Why do people like bad news

By M.Farouk Radwan, MSc.

why do some people like bad news

For the first instance the title may sound strange but when you understand exactly what is meant by bad news you will realize that most people prefer them over good ones.

How many times you stopped in the street to watch an accident?
how often do you watch the news?
Didn't you ever notice that most of the news you watch is negative?
why do you do it then?

All human beings want to feel powerful, superior and in control even those who claim that they don't care about these things. There are too ways to feel good about yourself, the first is to become better than other people and the second is to watch other people slip behind you.

In my article Why do people gossip i explained that gossiping is one strategy that people use to devalue others in order to feel good about themselves.

Gossiping makes most people feel guilty because after all they believe that they did a bad thing but what about big problems that happen to others without any intervention from your side?

Seeing people suffer will trigger two different emotions which are sympathy and superiority. The feeling of superiority comes from the conclusion that you were superior enough not to get affected by a problem that affected many others.

When others suffer you feel more powerful

Even the kindest person on earth will feel blessed when he watches other people suffer from diseases, poverty or misfortune. But why do some people feel really bad when they watch others suffer?

Its because the sympathy they felt was far more than the self esteem boost they got and that's why most people will prefer to watch bad news that doesn't include real catastrophes.

By watching people suffer but to a certain degree you feel good about yourself but when this level of suffering exceeds a certain point your sympathy will take over and you will feel bad.

The business man who is doing very well in a time where the economy is slow might actually enjoy bad news about the economy since it will make him feel good about himself. After all he succeeded in doing what most people failed at and as a result he will feel superior to them.

When we feel bad about ourselves because of the problems we are suffusing from we usually experience a relief when we find that someone else is far more unfortunate than us.

This is also the reason why many people like horror movies and even sadistic ones like Saw or hostel. By watching other people suffer, even in a movie, your subconscious mind will conclude that your situation is far more better than them and so you will feel good about yourself.

How can people be that mean?

I know what you are thinking about now, you are wondering how can people be that mean?
But when you know that most people aren't aware of the way their minds work and that most of them get addicted to bad news without realizing that they make them feel better about themselves you will forgive them.

Now the question is, why do some people get depressed by bad news?
Here is the quick answer, the ones who believe that they will be affected in a way or another by the bad news will certainly feel bad after watching it.

If a business man was struggling to make profits them he heard that the country is entering into a recession then he will certainly feel bad because in such a case he will feel helpless instead of superior.

Selfishness is another factor that affects the love for bad news. The more selfish a person is the more likley he will enjoy the bad news that can't affect his life.

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