Unarmed black males are falling victim to police brutality. Police officers themselves are losing their lives in attacks. Passenger planes are going missing. The “War On Terror” is in full swing. ISIS—a violent jihadist group that is terrorizing its way through Iraq and Syria—poses a potential threat to the United States. The deadly Ebola virus is infecting new victims and crossing country lines. Economies are collapsing. Convicted felons are escaping from prison. Your favorite celebrity couple has decided to get a divorce. And of course, Donald Trump—who is campaigning to win the Republican nomination for presidency in 2016—is dishing out more and more controversial or offensive statements almost every week. And he’s leading in the polls.
Disaster, tragedy, pain, and misfortune are taking place all over the planet. Or so you would think if the news was your only outlet for understanding what’s happening in the world.
How often do you notice, watch, listen to, or read negative news stories on your preferred news channels, news websites, or social media networks? How often do you notice a horrific, terrifying, or tragic news story stream across your television, stare out at you from a newspaper, or pop up on your social news-feeds?
And on the flip-side of that, how often do you come across a positive, uplifting, optimistic, heartwarming, or incredible news story on television, social media, the radio, or the Internet? How often do you watch, listen to, or read through a news story that makes you feel genuinely happy to be alive, joyful, grateful, or optimistic about the state of the world?
Chances are, your answer to that question is rarely. Rarely do we ever see positivity in the media.
Maybe media outlets focus on the negative to boost their ratings. Or perhaps negativity in the news is what we actually prefer. You could even say the media are using negativity to condition us to vote, act, consume, or behave in certain ways. But for whatever reason, negativity dominates our headlines, breaking stories, and front pages.
And Donald Trump’s popularity as a frontrunner in the Republican race for the 2016 Presidential nomination is a perfect example of why too much negativity in the news can create a harmful impact on our society.
Trump embodies Everything That’s Wrong With Today’s Media Coverage.
Since June, he has taken a strong lead in the polls for the Republican presidential primaries. According to CNN, Trump is currently polling in at 21% compared to Ben Carson’s 20% popularity. And he has done it through a constant campaign of negative spotlight, attention, and publicity.
On the 16th of June, billionaire business tycoon Donald Trump announced his intentions to run for the oval office. At the same time, he also offended many by expressing his thoughts on tightening up immigration controls to keep out illegal immigrants from Mexico: “They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”
On the fourth of July, Trump stirred up a firestorm of controversy again by reposting a tweet about fellow Republican candidate Jeb Bush’s wife—who is from Columbia—that read as follows: “#JebBush has to like the Mexican illegals because of his wife.”
On July 18th, Trump launched another attack by calling John McCain’s status as a war hero into question: “He’s not a war hero. He’s a war hero because he was captured. I like people that weren’t captured, OK, I hate to tell you.”
Then in early September, Trump made headlines again with controversial remarks in Rolling Stone magazine about fellow candidate Carly Fiorina’s appearance: “‘Look at that face!’ he cries. ‘Would anyone vote for that? Can you imagine that, the face of our next president?!’”
Those are just a few of Trump’s many controversial comments that have made headlines over the past three months. He’s known for his bold, in-your-face personality. And he seems to always say whatever crosses his mind.
But as a Washington Post article from July points out, there is a method to his madness.
Because each time the media gives spotlight to Donald Trump’s latest comments, that spike in attention is usually followed by a bump in popularity in the polls. What happens is, that constant coverage brings thoughts of Donald Trump to forefront of voters’ minds—allowing him to gain more and more popularity.
Because the media gravitates to controversy and negativity, Trump has gained more coverage in the news than all of the other Republican candidates combined. As a result of that constant spotlight, attention, and controversy, he has transformed into the frontrunner for the Republican nomination for presidency in 2016.
Our media coverage is so overwhelmingly negative, that Donald Trump was able to establish himself as a serious contender through using controversy to his advantage.
That sums up Everything That’s Wrong With Today’s Media Coverage.
News outlets put an unbalanced focus on crime, tragedy, pain, misfortune, controversy, and negativity. All of that negativity closing in on us from radios, televisions, websites, and newsfeeds influences us. The negativity in the media influences to feel, think, act, vote, and behave in certain ways. We feel more pessimistic, hopeless, or upset about the state of the world. And positivity, happiness, optimism, joy, gratitude, and love get harder and harder to find.
The negativity is everywhere. But don’t lose hope. There are steps you can take to avoid letting that constant display of bad news affect you in a negative way.
You always have the option of shutting down your technology to reconnect with other people, reconnect with books, reconnect with nature, or reconnect with yourself.
It’s important to also consciously change the way you consume your news. Even though negativity and pessimism is everywhere, keep in mind that positive, uplifting, amazing, and incredible events and accomplishments take place everyday. But it’s up to you to find those uplifting stories and pay attention to them.
So if you feel surrounded by negativity, try to spend less time thinking about which celebrity couple is getting divorced or which tragedy is taking effect somewhere. And pay more attention to positive news outlets like the Good News section of The Huffington Post or The Good News Network.
Never forget that for every controversy, disaster, tragedy, or misfortune that takes place, a miracle happens someplace else.
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