The current situation…
If you believe everything you read and hear about crime, violent conflict and poverty, you might think that the world has become a very troubled and dangerous place.
The facts tell a different story.
For-Profit Editorial Coverage
Frequent Exposure to Negative News
Lack of Media Literacy Education
What is the issue?
Our world today is safer, healthier and more positive and productive than ever before. Never in history has the per-capita involvement in crime and war been lower. Never have human beings been healthier and better educated.
Unfortunately, the gap between reality and people’s perceptions is great. Grim views of the world around them deprive people of optimism, generate fear and create a sense of hopelessness. They stifle creativity and innovation, causing society to live and suffer under a pall of negativity. The most damaging effect has been the decline of trust. People who do not trust one another do not help one another. The lack of trust has resulted in stark societal divisions.
What is causing this and why?
Editorial coverage motivated primarily or solely by profit
Many U.S. media outlets meet high journalistic standards. Too many, however, are driven by the need or desire to capitalize on sensational news. Countless outlets give undue weight to stories about crime, conflict and poverty and under-report news of positive human behavior and progress.
Frequency of exposure to negative news
“Always on” mobile devices deliver content nonstop from proliferating news sources, crime-related TV shows, blogs, texts, emails and social media (Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, etc.). As a result, more of us are increasingly exposed to negative and/or false information. Add to that the “click bait” options from “fake news” websites, and it’s easy to see that people are dealing with an unprecedented onslaught of negative, untruthful news. To put it simply: They’re getting hit from all sides, and they need the skills to sift through the rubbish to find reliable information.
Lack of media literacy education
Consumers, because of a widespread inability to objectively absorb and weigh news, fail to gather and disseminate truthful information about vital issues. “Alternative facts” and “fake news” are nothing new. Our nation’s freedom of the press has long given publishers, broadcasters and, more recently, writers on social media platforms and fake news sites free rein to make up scandals and conspiracies and to sensationalize their reports.
These factors are undermining trust.
Trust enhances empathy. Empathy encourages people to help one another.
Caring people must learn to cope with the onslaught of information so that they can best use their knowledge for the common good.
What are we doing about it?
Getting Better Foundation seeks to build trust through media literacy. People who trust one another are more likely to help one another. The more people help one another, the better our world will be.
We’re helping to create a culture of trust built on scientific research and unimpeachable facts, shared in the media and on the ground through a network of advocates who are passionate purveyors of truth.
We will fight falsehoods with facts. We will beat negativity with positivity and replace suspicion with trust. We will work to spread truth, optimism and a sense of well-being.