Recently, I decided that reading the news was bad for me. Actually, I think it’s bad for anyone. Take this sampling of headlines from today’s major news sites:
Teens Guzzle Hand Sanitizer
Mother in Custody after Stabbing Child at City Social Services Office
Man Wished to Have Wife Murdered as a Birthday Gift*
There are a few news sites I quit reading years ago because of their love of alarmist, graphic headlines (I’m looking at you, CNN). Horrifying the readers must drive traffic, though, because this phenomenon has bled into just about every news site.
Exposure to daily negativity in the news is like starting your day with lead weights on your chest. Do you honestly want to kick off the morning with an image of a mother stabbing her baby in an office full of people? That’s a rhetorical question — NO ONE wants this mental image.
In the quest to provide headlines so grotesque that readers HAVE to click, news sites are pushing aside some real news that we would probably want to know. And likely should know. For example–did you hear that the Dutch government resigned yesterday? The prime minister and the cabinet up and quit. That should be pretty big news, right? Did you hear about it on the radio? TV news? Internet?
I used to watch and enjoy the Today show every morning. Now I can barely stomach it, and prefer the positive vibes of Sesame Street instead. I did check in with Today during the headlines segment out of curiosity. They did not tell the nation that the Netherlands is now politically rudderless. I did, however, learn that Guliana Rancic is expecting a baby via surrogate. I wish Guliana the best, but I’m kinda pissed at Matt Lauer.
Matt — you used to bring me a terrific sampling of world and national news, weather, and a few respectable Hollywood tidbits with my morning tea. And you looked damn fine doing it. So please, on behalf of us optimists, let’s have fewer interviews with people who have lost loved ones in a wood chipper. Until then, the boys and I will be enjoying this.*I’m purposefully not including the URLs for these, because frankly, I don’t want to drive additional traffic there (but you could always Google if you can’t resist).