Having the news playing in the background of the office, living room, or airport used to be a low-risk way to stay informed. Today, those who want to protect their mental wellbeing would be better served leaving CNN, Fox News, BBC, and other news networks off their “Favorite Channels” list.
We know that COVID-19 and the related quarantines caused a substantial spike in domestic violence. I had to wonder, though: What effect is the toxic news cycle itself having on domestic abuse?
We Know That Media Affects Domestic Violence in a Number of Ways
There are well-established links between media consumption and our emotional states. Because we know that emotions often affect our actions, there is a clear thread between various media—including the news—and acts of violence towards others.
The issue is this simple: Negative news is making people feel bad. People who feel badly, suffering from problems like anxiety, stress, and depression, are more likely to engage in domestic violence.
No matter how you slice it, the barrage of news about inflation, the latest COVID strain, political turmoil, foreign wars, and other similarly depressing topics has a direct correlation with domestic violence.
If you've ever taken a broadcast journalism class or studied the origins of mass media, you've heard the mantra “If It Bleeds, It Leads.” Turn on the news, and you'll see that this ethos applies more now than ever—by no coincidence, 21% of Americans suffered from mental illness as of 2020.
It Stands to Reason That a Depressing, Frightening News Cycle Can Contribute to Domestic Violence
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) cites conditions like depression, anger, hostility, and insecurity as risk factors for someone to engage in domestic abuse. It's not a wild theory to say that anxiety, stress, and fear make us emotionally unstable and thus more likely to commit acts of violence towards others.
Would anyone sincerely argue that the news cycle—no matter which channel you watch—is a calming force? When it comes to news, fear attracts eyeballs, and eyeballs bring in the advertising dollars. It is in news channels' interests to evoke harmful emotions in you—unfortunately, pitting viewers against one another is profitable, and is the blueprint for modern news media.
Too often, this polarization causes rifts in marriages, friendships, and families. Sadly, these rifts can turn violent.
Understanding this, you can make wise decisions about how much news you consume, which news sources you frequent, or whether you want to pay attention to the news at all.
If You Need Representation or Have Questions About Domestic Violence, Call the Lento Law Firm
Attorney Joseph D. Lento fights for those facing charges of domestic violence. We have seen the tragic effects that domestic disputes have on lives, and we work hard to mitigate those effects.
Call the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686 to discuss your case. You can also provide your case details online.
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