can take a week or so for symptoms to show up and then if mild can just be chalked up to something minor like a cold. So transmission goes on even if we don’t know it.

                In the meantime I hope people do not downplay it and act responsibly.

      2. Since studies (including one by CDC) have found/estimated that 3 – 10 times more Americans have been infected with covid (than have tested positive for covid), and since herd immunity will likely be achieved when 70% have been infected (and/or get a vaccine),

        In these small counties, that 3-10 times is more likely to be between 1-1.5 times as the reason these counties are known to have such high rates is because 60-90% of people in those counties have been tested, usually due to there being one disproportionately large employer in the area that had an ‘outbreak’ in their facility.

        Even then as this seems to go in waves, if 15-25% of people have recently had it in an area that will help blunt the future waves

      3. Now add +40% to each of those to account for the T-cell acquired cross-immunity. We’ve already got some place in the country with immunity at or very near that 70% threshold.

    4. It’s so ridiculous. The significant thing about Sweden is that they look pretty much like everywhere else despite not doing nearly as much authoritarian shit. The lesson should be that lockdowns and masks don’t do much and aren’t worth it.
      The fact that they are doing slightly more now only means that Sweden also has politics and pannicky pols/.

    5. It’s not just the WSJ, Billy.

      https://www.foxnews.com/world/swedens-pandemic-experiment-ends-spiking-coronavirus-cases

      All the articles are doing is pointing out that they are now doing what states here have been doing because the 10.3 million people in Sweden realize they are not gawds.

  8. Bullshit Robby! It’s a grand conspiracy between the Democrats and the left wing media to lie and say the pandemic is real! It’s not real! And the election was stolen! They’re out to get Republicans! All of them! Aaaaauuuuggghhh!

    1. Try harder –

      Stopping education, General. Don’t forget stopping education.

    2. I wouldn’t call it a conspiracy, exactly, but it does look like the media has decided that its job is to propagandize for the official line rather than to investigate and inform.

      1. Investigate what? He said if he lost it would be fraudulent. He lost and it wasn’t fraudulent. He won’t admit he was wrong and he lost. This despite being active hostile to more than half the country for four years.

        The press should make it clearer precisely the crimes he is committing, though. I’d like some clarity on that.

        1. Hillary told Biden to not concede under any circumstances.

          She never conceded. The entire DNC and left never accepted the victory. Hence, the Russia lie.

          1. You’re just a fucking liar. The things you are saying are lies.

            More than that, they aren’t even thoughts. Your media diet has you thinking in slogans or single words. Get out before your brain is completely sautéed.

    3. How’s that Kool-Aid?

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  10. >>U.S. major media coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic has been much more negative

    you jackasses shoving hysteria down our throats is not evidence of demand

    1. That’s right. Reading billboards doesn’t make one a billboard enthusiast.

  11. U.S. major media readers strongly prefer negative stories about COVID-19, and negative stories in general

    They should donate to the Reason Webathon, so they can keep receiving histrionic tales of Covid madness!

  12. When your goal is to get ride of a sitting president everything must be based on how bad it is. Now the Biden “won” the news is already shifting

    1. I haven’t noticed a shift in the news. The media have to continue the fear-mongering so that Biden can justify his 100 days (yeah, right) of mask wearing diktat.

    2. He did win. Trump is a sore LOSER.

  13. “Why are Americans so prone to wallowing in despair? ”

    Why are Americans so prone to hitting themselves?

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    2. Why is the Reason reader incapable of independent thought?

  14. Why won’t anyone at any media outlet (including reason) write an article revealing that 15% – 35% of Americans are now immune from covid because they’ve already been infected?

    Why won’t any government agencies acknowledge that virtually everyone who has been infected with covid is now immune (i.e. they cannot get infected again, nor can they transmit to anyone else), and exempt all covid recovered folks from complying with their unscientific and totalitarian lockdowns and mask mandates?

    Seems like Soave and the rest of the left wing news media can only spew out negative fear mongering propaganda about covid.

  15. Media is run by the left they no longer hire journalists just people who can look good and concerned on television.

    They make more money with fear uncertainty and doubt. It’s cult of personality based much like politics.

    It’s why they are trusted about as much as congress.

  16. Panicky, disaster news is to generally negative news like hard core porn is to erotica. And both escalate the extremes needed to get their viewers off.

    I wonder what the news equivalent of live donkey shows will be.

    1. ……showing the inside of a lung taken from the body of an 87-year-old recently-deceased lifetime smoker suffering from emphysema who tested positive for COVID. See what you lock-down offenders and mask violators did?

