We can’t look away from bad news

We can’t look away from bad news

She watched one news story after another, disgusted by each one but didn’t turn the channel. Stories about animal abuse, fires destroying homes, a man killing his wife, a woman’s tirade in a store, gang wars, suicides, hurricanes and volcanic eruptions, AND the political poop show that dominates everything!

Her analysis of the world, “It’s all terrible!” Later today she’ll watch the news again for more of the same coverage.

The truth is humans have difficulty turning away from tragedy. People can be drawn towards drama, excited by debauchery and even envious of the person who stepped over the line and publicly lost their cool. We can be mesmerized by stories of misconduct and horrified but curious about mayhem.

Maybe we are hard-wired to watch what happens to others in order to protect ourselves from falling victim. It could be that we learn lessons from people’s behaviour and mistakes or, more realistically, the spectacle that surrounds us everyday has become entertainment.

Knowing our unwavering need to explore the darkest of human behaviour more news and TV programs cater to that taste. One local news story about a fire leads to a cluster of fire stories across the world. The gratuitous depictions of anger, sex, and a million ways to kill or die becomes normalized. We pay to watch these things.

Dressed up, news and other programs want us to believe we are informed. Instead, we remain largely ignorant but we do establish our place in a like-minded tribe.

Dressed down, or exposed for all it’s worth, the constant viewing of negative programs can erode our health, deep thinking and personal discernment.

Still we keep looking.

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