News coverage is terrible at capturing the biggest good news stories: the long-term trends that show vast improvements in human living standards across long stretches of time. We need to fix that.
Brian, another masterful piece! I want to be cynical about this and simply reply, “If it bleeds, it leads.” Or I could go all Don Henley and recite the song Dirty Laundry, “Got the bobble headed bleach blonde comes on at 5. She can tell you about the plans crash, with a gleam in her eye. It’s interesting when people die. Give us dirty laundry.”
We (royal we) as consumer of news drive this because we have short attention spans, and cannot resist a good train wreck, disaster as we are riveted by it more than we are repulsed by it. And it makes us feel great because it ain’t us!
I stopped watching the 24 hour news cycle because it was so depressing or angering that it was not doing me any good. Or my family any good. And most importantly was no longer useful. Today I read my news, choose what I want to spend my time on so I learn something and maybe could use that knowledge in some way. This is why I read Substack! Why I read your work! It is intellectually stimulating and I always learn something along the way and connect it to other things I am working/experiencing/or have a curiosity for.
The question we should be asking ourselves is why is the 24 hour news cycle more popular than ever? The cynic in me, which runs strong, thinks it is the opiate of a large mass of people who do not want to think, or spend time being curious or diving into a subject or event, but simply want to be 1) angry, 2) confirm existing biases, and 3) have short attention spans. Look, we have news for every political stripe! Media communicates in a staccato, bullet point like form rather than a flowing coherent narrative that brings a richness and detail to the story.
Alas, even this response would be edited down in the 24 hour news cycle to (fox news) say, “Intellectual cynic says common man too uneducated to understand the news”
And it would be a hit because it hits the anger, confirmation bias, and short attention span button.
I’m going back to my cave and read Beowulf again...
And then go for a walk, travel, love and enjoy life is the most sensible advice.