      1. Can they open up the lung in-situ while the guy is moaning and staring into the camera?

        1. With lots of squishy/tearing sound effects.

  17. U.S. Media Readers ‘Strongly Prefer Negative Stories About COVID-19’

    Let’s just tighten up that headline a bit

  18. If so many cases have been found, why do those people still need to wear masks? Cases = infections = immunity with survival.

    At least set those victims free now….

    1. Everyone must suffer equally, (except mayors and governors).

  19. I don’t doubt that US media coverage is more negative than reality. I question the authors’ conclusion that the bias is because of reader demand. Their only evidence for that claim is an undefined measure of “article popularity”.

  20. HELL yeah. Where tf are the stories about the 100s of millions of Americans who HAVEN’T died of COVID? Where are the stories about how Trump personally discovered a formula for transforming chloroquine and Windex into a viable vaccine and GAVE THE PATENT AWAY TO THE UN FOR THE BENEFIT OF MANKIND?

  21. The overwhelmingly negative coverage will switch to overwhelmingly positive coverage on January 20th.

    1. Maybe–but I bet the message will be about HOPE for the future, along with the need to comply with all government mandates now (and forever).

      1. NOW IS THE TIME TO DONAS YOU ARE TOLD.

        1. DO AS

      2. HOPE…wasn’t that one of Obama’s campaign slogans?

        Looks like Biden really is Obama’s 3rd term!

  22. The fear mongering has worked better than planned.

  23. If you want to call out a lie, just do it.

    Weasel words and innuendo are the rhetoric of cowards and liars.

  24. Negative? LOL* Only the dems/libs are negative. I’m a Christian Conservative, 73yo, very happy and attend senior centers for fellowship. I don’t know a single person who either has, had, or in danger from C-19. I don’t stay home all the time, I wear a mask where required (without complaint), and I caution friends and family regarding being compliant with local laws/rules re: the C-19. I make at least one Walmart or grocery store visit each week, I have attended Tks’giving gatherings, go drive-through for some goodies, flea markets. and cruising on the weekend for yard sales. I have not had any symptoms nor have I ever been tested. I just trust Jesus, my Savior!! At my age why should I worry? So far my faith has protected me.

    1. But the girl with the nose ring at the grocery store might have a mother who is a nurse at the hospital. And the woman behind you at the store might work at a nursing home. We don’t get to know what part we play.

      1. Everyone is a deadly disease vector. Trust no one. Everyone is your enemy. Live in fear. Millions will die.
        But a piece of old t shirt on your face will save you from this horrible plague.

        1. Mask or not. Social distancing, avoiding crowds, hygiene and hand washing, and limiting personal contacts are other things we can do to protect ourselves and others.

          Those things have been known in infectious disease since before we even knew what a virus was.

  25. Forget the number of cases. Fewer people could have died. Fewer hospitals could have been filled. Trump could have led without going nanny state. He could have worn a mask and told us the truth when he told it to Bob Woodward. He could have ordered masks in the entire executive branch and to visitors to federal buildings, including the White House. He could have held safer rallies. He could have praised companies that promoted social distancing while remaining open. He could have told us that we were all in it together and meant it. He could have apologized to New York State for taking so long to close flights from Europe. In short, he could have led without violating the Constitution and people would have done their part to contain the virus. But he didn’t so the media has sounded the alarm. Granted, the media often overplays things (e.g., after 9/11). But this time, we needed to know the truth.

    1. Everything in our lives should always revolve around one person in government.

    2. People are going to their deaths denying covid is real.

      Not facing the psychological consequences of thinking Donald Trump would make a good president is apparently more important than facts.

      1. “…Not facing the psychological consequences of thinking Donald Trump would make a good president is apparently more important than facts.”

        [T]he psychological consequences…
        IOWs having to grow up and make your own decisions? And perhaps take responsibility for your actions?
        THOSE sorts of “consequences”?

      2. Oh yeah Tony. Multiple vaccines produced in record time in the US, Trump sailing fucking military hospital ships into NY harbor (that barely got used), whole fucking field hospitals setup (that never got used). Manufacturing PPE on a massive scale, Trump (trying) to hold China accountable but liberals run interference to protect the commies).

    3. Did your daddy not tell you how to think?! What a shame!!!
      You could try growing up.

  26. If you want the truth, start with the official US government line and the MSM.

    You won’t know the truth yet, but you will know which narrative to eliminate first.

  27. Who creates all the fear and negativity? The TV and social media propagandists. Since the pandemic is totally fake, there is no reason for all the negative demands put upon the people by the crazy wacko government. The fake pandemic is being used as the vehicle to destroy capitalism, freedom and free thinking. It is totally depressing to hear that megalomaniacs like Gates, Soros, Biden and Fauci want to continue to lock down society when there is no reason to keep healthy people in isolation. The good doctor should know that being exposed to germs is what gives a person lasting immunity. It is the isolated who become weak due to stress and lack of social contact. But he has his head to far up Gates’s rear end in the me-too scheme to sell billions of doses of fake vaccines. We are about to enter the twilight zone where Rod Biden has us locked down for all of 2021, masked into eternity and pumped full of thoroughly untested vaccines filled with poisons such as mercury and aluminum…yummy!

