THE BLOG
07/23/2014 05:31 pm ET Updated Sep 22, 2014

What the News Media Won't Tell You About Global Violence

I call CNN the Crisis News Network (or the Calamity News Network), delivering all crisis, all the time...

Today's news media is a drug pusher, and negative news is their drug.

It might interest you to know that violence around the world has actually been going down, and has been for some time.

Your chances of dying a violent death are 1/500th of what they used to be during medieval times.

We're blind to this fact, because our brains pay 10 times more attention to negative news than positive news. I wrote about these cognitive biases in Abundance.

Let's take a look at the data that backs this up.

2014-07-23-DeathsDuetoWar.png

This graph shows deaths due to war between 1900 and 2005. You'll notice clear spikes during World War I and World War II.

Check out this next graph.

2014-07-23-WaningofWar.png

Here, you'll see the types of battles fought since 1940, and every classification -- colonial, interstate, civil, and civil without foreign intervention -- has dropped off drastically over time.

But this isn't the impression you get from watching the news every night, is it?

Today, every skirmish in every part of the planet is broadcast straight into your living room live, in HD... over and over again.

But when we look at the data, the amount of warfare and deaths by human hands are reducing globally.

What do I do to counter this barrage of negative news? I've stopped watching TV news. They couldn't pay me enough money.

I get my news from selected Google News and my social feed. Try it. You'd be amazed at how much happier you'll be.

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