What Is a Constant Cycle of Violent News Doing to Us?

Jul 15, 2016

By Katie Rogers

It has been a rough year.

By now, our violence is down to a pattern, and there is a choreography to our reactions.

A killer seeks out a nightclub, a church, an airport, a courthouse, a protest. Someone is shot on video, sometimes by the police, and marchers fill the streets. An attack is carried out in France, America, Turkey, Bangladesh, Lebanon, Tunisia, Nigeria, and then claimed and celebrated by a radical terror group.

Our phones vibrate with news alerts. The talking heads fill air over cable news captions that shout “breaking news” in red. Rumors and misinformation abound. The comments erupt on Twitter, Facebook and news sites.

Journalists create multimedia stories that focus on videos, photos and graphic accounts from victims and witnesses. The experts give interviews, and the latest tools of immediacy are put to use. After the attack in Nice, France, The Times invited grief counselors to be interviewed on Facebook Live.


Continue reading by clicking the name of the source below.

18 comments on “What Is a Constant Cycle of Violent News Doing to Us?

  • The 24 hour news cycle also has a very bad effect on the FOX news crowd which is mostly older Americans. The channel aims at that demographic because they tend to keep the TV blaring all day and as a result they are barraged with very frightening and depressing “news” stories that repeat every half hour. According to FOX America is in steep decline because of hoards of immigrants swarming over the (southern) border and no one cares about family values anymore – they pine for the leave it to beaver 1950’s model of the nuclear family. A stifling model of patriarchy if there ever was one.

    Years ago I told my parents to shut the TV off in the daytime and to find a more neutral source of news than the one they had blaring negativity at them all day but every time I went in there it was still going. Multiply this by several million and you can see what an effective propaganda machine FOX is for the tea-party bunch.



    Report abuse

  • While the NYT is hardly breaking new ground, they are to be congratulated for attempting to shine a spotlight on a major failing of mass media.

    They don’t interview anyone who is looking for an answer, which is almost as depressing as watching a 24 hour news station.

    In the full NYT piece ‘social’ media is yet again identified as anything but social. But I only rarely even glance at that stuff. Modern Mass Media is enough, on its own. Symptoms of PTSD and depression? Been there, got the T shirt.

    Peace.



    Report abuse

  • I think one of the most damaging aspects is the young people in their twenty’s who for the majority of their lives have seen nothing but wars and the violence by terrorists.

    They have come to think what is going on in the US and the rest of the world is normal and in these days of picking your media for liberal or conservative bias, both are extreme. However this may be the new “normal”, if they come to accept it.



    Report abuse

  • Laurie, I have a young friend (25) who still think the “enemy” are Muslims. I asked his how much terrorist Muslims personally affected his life. He couldn’t answer, just stood there and got mad. We live in a rural area and I don’t think he is in danger of Muslims. We do however have bears. He is more statistically more likely to be eaten by a bear than an attack by Muslims.

    If a person watches this crap everyday, I will guarantee they will think the world is in danger and their life and decision making process will be affected.



    Report abuse

  • @ LaurieB

    I am surrounded by these folks. I’d like to add another layer to your excellent summary.

    These folks watch fiction and think that it is descriptive of an entire race or culture, Case in point, we have a television show called “Tyrant”. Many of the people I know who watch it think that it accurately describes every single person in the middle east. Then i have to endure shit like “you know the guy driving the truck (lorry) was muslim ….. ALL those people are vicious…. you should see Tyrant….” It is maddening. Same with the show “Homeland”… Here’s the screed… “THEY are always trying to attack us…. you should see how many times we’ve turned THEM away in the nick of time…. You don’t realize how close it has been …”

    It is a fucking tv show. The best thing for the world would be if a large percentage of these folks would turn the goddamn tv off!!!!



    Report abuse

  • 10
    bonnie2 says:

    taking a walk can help

    If conditions are just right, the nearby three acre wood is hushed, with only bird chatter interrupting. For a few blissful seconds, the human world does not exist. Alas, a nice place to visit, but not to live, necessarily.



    Report abuse

  • Laurie, I have a young friend (25) who still think the “enemy” are Muslims.

    “Enemy” is possibly the wrong word here?
    I would suggest that
    “Religious persons of every single denomination are the PROBLEM”.

    The question is, how do we SOLVE it?



    Report abuse

  • M27

    “Religious persons of every single denomination are the PROBLEM”.

    The problem is simple minded analysis of moral issues.

    Which is why I’ll often take my pragmatic UK Quakers over quite a number of sloganeering atheist ideologues.

    how do we SOLVE it?

    Understand the real problem first.

    Insist the issue is entirely a moral one. Not one about truth or freedom, which are simply a subset of moral issues.



