Shaving the Violence
The constant and growing Niagara of blood-drenched, corruption-basted, disaster-driven media oozing out of our newspapers, TV's and projectile vomiting from streaming video feeds actually may be a profound source of human improvement.
All this complete and completely evil coverage seems as though it simply must be terrible for the human condition - what with all the sturm, drang, angst, shadenfreud and sheer unbelievable badness of it all. Certainly something must be done to reverse irrational hypertabloidization before it kills us all from stress. Hmmm - if that were done, it might actually cost serious numbers of lives...
As you look at the media and the focus on the horror, over time you can see that these stories in aggregate assert a statistical process control pressure. The result of this pressure is fewer deaths, less mayhem and less severe consequences. Why? How? The greater the number, type and competitiveness of media outlets, the greater the media's need to compete - which is mostly accomplished by amplifying the nasty news to sustain readership, viewership, subscribers to produce profits. The continually growing hyperconcentrated and highly distilled violent news cocktail produces ever stronger reactions of revulsion and horror by the viewing public - thereby inciting in many viewers the real will and effort to prevent the evil portrayed. Once a "horror" has been "mined" for its ratings effects, the media moves on to the next most juicy morsel to titillate the public's appetite for outrage. As the media "wand" gets waved over an ill, some dedicated individuals, institutions or nations will act to right, prevent or ameliorate the wrong such that slowly, very imperfectly - yet inexorably - the greatest ills begin to get shaved down and down again so that over the decades the ill is reduced in magnitude very significantly.
So herewith, a conjectural, Speculist style formula to describe the "evil shaving" effect of horror amped media...
(less violence-1)*more media outlets*(faster outlets+technology)=
more power law driven news increase about less violence than the last time =
greater and greater effort to reduce the violence and increase rule of law and tech fixes...resulting in a virtuous positive feedback loop resulting in less violence, more peace, greater health and longer, safer life.
The only problem is that the effect prevents people from enjoying the improvements. In fact, if you follow the formula to the nth degree, it predicts that on the day of the last murder in history, there will be so much horrific coverage that the entire viewing population might commit suicide.