The media profits from your pain.

If you don’t like another group of people, there are media properties that will feed you continuous reinforcement. They will serve up a daily helping of news stories that illustrate why these people are bad, and why your anger and resentment are justified. You are right, you are clever — just keep clicking our stuff (and don’t forget to subscribe!).

If you’re paranoid that the world is on the brink of collapse, there are media properties that will nurture this fantasy with ominous, doomsday predictions.

If you like complaining, the media will give you reasons to complain.

The media does this because it’s a business. Businesses make money by meeting a demand. Consumers demand content that makes them feel good.

Few things make you feel better than when an independent third party appears to agree with you. Validate your pain. Tell you that it’s not you, it’s the bad people out there who are making everything shitty.

The internet, and smartphones, have accelerated media delivery. Competition is much more vicious than it was 20 years ago. Consumers aren’t limited to their local paper and TV channels. They have millions of media properties to choose from.

So, naturally, the media is more incentivized than it’s ever been to capture your attention by telling you what you want to hear.

This feels good in the moment — and when done compulsively — but it doesn’t help you develop a healthier, more compassionate, more effective mindset.

So, as you consume your media properties of choice — ask: what’s the incentive here? Why are they writing about this topic in this way?

Recognize that you’re being serviced by a business hungry for your attention, not an independent utility.

Make your choices accordingly.