By Gary Epler, M.D., Harvard Medical School and Trond A. Undheim, Ph.D., Futurist, Founder of Yegii, Inc.
The media universe is drawn to negativity. Bloggers exploit this fully, but national media also pick extreme angles. What are the steps to take in order to select and verify the news you read right now?
As the coronavirus crisis is fast moving and threatens millions of people in America and around the globe, the public and experts alike need trustable information. Yet, too much news is reported with headlines and stories geared towards obtaining viral clicks and high media ratings. Often, this is accomplished by omitting facts and adding negatively biased information.
Truly fake news, as in news without any basis in facts, has dangerous consequences. However, even relentless negative news is a health hazard. Negative words that provoke action and clicks include anger, frustration and fear. Important words that don’t get as many clicks because they are more complex include sadness, confusion, shame and guilt – and even include positive feelings such as contentment, satisfaction, joy, happiness and excitement. When it comes to health news, fake news could lead you to make life altering decisions based on false premises. The need for good information is more real than ever.