prof. e.

Mass Communication, [multi]media, methodology and much, much more!

What do you fear?

Posted by prof e on March 28, 2016

If you listen to news for any length of time you’ll find plenty of opportunities for fear. Global terrorism, the Zika virus, gang violence, opioid addiction, a White House occupied by ________ (fill in the blank with your least favorite candidate)…all are reasons to pull the covers over your head and stay in bed. The good thing about being a young adult is that most of these fears seem rather distant and unlikely. After all, you’re young and healthy and you live in America (not some undeveloped nation ruled by a despot). Why worry?

News is, by definition, a summary of what’s gone wrong. People always say they’d like to see more “good” news…but the fact is that news is news precisely because it deviates from what is good and right. Crime, natural disasters, political chicanery, moral failings…this is the stuff of news on any given day. When a new virus threatens millions of people, even in a distant country, we pay attention. Even more so if it has any chance of reaching our shores. Suicide bombers and mass shooters get our attention; which, ironically, is exactly what they want. And slowly but surely we begin to think that the world is a more dangerous place.

Media theorists have a name for this. Cultivation theory says that the more time we spend in the media world the more we fear. The Mean World Syndrome studies tracked people who watched a lot of TV dramas and news, and found that they had a more fearful and pessimistic view of the world than those who watched less.

So what do I recommend? Don’t ignore the news of the day. Don’t hide your head in the sand and hope it all goes away. Instead, remember that the reality created by the news industry is intentionally biased to show you everything that is wrong with the world. Then, take a moment to reflect on what is right in your world. You’ll be happier for it and we’ll all be better off.

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11 Responses to “What do you fear?”

  1. Ty said

    Understanding the way media has an impact on us, yes what they tell us is concerning because it effects us all. I believe though that some things are blown out of context and make us worry more than we should have to.

  2. Mia Southworth said

    Bias and anger in the news are reasons enough to cause fear. Looking at news for the last few months has been an ordeal that is upsetting everyday. As a person who has watched the news every morning since I was eight or so it takes a lot to give up that knowledge about current events. However, any election with the anger and lying and mudslinging is enough to make anyone dread getting up in the morning. I like knowing about what is going on but I know my way of gaining political information will always be from factual websites and not news or debates because politics show the worst in everyone.

  3. Elmer Cabral said

    Matthew 24:6-8
    “You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains.”

    Sorry if this seems religious or anything but the Bible has been warning us of the times, which many are not interested in but in this period of time so much is going on, earthquakes here and there, tsunami’s, nation against nation, Isis rising up, shooting in Orlando, shooting in Aurora, Denver, deaths of black life’s. It’s all coming to fulfillment. Verse 12 states that because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold. Which means there will be hatred among human beings. And all this is being watched on TV all over the news world wide. Yes this may cause fear in people but your trust shouldn’t be in what you see and hear it should be in God.

  4. Raven said

    Relating to chapter 13 this article mirrors to what is news and its values, ethics and democracy. I like how it points out that most of the news we all read, watch, or listen to tends to be negative. In my opinion this is what to look for rather for reading the story or creating it. I for one look for truths rather they are sad or not. It’s common sense to look out for danger before it hits and I’m glad that I have the chance to see something coming before it hits me head on.

  5. Shawnee said

    I do believe that the more you listen to media and news you start to believe everything that is said which can easily lead to more fear that you had before. You have to pick out what really sounds believable and what is just being said to make us fear on purpose.

  6. Leon Clemons said

    This article relates to chapter 13 with the beliefs and values with Democracy ethics. by the way it shows structures of how the news always show bad things and not the good . It is always bias towards the bad crime in america instead of the good and positive it shows the negative impact in the world today. however sometimes the news puts out good information at the right time to show that they can cover at any moment and help people find out what is happening in other states or their own.

  7. Jacob Sisneros-Baca said

    The news has a very important job, showing the people what is wrong in the world. If they were just to report on nice, good things everyone would be blinded to the real issues that plague our nation and the world as a whole. There are fun “news” shows like Good Morning America that highlight the good in the world, but if you were just to use that as your information intake source you would be terribly misinformed. To be able to be a active part in this democratic society we must know everything about our country and the people in charge to be able to make decisions that influence our votes.

  8. Megan Schultz said

    The news is very important in our society today and many people watch it and rely on it. It is interesting to see all the negative news that is presented. Very rarely do you see positive news being broadcasted and if you do see it, it seems to only be presented for a split second. I agree that the reason why the news is so negative is because the negative things are what grab peoples attention and are what we consider to be news. According to the textbook in chapter thirteen, T.V news is different in many ways and people in society like to “rely on the experts”. Since the news is a main way to get an understanding on what is going on in the world, we rely on it and should not ignore it. There needs to be a balance on understanding the negative things happening around the world but being appreciative for the positive things as well.

  9. Ronald Holland said

    this article relates to chapter 13 and democracy ethics I believe that the news predominatly shows more negativity than good because thats what gets peoples attention. Although its fair to say that it is very important to know what exactly is going on in order to have a better understanding of the world we live in. It would be nice to see and hear more positive things so that your mindset isnt always negative but its also good to be prepaired if bad things are coming your way

  10. Michaela Garcia said

    This article relates to chapter 13 with the beliefs and values with Democracy ethics. When I read the news, sometimes I feel like the only things reported are horrible, disappointing events. The media concentrates on the bad things in life rather than the good. It’s not that these are the only things that happen. Possibly, journalists are drawn to reporting bad news because sudden disaster is more compelling than slow developments. Another possibility is that we, the readers or viewers, have trained journalists to focus on these things. Many people often say that they would prefer good news but is that actually true?

  11. Lindsey Fiorenzi said

    I found this post very interesting. Playing to the idea of cultivation theory, it is crazy how just being exposed to something can in a way change or shape our entire life without us even realizing about it. Also reading this post reminded me a lot of when I was a little kid and my mom would watch the news I would always beg her to change the channel because it “scared” me. She would always tell me that, “it’s important to know what’s going on in the word.” This post can relate the text as far as criteria of what is news worthy. Even though these things are scary and cause fear, they are still very news worthy. They have those elements of timeliness, proximity, conflict, prominence, human interest, consequence, usefulness, novelty, and deviance. We might not necessarily want to know these things, but that doesn’t change the fact that they are important to know. People can use the news and being informed as a way to try and make a change. Also it is important for the fourth estate. The news, journalism, and media plays a huge role in keeping the government honest.

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