Posts Tagged ‘So Much Bad News’

So Much Bad News…Enjoy Some Good News!

January 28, 2015

So Much Bad News…Enjoy Some Good News!

In my practice I see people who have been treated so badly by others that they are too anxious and fearful of how people will treat them. They have become too anxious and fearful to take the chances necessary to find the good people in their communities who will make their lives worth living.

Good people are out there and they can be found in any socioeconomic or racial classification that we care to identify. This is not a matter of faith…it is a fact.

However, for those who have been hurt by bad people in their past, it really is an act of faith to go in search of those who will treat them with kindness, honesty, and perhaps love.

Our mainstream news media does not help any of us with regard to faith in our fellow citizens. As the old saying goes: “If it bleeds it leads”. If it is bizarre, some big swindle, or a great tragedy that is what the media is likely to  showcase.

In psychology, there is the well-researched concept of the availability heuristic. One example of this principle is that those things that we see in our various news media are perceived by us as having a much greater likelihood of happening to in our lives than is actually true. 

Therefore, the average viewer tends to believe that they are much more likely to be murdered, raped, swindled, or die in an airplane crash, etc., than is statistically true.

The steady diet of bad news feeds the prurient interests of the masses and  it increase ratings and profits for the media. Unfortunately, the consequences of this sick social cycle on the mental health of viewers is negative because it contages distrust, fear and anxiety. In some cases it confirms and strengthens the preexisting paranoid tendencies of viewers who already suffer from distrust, anger and social isolation.

I call this bad media contagion.

Fortunately, in a society, the availability heuristic can work for better or worse.

So now, how about a dose of good media contagion?

Though I cannot do so at the expense of presenting my views of unpleasant realities on this blog,  I intend to present more good news in the future.

V. Thomas Mawhinney, Ph.D.


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