“A tabulation of positive and negative emotion words in news stories has shown that during the decades in which humanity has gotten healthier, wealthier, wiser, safer and happier, the “New York Times” has become increasingly morose and the world’s broadcasts too have gotten steadily glummer.”
May’s focus is on Data and Doubt, and one of the places we get tripped up the most when it comes to data is when it doesn’t match up to our interpretation of reality. In this interesting TED talk, psychologist Steven Pinker explains how our current situations shape our understanding of how well (or badly) things are going on around us, and how that affects our perceptions of progress, and journalism’s role in this process. Despite a lot of data that clearly show progress, news reports and headlines are “glummer” than ever. Pinker explains how our cognitive bias and “the nature of news” color our reality.