Every day I read several newspapers online, some local, others national. As I was doing that recently I became aware that I was reading more stories about “bad news” than about things that were good and happy.
There was the story about kitchen ingredients we should all ban; ways we don’t know we are being rude; and the worst airlines last year. It was also curious that these headlines were towards the top of the page, giving credence to the assumption that we will read about things negative before the “good news” stories.
Do we do this because we feel better when we read about others who have worse things in their lives than we have? Are we upset when we read about someone who has experienced something wonderful when we feel we haven’t? Are stories about celebrities a way to put ourselves in a dream world that is so much more exciting than ours?
Some of us turn to “adopting” sports teams to be in a position to feel great when “our” team wins, or at least performs well. We engage in some kind of mood transferal so that when our team or a particular player does something good, we take credit for it emotionally. Haven’t you one time or another attended a sports event and, when one of the teams scores, its followers shoot to their feet to applaud the achievement? Why are they celebrating when they didn’t do a darned thing to help the team succeed other then buy a ticket to support their effort?
I guess there’s no harm in this type of behavior. Of course, one could say get off the couch and achieve something yourself, either at work or in your personal life, but that would make us feel bad because a lot of people don’t really want to work to be successful; they just want it to be bestowed on them.
Over the years, some publishers have recognized this good news vs. bad news tendency and published articles only about good news and happy situations. You guessed it, they failed because few people are satisfied by reading only about the good.