Despite Everything You Think You Know, America Is on the Right Track
Yes, America is a wounded giant—but it always has been, and the case for optimism is surprisingly strong.
Negativity is by now so deeply ingrained in American media culture that it’s become the default frame imposed on reality. In large part, this is because since the dawn of the internet age, the surest way to build an audience is to write stories that make people terrified or furious. This is not rocket science: Evolution designed humans to pay special attention to threats. So, unsurprisingly, the share of American headlines denoting anger increased by 104 percent from 2000 to 2019. The share of headlines evoking fear surged by 150 percent.