Amid the tide of good economic news, why is the mood so sour?

Social media has become a more important medium for how people get their news. Half of US adults get at least some news from social media sites, according to Pew Research Center. The most popular sites for news, Facebook and YouTube, have a massive reach of a third and a fifth of US adults, respectively.

One concern is that social media amplifies bad news over good news, according to research by Andrea Bellovary, a data scientist at Nielsen, and her co-authors. Tweets by 44 news organizations they studied from 2018 to 2020 were significantly more negative in tone than positive. The negative tweets got more engagement in the form of likes and sharing. The patterns were similar for news organizations of different political leanings. Other research shows negative content on social media in general spreads more widely, fueling the gloomy mood.

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I don’t know either. A recession has been forecasted for so long now and it still has yet to materialize. And yet a large part of the public seems to believe we’ve been in one for some time now. It baffles my mind. A growing economy, record low unemployment, fast job creation. Other than inflation which proved to be temporary not sure what is not to like.


As a friend of mine is fond of quoting (not sure of the original source…):

If you do not watch / read the news, you are uninformed.

If you do watch / read the news, you are mis-informed.

How often do you have an experience of watching a TV news story or reading a story in a paper or magazine about a topic you have professional-level expertise in where after the story is over, you say to yourself “wow, that reporter really nailed all the subtleties of that problem and did it in a fair and balanced way.” Ever?

It is exceeding rare. And it can have nothing to do with any intentional bias of the reporter. It is primarily due to simple ignorance. I don’t mean that in a perjorative sense, just NOT KNOWING enough to understand the boundaries of the debate, the underlying state of knowledge on the topic to then describe the issue and explain the position of the partisans involved. It takes a great deal of expertise to explain a problem in business, technology, health, science, economics, society, etc. to the average citizen with almost no expertise in the topic.

The problem now is that there are few business models that are still supporting consistent attempts to do that. It takes too much research and editing time and writers / publishers think they have to be first with “viral” friendly content to make money and attract clicks / eyeballs / whatever. And NEGATIVE news is more useful as click-bait than interesting, subtle, nuanced or dare-one-expect FACTUAL analysis. Negative news often generates fear and fear is a more useful mechanism to trigger re-tweets, forwarding of emails and links, etc. than a longer piece that informs.



I remember in the 1970s people felt this way as well. Since 2016 there has been a defeatist feeling in the US.

I think it has to do with how we are being lied to. Lying robs people of their piece of mind. People on the right are purposely spreading lies.

It goes back to what formed the Founding Fathers and the Civil War. Those who want to subjugate people are failures themselves. Most baby boomers can not afford to retire. Some 90% do not have the full financial means. We are mostly older here. Between our impending passing and inflation, we are siding with the forces of using people. It is sickening. The press we have read for decades was that of a user.

The economics have flipped for the better but as voters we are $crewing up the world.

I’m sure Nam and Watergate made people cynical, even though some things, like individual liberty and rights, were still improving.

Now, the corruption and extremist elements trying to take away liberty and rights, in defiance of what “We The People” express as desirable, makes the situation look hopeless.



I would bet the national news agencies target our age bracket for bad news. Letting us roam about worried as we wonder if our next stop is the nursing home. It feeds our gloom.

Meanwhile, young families would be getting ads for cool children’s TV programs, vacation planning, household ideas, important financial planning, holiday wonders for the kids, and much more upbeat great stuff to buy.

CNN probably has three or four different simultaneous broadcasts depending on the household age brackets.

There is definitely something unique or at least atypical going on this year. Last year was a terrible year for investments - both stocks and bonds - but I see more fear and worry this year than I did last year. Additionally, every single client (minus one) has assumed that their investments have performed worse than actual - and often by double digits. It is not uncommon for a client to think they lost money this year instead of made money. I frankly don’t understand it.

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Sounds like a modern rendering of T Jefferson’s: “A man who reads nothing but newspapers knows less about the world than a man who reads nothing at all.”


Probably should include the whole sentence:

the man who never looks into a newspaper is better informed than he who reads them; inasmuch as he who knows nothing is nearer to truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods & errors.

He is railing against lies in newspapers, not newspapers in general.


Yes of course. That was the purpose of the post. Jeff was not anti-newspapers when he was young. e.g. (paraphrase) Choosing a nation with newspapers and no government over one with government and no newspapers provided the People could read and understand them. Apparently when he got older and became President he started having issues with what they printed…(As if he had no idea) or came to the realization that the People don’t show much interest in understanding them.

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In making that statement Jefferson was being a hypocritical political chieftan, as he controlled multiple newspapers that lied and slandered his opponents.

david fb


Well, he was in fact, being a hypocritical political chieften as you say. But he was also, no different than many others, also, as you say. And he was also, if not entirely or literally correct, largely and metaphorically correct.

When I was young and read those quotations the first time, I was so amused at seeing man’s entire prime-of-life flash before my eyes. Young, idealistic, ablaze with a love of humanity and lust for a better future, Young Thomas spouts the “Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter” line.

As President of the United States, Old Man Jefferson sees just what time and freedom hath wrought … on him. Then blows his stack about doze lyin’ bastids! even while knowing he’s doing it himself. I remember thinking: “Grown-ups. They’re all alike.” And I didn’t mean it as a compliment.

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You love the horrid old bastard as much as I do…

david fb

People take their retirement as a deadline. That date is getting pushed back for those who are not retired. The high watermark of December 2021 is the vague measure in their minds. Like everyone only gets out at the top.

The productivity number yesterday was more important.

In 2022 people coming into the clubhouse from the golf course were upset day after day that summer. Their game stank according to everyone who played. Then I began to point out the markets were down. Their tune changed. They now only played golf to get away from it all. To shut off the world and enjoy being one with nature on the golf course.

It is interesting how malleable we are as human beings. People start a story whether in person or in a newspaper. Other people decide it is a solution.

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