Blog Business Entertainment Environment Health Latest News News Analysis Opinion Science Sports Technology Videos World
The Pitfalls of 24-Hour News

In our over-politicized society, mainstream outlets throw nonstop information at consumers. 


The 24-hour news cycle is a significant factor in the modern media landscape, along with the rise of social media. Companies like CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC continuously report on the latest news and political developments, providing constant updates and analysis that never stops. 


Journalist Matt Taibbi, in his book Hate Inc., wrote, "The relentless now now now grind of the twenty-four-hour cycle created in consumers a new kind of anxiety and addictive dependency, a need to know what was happening not just once or twice a day but every minute."


This revolutionary media movement has several downsides, the most pertinent being the rise in polarization, misinformation, and the mental health effects of news overconsumption.


Political lines significantly divide Americans. According to a 2021 Pew Research study on 17 advanced economic nations, the perception of intense conflict between political parties was 90% in the United States, which, along with South Korea, also at 90%, was higher than the other economically developed nations. The median number was 50%, and no other country in the study reported 70% or more intense conflict along political lines.


The divide in the US is remarkably complex, and the barrage of information mainstream news outlets provide heightens this divide.


Mirium Liss, a psychology professor at the University of Mary Washington, writes, "Where there is news overload, people filter the news only to give them manageable news that they can process. But this can lead to people only seeing news about their political orientation." 


A Northwestern University study echoed this sentiment, "Typically, ideas that are similar to your beliefs can be convincing or attractive, but once ideas go past a discomfort point, people start rejecting what they see or hear. We call this the 'repulsion distance."


These findings represent both our 24-hour news industry and the rise in social media that accentuate the divide and amplify the repulsion distance.


According to a Gallup survey, Americans generally distrust mainstream media. Additionally, a 2018 poll shows that 72% of Americans believe the media played a vital role in our nation's divide. 


According to Pew Research Center, when asked if they trust the American news media, people usually answer "no." However, they are equally quick to express their trust in a particular news company or individual. This news source is often a mainstream outlet with intensely partisan viewers, such as MSNBC or Fox News.

According to a Pew Research Center article, 95% of MSNBC viewers are Democrats, and 93% of Fox News viewers are Republicans. Stated otherwise, Americans increasingly live in echo chambers. 


The overproduction of news stories and debates on television creates a system that is more entertainment than anything else. 24-hour news is now a business where division sells, and often partisan bickering takes the place of reporting on critical issues because the divide is more profitable. Humans are instinctively tribal, and the news industry takes advantage of this, leading viewers to confirm their biases and root for their team rather than investigate the truth.


Taibbi emphasizes this point further in his book, "By 2016, we'd raised a generation of viewers who had no conception of politics as an activity that might or should involve compromise. Your team won or lost, and you felt devastated or vindicated. We were training rooters instead of readers."


Combined with this spirit of entertainment in the news, a rush to report the information constantly leads to misleading reporting from both sides of the political aisle. Due to the demands of producing news 24 hours a day, stories that require thorough investigation are pressed to the front headlines as long as they fit a narrative. 


Georgetown professor and author Cal Newport writes that 24-hour news coverage leads to "incomplete, redundant, and contradictory information." This reporting leaves viewers less informed and angrier than if they had not watched the broadcast.


The effect of hyper-partisan and misleading reporting is an inability amongst many Americans to agree on facts. The same Pew Research study on divisiveness reports that 59% of Americans cannot agree on basic facts. The only economically developed country in the study with a higher percentage was France, at 61%. The median among the 17 countries was 39%.


Productive debate is only possible with an agreement on basic facts and the ability to accept factual information contrary to deeply held beliefs. Without this agreement, it can and often will spiral into character insults, worsening the divide.


Without the manufactured division our 24-hour mainstream media sites propagate, it is possible to hold constructive conversations despite disagreements–thus rejecting the televised narrative that we must pick one side and defend it ruthlessly.


After all, if the other side is truly evil, as mainstream news tells us, we should condemn that side at every chance we get. The constant news stream manipulates people to believe the other side is genuinely evil without honestly interpreting their ideas and while emphasizing small sects of extreme views made to look representative of entire political parties.


Unfortunately, many engage in debates that seek to win and prove themselves right rather than working together to solve issues. Despite what 24-hour news tells us, it is possible to disagree in honest and productive discussions and still respect the contrary point of view.


Additionally, this process of news overconsumption and political divides has poor mental health effects on the consumers. Texas Tech produced a study where "Of the 1,100 people surveyed for the study, 16.5 percent become so immersed in the news that it dominates their waking thoughts, disrupting their focus on school and work and limiting the time they spend with family and friends."


A 2022 University of Vermont study also "found an association between the amount of exposure to news on social media and more depression and PTSD symptoms."


Texas Tech researcher Bryan McLaughlin wrote that the barrage of bad news puts people in a "constant state of high alert." This barrage has clear negative consequences for our mental health, as it can increase anxiety and depression, which are growing at alarming rates in the United States due to various factors. 



The onus is on rising media platforms to provide well-researched information to consumers so that we can both be informed and begin to lessen the divide through constructive conversations with those we disagree with. The 24-hour mainstream media cycle has led to partisanship and heightened anxiety levels, but it is possible as more Americans move away from these divisive platforms for a solution to arise.


Share This Post On

Tags: #news #mainstreamnews


Leave a comment

You need to login to leave a comment. Log-in is a Global Media House Initiative by Socialnetic Infotainment Private Limited.

TheSocialTalks was founded in 2020 as an alternative to mainstream media which is fraught with misinformation, disinformation and propaganda. We have a strong dedication to publishing authentic news that abides by the principles and ethics of journalism. We are an organisation driven by a passion for truth and justice in society.

Our team of journalists and editors from all over the world work relentlessly to deliver real stories affecting our society. To keep our operations running, We need sponsors and subscribers to our news portal. Kindly sponsor or subscribe to make it possible for us to give free access to our portal and it will help writers and our cause. It will go a long way in running our operations and publishing real news and stories about issues affecting us.

Your contributions help us to expand our organisation, making our news accessible to more everyone and deepening our impact on the media.

Support fearless and fair journalism today.