Social Question

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

How do you make sense out of all the terrible things you read about in the news?

Asked by Captain_Fantasy (11439points) April 22nd, 2010

The news tells us some pretty awful stories sometimes and it always seems like just when you think people can’t sink any lower, there’s always that guy who will prove you wrong by doing something ridiculously depraved that no sane person has ever thought of.

We’re inundated with the stuff. It happens regularly.
So how do you deal with it all?

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30 Answers

DarkScribe's avatar

I don’t bother. When there is a lot of crazy but trivial stuff being reported you know that it is a slow news day – a good day. These things are always there, but not making headlines unless there is no bigger local issue at hand.

YARNLADY's avatar

I realize I can’t do anything about it, any more than I can feed the 20,000 people who starve to death every single day of the year. I live my life based on the principles I believe in, I help where I can, and the rest is beyond my ability to change.

Jill_E's avatar

I used to work for the paper and I had to work with the composite stories. After a while, I would read between the lines. A college professor is right, a huge percent of the news is negative while others is positive.

Usually there are great news daily in everyday lives. Unfortunately, the negative news grabs media attention. So remember there is good out there but not published.

Axemusica's avatar

like this, {sticks fingers in his ears} LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA

netgrrl's avatar

From time to time I suffer from outrage burnout & there’s just no room in my head to get angry over one more thing for awhile.

Except teabaggers. They’ll always piss me off.

holden's avatar

Why would anyone try to rationalize human behavior?

The world is full of phonies, fer chrissake.

ZEPHYRA's avatar

“Whenenver I feel afraid, I whistle a happy tune….......”

Disc2021's avatar

We’re people. People aren’t perfect – they never were (and most would argue that they weren’t intended to be).

Thus, you get people doing all sorts of crazy things. What sounds crazy to us might just be someone else’s way of living or perspective. Not to justify any wrong doing or criminal actions, but obviously sometimes (a lot of the time) people’s way of living or perspective doesn’t exactly fit our sense of morality, humanity, ethic or law as a whole.

And also, you get the people that simply just have had a psychological meltdown and dont have any rationalization for doing obvious irrational acts. That is why we have places for people like that…

MissAnthrope's avatar

It’s really easy to fall into a hopeless feeling that the world is full of awful shit, people doing horrible things to each other, greed, corruption, etc. I guess I try to focus on the good stories, like people going out of their way to help others, people making large anonymous donations to help someone in need, and other heart-warming stories. It at least makes me feel less like everyone in the world sucks at heart and that good, kind things do happen.

Jewel's avatar

I cannot make sense of it. It is beyond my understanding. I also cannot do anything about most of it, so I let it go. If I didn’t, I would lose my mind. I live my life trying to avoid having any of the awfulness creep in. I love my family and friends fiercely and do my best to be a good person. That is all I can do, so it has to be enough.

talljasperman's avatar

I watch comedy central…. “south park” “The daliy show”

JeffVader's avatar

Normally I just shrug it off saying “shit happens”, although somehow that didn’t quite seem enough when I heard about the Fritzel & Jacee Dugard cases….

thriftymaid's avatar

I’ve heard this question my whole life. There will always be bad news. Balance that with the good news; sometimes you do have to look for it.

Factotum's avatar

There are 6816100000 people in the world. Even if only .01 percent of them dedicate themselves to doing totally fucked up shit, that still leaves a lot of practitioners.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

I don’t feel a need to justify the actions of others. I am accountable for my own actions, and no one else’s. I ignore all the negative news that is reported every day, because I cannot change it and it is pointless to dwell on it. I constantly push myself to become a better person, and I try to encourage others to do the same, but it is pointless to dwell on simple facts that I am not in a position to change.

Scooby's avatar

I do read the papers every day, just to be kinda informed really on what’s going on in the world, also to keep me occupied on long lonely graveyard shifts, most of the stuff in there is bias imo & embellished to grab your attention, I’ve come across the same story but with a different slant many a time & the same pictures to describe different events so I tent to take it all with a pinch of salt & try not to take it all too literally, after all the mans gotta sell his papers! ;-/

Cruiser's avatar

I don’t pay attention except for the local stuff as my neighbors in my town regularly do some crazy shit!

slick44's avatar

Im with @Cruiser i try not to watch the news too much, except the weather, its the same stuff every day: so and so got shot, house fire, car accident, lost or beaten child. nothing ever good, too depressing.

xRIPxTHEREVx's avatar


slick44's avatar

I think @YARNLADY said it best. :)

TexasDude's avatar

Comparatively, things are more or less better than they’ve ever been. Sure, there is a lot of crazy shit going on in the world, but this stuff is child’s play compared to the type of stuff that went on during the Hundred Years War, or Qin Shi Huangdi’s rule in China, or whatever.

