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The KIRO Rundown: US media seems to have a negativity problem

(AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

There was a working paper put out this week by the National Bureau of Economic Research, which suggests that U.S. media is considerably more negative in the reporting on COVID-19 than other English speaking media.

A couple KIRO Radio shows grappled with why this might be:

Tom Tangney pointed out that some people might actually find negative news comforting somehow.

“It’s like you’re trying to protect yourself,” Tangney said. “You want to know everything bad that’s out there so you can be safe.”

John Curley responded that the problem is this can result in people being less pessimistic than they should be.

“We don’t really see the big picture, we don’t see the progress being made,” Curley said.

Ursula Reutin believes this was more true in years past, but that the media has actually been trying to avoid this reputation.

“There’s always been that line ‘if it bleeds, it leads,'” Reutin said. “We’ve really tried to move away from that. We’ve really gone to the standard of ‘does anyone care? Does this impact people?'”

Gee Scott argued the focus on the negative is also true in sports journalism.

“If they’re going to report something on a player, it sounds like this,” Gee said, “‘This player: DUI,’ ‘this player: domestic violence.'”

“The negative news sells,” Ursula responded.

The KIRO Radio Rundown Podcast collects takes from each KIRO Radio host on the biggest stories of the week and puts them in one place. Released Tuesdays and Thursdays by 7 p.m.

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