Forum 2: Viewer or Voyeur
Please have a look at the following links and share your thoughts regarding the
morality and ethics of reportage photography.
Farah Abdo Warsameh’s Stoned to Death, Somalia, 13 December. Photograph: AP.
Why are we obsessed with negative news?
It occurred to me from scanning newspapers everyday that the ratio of negative reportage is unbelievably high compared to the positive. What I wanted to find out was why are we so obsessed as viewers with negative news?
The work of evolutionary psychologist and neuroscientists suggest that we seek dramatic and negative events as our brain craves negative energy, our negative brain tripwires are far more sensitive than the positive and therefore we experience fear more than happiness. We have much more access to the wider world now due to social networking and the media focusing on the negative news constantly creates an atmosphere of fear and stress for the reader as they’re overwhelmed by horrific stories, however as we’re hard-wired to this we share and talk about these dramatic cases much more than the good news when it occasionally comes around. Of course, this is great publicity for the publications, the more shocking their front page headline and accompanying picture is grabs our attention even if we are sickened by it and this compels us to find out more about the situation from shock and intrigue more than the rare positive news, which only seems to be about trashy TV shows and smug gold-plated assholes like Simon Cowell these days.
Reading and seeing negative news all the time stimulates a state of depression and those who indulge in the bad news become stressed and are more likely to make rational unwise decisions which are influenced by consumerism, notice since the recession consumer sales in entertainment has risen rapidly as we constantly try to fix what we cannot mentally escape, even those who don’t read the news are generally still surrounded by it everyday due to conversation or social media.
Essentially bad news makes us think that we feel good about ourselves and we continue to read it, by this the media have us wrapped around their little fingers in fear and control. However, there is no reason why we cannot equal the balance out by simply surrounding yourself with positivity whatever that may be to you.