Here's Why We Can't Have Nice News

We love the negative. It is an axiom in the news business that we don't report planes that land safely or dogs that don't bite. But in the internet age, we find that calling Trump a fascist, or Biden senile will get you noticed.

Here's Why We Can't Have Nice News

Let me start this week's hopscotch around the news with an update on my piece last week about maybe the most nettling and certainly pestilential human in the state right now, Michelle Haas.

Here is what I wrote last week...

CORRECTED: That Sound You Hear is Sam Houston Spinning | TX Outlaw Writers
This particular Karen rails against those who contend that the fact that Mexico had outlawed slavery was a large motivator for the revolution. In fact, our Texian forbears used a legal fiction to circumvent the law by having slaves sign a document that they were now “indentured servants.” For life.

Well, I got an email today from Ms. Haas, not directed personally at me, but anyone who has somehow expressed an interest in our state's history. In it she whines about stories like mine, and mostly, the one in Texas Monthly that had the temerity to point our what a clueless twit she is. And caps it off by asking for money. Here is how she closed the email...

God & Texas,


Texas History Trust

PS - Many of you donated when we broke this story last week. We are profoundly grateful for your support.

It's because of that support that we were able to drop everything and go visit the Brazoria sites to find out what the hell was actually going on. Something no "reporter" seems able to do.

PPS - If you support what we are doing, please donate today and help us continue making progress in this fight. Just click the button below.

Needless to say, I'm not adding the button she desperately wants you to click on. Incidentally, she mentioned something else about the real Texas State Historical Association in the body of the email...

The board, now properly constituted, met for the first time. I was there for the staff Christmas party the same day. There has been a rash of academic resignations, so all of us who are TSHA members will have to show up to vote in some new ones in College Station in March.

That is a reference to all the actual historians; you know, those pointy-headed academics who have spent their lives studying history, and have resigned since the board was overwhelmed with folks like Michelle who got their Texas history from Disney.

Oh, come on. Walt wouldn't play with the facts, would he?

So, rest assured. the story of Texas is now safely in the hands of Mouseketeers who are as responsible as Lindsay Lohan managing a Walgreens.

Next in our grab bag-o-nonsense from this week. That legal Chernobyl known as Rudy Giuliani was fined a billion-gazillion imaginary dollars for ruining the lives of a couple of women in Georgia who had the gall to try to count votes in the 2020 election. Well, good, but given Rudy's current penurious financial state, they better hold off on the Bentley for now. But here's what I want to know:

CDN media

What's with this guy's hair? Party up front, Nazi in the back? I think he saw too many episodes of Peaky Blinders, and for some reason thinks the Tommy Shelby look would work today.

Tommy Shelby-Portrayed by: Cillian Murphy

[C] :heavy_minus_sign:  :full_moon:  :heavy_minus_sign:  :full_moon:  :heavy_minus_sign:  :full_moon:  :heavy_minus_sign:  :full_moon:  :heavy_minus_sign:  :full_moon:  :heavy_minus_sign:  :full_moon:  :heavy_minus_sign: 

[BC]❖General Information❖

❥ First Name: Thomas

❥ Middle Name:
"Hey, buddy! It was a TV show!"

Moving on, while still marveling at that haircut, watching TV, listening to radio and reading stories from all sources, it occurred to me that we love the negative. It is an axiom in the news business that we don't report planes that land safely or dogs that don't bite. But in the internet age, we find that calling Trump a fascist, or Biden senile will get you noticed.

The Cassandras on talk radio and TV would have you believe the world is on fire (using that exact phrase) and you'd better stock up on freeze-dried food, gold and ammo because it's all coming to an end. I mean, they can point to some vague Biblical prophecy that proves the Biden/Beelzebub nexus, so act now and get whatever product they're pimping that has the word "patriot" in it.

Or, if you watch another channel, Donald Trump is a true Mussolini, out to establish concentration camps and declare martial law, instead of a dime store version of the new lunkhead running Argentina...

No, seriously. This guy. Really. This is the President of Argentina. Yeah, I know.

Now, I think Donald Trump is a stumblebum and nincompoop, but he is also a loudmouth braggart who has discovered that the most dire consequence of a continued Biden presidency is the one that will work best with the base. Do I think he is a real threat to democracy as we know it? I'm going to disagree with my liberal friends and say no.