    Report abuse

  • crookedshoes #9
    Jul 16, 2016 at 10:46 pm

    Here’s the screed… “THEY are always trying to attack us…. you should see how many times we’ve turned THEM away in the nick of time…. You don’t realize how close it has been …”

    Of course in the case of the French, and fairly recent colonial North Africa, – just across the Mediterranean from southern France, – and on the main refugee route out of Africa, – there is history of vicious attacks in both directions within living memory, as these states became independent!

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_French_possessions_and_colonies#French_North_Africa

    A series of wars with Britain during the 18th century and early 19th century, which France lost, ended its colonial ambitions in these regions, and with it what some historians term the “first” French colonial empire. In the 19th century, France established a new empire in Africa and South East Asia. Some of these colonies lasted beyond the invasion and occupation of France by Nazi Germany during World War II. At present, France possesses the second-largest exclusive economic zone in the world, just after the USA; it measures approximately 11,351,000 km2 (4,383,000 sq mi).

    French Morocco (1912–1956) (protectorate) (89% of the current territory) (now Morocco)
    French Algeria (1832–1962) (Algeria)

    Oran (department) (1848–1962)
    Constantine (department) (1848–1962)
    Alger (department) (1848–1962)
    French Tunisia (1881–1956) (protectorate) (Tunisia)



    Report abuse

  • A prescient article. The constant media cycle and social media connectivity are creating both hypersensitivities and desensitization. I hear about a major tragedy and I find myself inclined to avoid the story. I simply don’t want to wade into the insecurities of our fellow man. I think a number of people feel this way. Terrorists are, of course, masters at exploiting this vulnerability and those who succumb to fear are easily swayed by the drama and passions. Beyond the tragedies, hypersensitivity on a range of issues seems to be on the rise. It will be interesting to learn if societal conversations become tempered by the realization that fear needn’t be a prerequisite to discuss the difficult issues of our time. Confidence can find a way to overcome fear.



    Report abuse

  • Greg, I am in no fear of Muslims. The irrational fear from Muslims can be compared to driving an automobile.
    Yes, there is a small risk. But you can’t stop your life from fear for a tiny percentage of risk.
    Hundreds of people die every week from car accidents.

    I am in more fear for our political climate than a terrorist attack. Trump has done a better job of causing fear than any terrorist.



    Report abuse

  • Alan4discussion #13
    Jul 19, 2016 at 7:54 am

    Of course in the case of the French, and fairly recent colonial North Africa, – just across the Mediterranean from southern France, – and on the main refugee route out of Africa, – there is history of vicious attacks in both directions within living memory, as these states became independent!

    . . . and its not just past history!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-36843186

    France’s defence ministry says three of its soldiers have died in Libya, reportedly after their helicopter was shot down.

    A short statement said the soldiers died “while on mission”.

    Earlier on Wednesday, ministry spokesman Stephane Le Foll confirmed for the first time that French special forces were in Libya.

    On Tuesday, Associated Press quoted Libyan officials as saying an Islamist militia shot down a French helicopter.

    Mr Le Foll, in an interview with France Info radio on Wednesday, said French special forces were in Libya to “ensure that France is present everywhere in the fight against terrorism”.

    While France had previously said its warplanes were carrying out reconnaissance flights over Libya, this is the first formal confirmation that France has special forces inside the country.

    Their presence was first reported by Le Monde newspaper in February (in French) but later denied by Libyan officials.

    Le Monde also said that French intelligence officials were stationed inside Libya to help the fight against the so-called Islamic State (IS).

    Benghazi was the birthplace of the 2011 uprising against Col Muammar Gaddafi, but has since seen heavy violence between rival Islamist militias.

    The BBC’s Paris correspondent Hugh Schofield says Benghazi has suffered violence in the past two weeks as rival militias seek to take control of the city.

    So, now that foreign interference has destabilised the country and destroyed law and order there, the civil war is spilling over into nearby countries as reprisals for foreign military attacks on particular rebel factions!

    One country’s “special forces” are another country’s terrorists!
    Those international power brokers just can’t resist playing at “regime change” regardless of the consequences to the local people or the generation of large groups of aggrieved individuals looking for revenge!

    The oil-rich country once had one of the highest standards of living in Africa with free healthcare and free education, but five years on from the uprising it is facing a financial crisis.

    At the same time, militias, who hold considerable power across Libya, are split along regional, ethnic and local lines, creating a combustible mix.

    This turmoil has allowed IS to gain a foothold in the country.

    The locals can thank Western interference (celebrated as “The Arab Spring”) for that!



    Report abuse

  • Alan4,
    Excellent points. I am unaware/ignorant of the television programming in Europe (having never been). I was thinking rather myopically and really was focused on the US. Your point is well received.



    Report abuse

Leave a Reply

View our comment policy.