Doom-mongering by activists and media bias against good news is getting worse

Doom-mongering by activists and media bias against good news is getting worse, by Matt Ridley.

Two years ago a group of Dutch researchers asked 26,492 people in 24 countries a simple question: over the past 20 years, has the proportion of the world population that lives in extreme poverty

1) Increased by 50 per cent?

2) Increased by 25 per cent?

3) Stayed the same?

4) Decreased by 25 per cent?

5) Decreased by 50 per cent?

Only 1 per cent got the answer right, which was that it had decreased by 50 per cent. The United Nations’ Millennium Development goal of halving global poverty by 2015 was met five years early. …

A random guess would do 20 times as well as a human. As the historian of science Daniel Boorstin once put it: “The greatest obstacle to discovery is not ignorance — it is the illusion of knowledge.”

Nobody likes telling you the good news. Poverty and hunger are the business Oxfam is in, but has it shouted the global poverty statistics from the rooftops? Hardly. It has switched its focus to inequality.

When The Lancet published a study in 2010 showing global maternal mortality falling, advocates for women’s health tried to pressure it into delaying publication “fearing that good news would detract from the urgency of their cause”, The New York Times reported.

The announcement by NASA in 2016 that plant life is covering more and more of the planet as a result of carbon dioxide emissions was handled like radioactivity by most environmental reporters.