“The man who reads nothing at all is better educated than the man who reads nothing but newspapers.” – Thomas Jefferson
Somewhere along the timeline of American history, what we consider news changed. Sure, there are still people in danger; there is still war. The difference is, there are also ice buckets, under inflated footballs, and Kardashians, all vying for a bit of our attention.
Pick a search engine, any one; search for trending news or searches. Now, compare those results to news articles you find on MSNBC, FOX News, NPR, CNN, or Al Jazeera. What about the news that’s getting coverage on the 24-hour news networks? These are the things Dan and Lyle discuss on this episode of Flash Past.
There are a lot of possible reasons why we seem to care less about the news. Among them, and possibly not the least of them, is the fact that most news is bad. Some sources say the ratio of bad news to good news is something like 17:1. But people who watch the news are eating up the bad news stories. So the news companies keep producing them. But what abou
t everyone else? Not everyone wants to see negative news stories. For those people, there are fluffy news stories about celebrities and pop culture.
Another possible explanation for the speed news moves and the reason we don’t seem to care is that it doesn’t directly affect us. Maybe the decline in religious dedication has led Americans to become more focused on ourselves. With no afterlife to concern ourselves with, and no higher power promoting a greater meaning, we have realized there is nothing of importance beyond our personal circles of interest.
Whatever the case, sex and death sell news to people who are interested in news, and the combination of reality TV, celebrity gossip, paparazzi, and the chance to each find our 15 minutes to keep everyone else entertained.
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