  28. For the media, “Orange Man Bad” colors all the news, and that’s all you need to know.

  29. Maybe it’s the 300,000 dead people.

    1. “…300,000 dead people…”!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      Yep, THE WORST CATASTROPHE IN HISTORY!
      “Number of deaths for leading causes of death: Heart disease: 635,260. Cancer: 598,038. Accidents (unintentional injuries): 161,374. Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 154,596. Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases): 142,142. Alzheimer’s disease: 116,103.”
      https://www.bing.com/search?q=number+of+annual+deaths+from+heart+disease&qs=AS&pq=number+of+annual+deaths+from+heart&sc=2-34&cvid=506E1C6D21E741399C05E64C487E4ACD&FORM=QBLH&sp=1
      FFS, shitstain, grow up.

      1. Benghazis: 4

        You don’t even know you’re being propagandized into supporting atrocity. You’re just pasting shit.

        All for that fucking (R).

        1. Gosh Tony, if Biden or Obama were president this year what number would exist in the place of tor 300,000?

          I don’t imagine it would be much different. Biden’s grand plan is public. It’s wear masks and let a special commission piddle around while the vaccine takes over. Not a huge difference from what’s been done.

          1. Fuck you.

            “Death, what are you gonna do am I right?

            Now would you care to hear why corporations deserve to pay no taxes?”

            1. Yeah, Tony turns to putting words on my mouth that I didn’t say instead of simply asking a simple question. Because he doesn’t like the obvious answer because the obvious answer conflicts with his political views.

              Answer the fucking question Tony. Put up or shut up.

              1. It would be significantly different because Biden wouldn’t have convinced millions of people that the virus killing them is a hoax.

            2. “…Now would you care to hear why corporations deserve to pay no taxes?”

              Hey, steaming pile of left shit, would you care to explain how corporations ever pay taxes?

        2. “Benghazis: 4”

          I’m guessing that’s some ‘code’ from a proggy web site, understandable to proggy shitstains.
          Did it have anything to do with your PANIC over something which kills fewer than half of the people who annually die of heart disease?
          Outside of wishing you were one of the fatalities, I don’t wish it on anyone, but for all of your garment-tearing and fore-lock pulling, you’ve yet to offer one suggestion of how to reduce those deaths.
          You have, simply screamed ORANGE MAN BAD!!!!!!!!!!!!! and made it clear you’re a fucking lefty ignoramus with nothing at all to offer.
          Fuck off and die; make the world a better and more intelligent place, your dog and your family happy, you stinking pile of lefty shit.

  30. We PREFER negative stories? The MSM sets the narrative and that’s what we are fed. If they reported that 7800 Americans died today (that’s the daily average for the last couple of years) and of those 1834 (or however many there were) died from COVID-related illness, there might be a touch of perspective to the matter. But no. All we are fed is ‘we’re all gonna die!’ Any opinions contrary to the MSM narrative are simply not reported. You never heard of the “the Great Barrington Declaration.’ Look it up.

    1. Your big policy idea for tackling a pandemic is to ignore all the dead people.

      1. They didn’t die from the pandemic, dumb fuck. They died in car accidents, or other causes unrelated to covid.

        1. People die from car accidents, thus it’s OK if they die by other means?

          Tell me again why I should give the first fuck about your tax rate?

    2. Actually that is a shocking number from a single cause. Especially one where the number of cases is sharply on the rise.

      Many hospital systems are reporting that they are becoming overwhelmed both in number of beds and personnel. The latter is most concerning. You can’t just manufacture an ICU nurse.

      These people are not just making things up. Medicos are generally highly resilient.

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  33. Am I the only one that skips comments that are almost twice as long as the article?

    1. Couple of ads, so good call.

  34. Negative?

    I hadn’t noticed.

  35. The media doesn’t care what readers want, so stop blaming them. The media responds to the Democrat operatives who pay them to write lengthy advertisements for Democrats that they falsely label as “news.”

    Case in point: Reason Magazine over the last ~1 year.

  36. Story contains links and stats as to the prevalence of negative coverage in the US, esp vis-a-vis other countries. Story contains no links or stats as to “consumers want it this way.” Yet the story treats both conclusions as equally reached. Robby I would flunk you in Logic 101.

  37. ‘The Media’ also prefer negative stories about:
    War Crimes
    Mass Murder
    Embezzlement
    Serial killers

    I mean, when was the last time you read a warm fuzzy story about a serial killer

    obvious bias

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