In a period in which most Americans feel mentally exhausted by news flow — from Facebook’s trending stories to Twitter’s hashtags to Trump’s spontaneous tweeting — and of course, how could we not forget, the mainstream media’s constant barrage of very fake news, approximately 70 percent of Americans feel “overwhelmed by the amount of news there is,” according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted from Feb. 22 to March 04, 2018.
Nearly 68 percent of Americans feel mentally exhausted by the high-rate of news in the modern era, compared with just 30 percent of Americans who enjoyed the amount of news they get. Pew said today’s “feelings of information overload” is similar to how Americans felt during the 2016 presidential election.
While it certainly seems like Americans are consuming too much media, Republicans are experiencing more news fatigue than anyone else. Roughly 77 percent of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents are mentally drained from the constant bombardment of news headlines, compared with just 61 percent of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents, said Pew.
The report detailed that avid news watchers were less likely to experience mental fatigue than those who sparingly read headlines. For those who chase headlines “most of the time,” 62 percent reported psychological exhaustion, meanwhile, 78 percent of those who less frequently get news say they are overwhelmed.
Americans who regularly criticized the mainstream media as fake news were the most “worn out.” About 80 percent of Americans said the mainstream media were doing “not too well” or “not at all well” in factually covering stories — acknowledged the most exhaustion. Americans who said the news media did “fairly well,” 69 percent reported mental fatigue. Only 48 percent of those who claimed news organizations do “very well” said they were worn out by news flow.
Pew said white people had a higher probability of feeling fatigued from the news than black or Hispanic people. The report also highlighted women generally feel more tired than men from news headlines.
In a deeply divided nation, when Republicans religiously follow Fox News and Democrats are mindlessly blasted with very fake news from CNN, it is understood that Americans are living in a stressful period.
Maybe the echoes of the Strauss–Howe generational theory, the Fourth Turning, is alive and well as the awakening and the unraveling of the empire has flung this country into a full-blown crisis — first observed in news headlines and then reflected among its citizens’ mental fatigue.
The human brain which created this modern world is just not wired to process the vast amounts of information from news networks and social media. Americans are sleepwalking into a period of too much stimulation in tense periods, which could result in irrational decision making. America is stressed — its people are stressed — and there is just too much damn news. What could go wrong from here?