Monday, August 2, 2010

If it is in the News, don't believe it...

Gulf Coast Oil Disaster
Woman charged in France for death of 8 babies
Second U.S sailor found dead in Afghanistan
Scores die of cholera in Cameroon
80 die in ferry accident
At least 90 people dead in Pakistan flooding
Indonesian woman gets 3 years for harboring terrorists
Anthrax kills 82 hippos, 9 buffalo in Uganda
Hoarding called a public health issuePriest stabbed to death in Mexico church

These are just 8 of the headlines that bombarded and invaded the walls of my
sense of security this morning as I perused the pages of the newspaper, I counted 39 more alarming headlines after which I simply stopped counting. No wonder those of us who are slaves to the News experience a conscious or unconscious sense of doomsday or despair. I propose that newspapers and TV news come with one of those warning labels that they put on noxious substances: “WARNING hazardous to your health”

But, let’s not blame it all on the news reporters, biology and evolution wired our brains to be more responsive to bad and shocking news than to good news. It made sense for our cave dwelling ancestors to sit up and pay attention to stories about lions lurking in the bush. Stories about women sharing berries around the camp fire did not make the “editors’ cut”. So, next time you are stack in traffic for hours getting angry and wondering why does everyone have to stop and look at the accident on the side of the road, calm down and blame it on evolution.

Anyway, I recently came across a cure for the News induced anxiety and despair. It’s a book called “the Science of Fear.” I have to admit I felt somewhere between humbled and totally stupid to realize how easily I can be manipulated by overzealous news reporters, corrupted politicians and even well meaning scientists and experts. Pick it up. I promise, you will never look at News the same way again.