‘Bad News’ Viewpoint Dr. Larry Burriss


We hear a lot of talk lately about the mental health of our children. Apparently mental health issues are increasing dramatically, and we often hear Covid challenges are the culprits.
But is it Covid, or all of the alarmist talk about Covid, and other supposed world difficulties, causing the problems?

Media sociologist George Gerbner one time said, “Fearful people are more dependent, more easily manipulated and more susceptible to deceptively simple, strong, tough measures and and hard-line postures. They may even welcome repression if it promises to relieve their insecurities.”
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In other words, if this or that group can introduce fear into the population, they are more likely to be able to control those very same people.
And how is this fear introduced? Well, Gerbner has an answer: Whoever, “tells the stories governs human behavior. It used to be the parent, the school, the church, the community. Now it’s a handful of global conglomerates that have nothing to tell, but a great deal to sell.”

His research also shows people who watch more negative news and watch more negative entertainment have a completely different, and a more negative, view of the world than the world actually is.
Now, this is not to say we should put on blinders and ignore our problems.
But it is saying perhaps the world isn’t in as bad a shape as some people would have us believe.

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For example, have you seen any infomercials about polar bears lately? Just a couple of years ago we were told polar bears were on the edge of extinction.
It turns out, however, zoologists are reporting polar bear populations have more than doubled over the last few years, but somehow that didn’t make the evening news or the headlines.

Why? Because good news isn’t on the agenda of people who want to take control.

Dr. Larry Burriss MTSU
Larry Burriss, a professor in Middle Tennessee State University’s College of Mass Communication and president of the Tennessee Journalism Hall of Fame, welcomes the crowd before the induction ceremonies at the Tennessee Association of Broadcasters conference in Murfreesboro for the Tennessee Journalism Hall of Fame. (MTSU photo by Andrew Oppmann)

We’ve also heard the expression, Too good to be true.
Well, maybe if it’s bad news it isn’t true.
I’m Larry Burriss.