KatawaGrey's avatar

It’s news which means it’s unusual. If this stuff actually happened all the time and everyone was actually horrible and crazy, then this stuff wouldn’t actually be of note.

roundsquare's avatar

By realizing that good news doesn’t usually get reported.

Trillian's avatar

We take it in until we reach our saturation point. Then we become de-sensitized. We have to in our own self defense or it would consume us.

wundayatta's avatar

It’s all data. Sometimes it takes a while to figure out how it fits in, but the older I get, the easier it is to understand the causes and predict the consequences.

This seems like a rhetorical question aimed at getting folks to bitch about current events. To what purpose—I don’t know. But I’m taking the question at face value. We all have models in our heads about how things work. If you pay attention, you can build a more complete model.

Some people deliberately don’t pay attention, because they don’t want the world to be as it is. They want to live in some idealized world of their own. I don’t know how this works out. I do know that when something does enter their little cone of silence from the outside they proclaim themselves to be shocked, just shocked, and to wonder what the world is coming to. To each their own, I guess.

kevbo's avatar

The news makes a lot more sense if you believe in various conspiracies or as former Economic Hitman, John Perkins, would call them “fraternities of ideas.” For example, why third world countries never seem to get it together? Because “we” sink them with debt disguised as aid and then suck their economic resources dry. What the news will show is the effect of that on a more micro or sensationalist level while obscuring the root causes. The whole Somali pirate thing is another great example. We’re yelling “kick ass” at the Navy SEAL story on CNN, but we know next to nothing about Europe dumping nuclear waste off their coast and China stealing seafood from their territorial waters, which is what prompted the piracy in the first place.

I also think these things are sort of guided chants or incantations designed to keep us irate or at least keep our focus off anything that threatens the seats of “real” power. Stories are powerful for creating our reality, and we throughout our lives seek the retelling of stories whether they are religious or family or stories that empower us to take on an issue (the runaway success of the Chicken Soup series is an example). People who listen to Rush Limbaugh every day are getting their daily incantation of one kind of reality, as are people who listen to Keith Olbermann. (Take a look at for yet another style of incantation that has a seductive AHA! truthfulness to it, but is nevertheless rooted in futility.) So, the experience of “the news” is being fed a version (and a vision) of reality over and over.

Regarding the crazies, and especially “lone gunmen” I personally think there are a significant number of CIA-ish mind controlled patsies running around and that some of these incidents are their handiwork (the Pentagon shooter, the Virginia Tech shooter, McVeigh, etc). Obviously there are others who are just crazy and go out and do shit, but more than likely their agitation is the result of a guided incantation of reality.

(I guess I could have just said “propaganda” and kept this response a lot shorter.)

I deal with it by reading between the lines as much as possible and reading “alternative” sources to get ideas about what isn’t being told. For me, though, the deeper answer is to change the incantation to something else altogether, which is a step I have yet to take but hope to do sometime soon.

phillis's avatar

With a heavy dose of reality. Here in the U.S., headlines are dripping with sensationalism to the point of being outright deceptive at times. You have to be nimble to avoid those pitfalls, and do a lot of reading between the lines. Many of them masquerade as upstanding, but in reality, are barely a step away from celeb gossip rags. Time’s “Person of the year” isn’t much different from People Magazine’s “Most beautiful person of whatever year”. Time doesn’t discriminate; they don’t care if the person they chose isn’t a laureate or a Nobel prize winner. When it comes to reporting “fair and balanced” news, Politics owns the news conglomerates. There’s always a Fox in the henhouse, regardless of the channel or newspaper.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

If I can’t do anything about it, I don’t want to hear about it. I just don’t read those kinds of articles. Why stress out about something I can’t change?

deni's avatar

exactly why i dont read the news. especially politics—some people are cut out to be interested and involved in politics. i’m not. so why depress myself over it? and another thing – great, beautiful things happen every day, and they are rarely covered in the news. i’m not going to spend a half hour a night watching a show that talks about who got murdered, what burned down, who was shot, etc. no thanks. start covering something a little more pleasant and maybe i’d tune in more than once a year.

OneMoreMinute's avatar

Congratulations! you are 10K!!! exactly 10,000

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