I think most educated people, on some level, realize that the world is not nearly as bad as the version reported by modern media. What's probably far less understood is why. A recent study explains bad news bias from a behavioral finance perspective:

Bad news. . . provides information on how to avoid a negative event or loss to one's well-being. Reading bad news helps consumers avoid making bad choices.

"Food scares are a good illustration as they are widely covered by the media," McCluskey said. To protect their health, "people choose to avoid the suspected food -- such as beef during the Mad Cow scare, or spinach with the E.coli outbreaks."

Over time, McCluskey said the model clearly showed individuals gain a greater advantage from reading bad news than good news. These consumers, either consciously or subconsciously, then continue to choose newspapers with more negative reporting. In response, news outlets take advantage of that risk aversion to maximize their profits.

Bad news bias existed long before the Internet, but I think the Internet makes it easier than ever to exploit human psychological weaknesses, which were actually strengths eons before the pseudo-Information Age. I think the current trajectory of news consumption suggests that the Internet is adapting to us faster than we are adapting to it. In 2015, we are ancient survivalists poorly adapted to this very new and strange land.