Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Nattering Nabobs of Negativity

Looking at how the news organizations present the news, how the market seems to be going and how much attention is being paid to the economy, you'd think the world was dying a slow and painful death. Looming in the near future is an environment that is only going to be darker than where we are now. This is the headline. This is what they want us to believe. Why?

Are we falling behind? Are we overwhelmed with life and pursuit of happiness? Are we ready to throw in the towel? Is it true that looming on the horizon is a devastating world that would make the Great Depression seem like a cake walk rather than the soup line it was?

If we allow the media to guide us, we should be bracing for something terrible. Interestingly, Gallup released the results of a recent poll in which 84% of Americans say they are satisfied with the way things are going in their personal life at this time, while 14% are dissatisfied. Something even more interesting . . . These results have remained pretty consistent since Gallup started tracking personal life satisfaction in 1979. Honestly, on average, year in and year out, the nearly 30 years of Americans who say they are satisfied with their personal life remains at 82%. The lowest point was 73% in July 1979 (Jimmy Carter was struggling and Americans were too). Interestingly, the highest point was during George W. Bush's presidency, 88% in December 2004.

I'm left wondering this. If we're all so happy with our personal lives, why is the national press organizations leading us to believe everything is so off kilter? Americans are overwhelming happy with those things they can see personally. However, in the same survey, we understand that only 27% are happy with the way things are going in the United States. Why is there such a dichotomy? We're happy with those things directly in our face but unhappy with those things for which we must rely on others to understand.

The media. I blame them.

Something else Gallup has recently uncovered: Republicans are more likely than independents or Democrats to say they are very satisfied with their personal lives and that they are very happy.

Maybe this is why many of the media talking heads sound so glum and unhappy. Some of them even sound angry all the time.

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