Reframing Our World: Examining the Crisis of Crises
Keywords:Crisis Rhetoric, Economy of Attention, Heuristics and Biases
A perceived crisis demands immediate attention. Increasingly, this response is being exploited by news media to secure an audience. However, the instrumentalisation of crisis rhetoric is not merely a benign symptom of a competitive media landscape–it is also a cause of significant, problematic outcomes. Specifically, the fight or flight response activated by crisis rhetoric hijacks cognition, precluding detached rational appraisal of the relevant data. I call this the ‘crisis of crises’: the overuse of crisis rhetoric undermines our ability to effectively engage with actual crises, leading us to either ignore or mis-frame many serious issues. Using the system 1/system 2 model of cognition as a framework this paper will examine the ‘crisis of crises’, its origins, outcomes and potential remedies.
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