Americans pine to be well informed. But there’s a price to pay. New research from the American Psychological Association finds that majorities of the chronically over-informed public are stressed — “experiencing anxiety, anger and fatigue” — and the news media plays a role in it. Even tracking the news itself is a stressful event for the majority of the public, the study found.
“Looking at Americans’ news consumption and social media habits can provide some insight into why the state of our nation and its uncertain direction have become such significant sources of stress. Americans care about staying informed, with most (95 percent) saying they follow the news regularly and 82 percent saying they check the news at least once each day. For nearly one in 10 Americans (9 percent), a news check-in at least every hour is the norm, and one in five Americans (20 percent) say they check their social media constantly, a significant increase from the 17 percent in 2016 who reported such use,” the study notes.
“For many Americans, news consumption has a downside. More than half of those surveyed (56 percent) say that while they want to stay informed about the news, doing so causes them stress. Further, many Americans (72 percent) say the media blows things out of proportion.”
Indeed. The press always appears to be at fever pitch for two reasons. One, the primarily liberal-leaning news media has become increasingly shrill as they seek to offset the political failures of the Democratic Party in 2016. And two, all news organizations now must race to maintain their core audiences, often through speed of delivery and provocative headlines. The old school ‘big picture” coverage of a previous era has been replaced by non-stop crisis and outrage.
There’s a certain amount of fear culture at work here as well. Are Americans really that jittery? The group’s study also revealed that the public is not all that stressed by authentically scary stuff — such as international war, crime, terrorism, mass shootings, high taxes, precarious social security, trust in government and “government controversies and scandals.” The research found that between a quarter 25 percent and 34 percent of respondents cited these factors as stressful. of this year. A majority, 54 percent, have an unfavorable view,” he said, noting that when compared to other surveys on the Democrats, this is the worst negative finding on the party since 1992.
“The rating includes low favorable ratings from some core Democratic groups, including nonwhites (48 percent) and people under 35 years old (33 percent),” Mr. Struyk said. “The numbers come amid recent feuds and divisions in the Democratic Party, as former interim chair Donna Brazile’s new book has unveiled new questions about infighting during the 2016 presidential campaign.”
But wait. The Republican Party isn’t faring so well either in the poll, garnering a 30 percent favorability rating . It is unchanged since September however, which at least means the lousy ratings aren’t getting worse.
New research from the American Psychological Association finds that many Americans are feeling stressed out from being over-informed by the news. Even tracking the news itself is a stressful event for people.