The Washington Times Weekly - - Politics -

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.

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