If he were elected, would he kiss Putin's, uh, ring? Sure.

Would he continue spouting vaguely Hitlerian stuff like immigrants "poisoning our blood?" Sure. That kind of thing tickles that racist G-spot in the base.

Will fundamentalist pastors ignore the fact that he is a serial philanderer and heed his call for fidelity to himself? Sure.

And will invertebrate members of Congress agree with every Kafkaesque pronouncement, even though neither he or they know who Kafka was? Sure.

But, will he put troops on the street as he promised? No.

Will he order shoplifters to be shot, as he declared? No.

Will he piss away billions on a wall that people can climb and/or cut holes in? No.

Will there be some sort of civil war as liberals, conservatives and a new movie claim? No.

In short, he is as good at rousing his troops as Biden is bad at it.

The economy is doing well right now. Inflation has fallen 6% since the worst of the post-pandemic levels. The Fed signaled they will cut rates next year, gas is well under $3 in most parts of the country, and falling even more. Parenthetically, I filled up last week for $2.39 a gallon.

Unemployment has been falling since the Obama presidency, and continued under Trump until the pandemic. And it's falling again, but you'd never know it from his speeches.

Salary increases now exceed inflation, hiring is strong, the GDP is rising at 5.2% for the 3rd quarter of the year, and unemployment is at record lows. So, why can't Biden run on this? Why isn't it working for him, according to polling?

Firstly, as referenced a moment ago, he is as bad a salesman as Trump is a good one. Consider this. Trump continues to talk about $8 a gallon gas. We never had that, and certainly don't now, but no one calls him out. He says the country is in miserable shape and headed for disaster, but never explains why. And it doesn't matter. Polls show it's working. Look at the empty shelves.

The Best Grocery Stores in Houston for Families - Mommy Nearest
And in addition, Michelle Obama wanted us to eat this crap.

Part of the reason, and this only applies to inflation, is that prices haven't fallen as quickly as they rose. So it doesn't matter what the Fed says, bread, eggs and milk are more than they were before the pandemic. And no one can blame folks for doubting the word of the famous Spanish economist, Rosy Scenario.

Business woman recieving bad news on smartphone and drinking coffee from disposable paper cup in the street with office buildings in the background.
I'm confused. He says my life sucks.

Consider this. Despite the fact that he is a very good salesman, he has declared bankruptcy 6 times. And yet, he is portrayed, and it is believed, that he is an incredible businessman. One bright spot in his presidency was giving the green light to the accelerated development of a Covid vaccine. And yet, the anti-vax crowd loves him. Now, admit it, liberals, that's salesmanship.

Add to this, and it partially explains the Chicken Littles in media – we respond more to bad news than good. In a very good piece at the Website MEDIUM, they referenced this...

"A recent study by David Rozado and colleagues published in PLOS: One found that the “proportion of headlines denoting anger, fear, disgust and sadness” grew markedly in the US between 2000 and 2019.

In a study by Claire E. Robertson and colleagues published in Nature Human Behavior, the authors analyzed the causal effect of negative and emotional words on news consumption using a large online dataset of viral news stories. They found that “Although positive words were slightly more prevalent than negative words, we found that negative words in news headlines increased consumption rates (and positive words decreased consumption rates).”

There's a lot more about the psychological reasons for this, but it is a fact. We gravitate toward, and react more to bad news than good news. So, it seems sadly ironic that we as a country don't seem to have reacted to the bad news about climate as strongly as needed. But then again that collides with our desires to just not do anything when the excrement is heading toward the oscillator. It's easier just to pretend it's false to avoid any motivation to do anything difficult.

Voting for a good salesman is much easier.

Roger Gray has toiled at the journalism trade since 1970 and his first radio news job at KTRH in Houston. Over those woefully misspent years, he has worked in radio, TV and written for magazines. He was twice elected President of the Texas Automobile Writers Association and was elected to the Texas Radio Hall of Fame. He covered the first Persian Gulf War, the fall of the Berlin Wall, the reunification of Germany, Oslo Accords in Israel and peace talks in Ireland. He interviewed writers, actors, politicians and every President from Ford to George W, and none of them remember him.
Now, he is part of the Texas Outlaw Writers, and if this doesn't pan out, the outlaw part will still work as he will indeed resort to robbing banks.