Obviously; when we were toothless hairless clawless bipeds roaming the savanna, and we glimpsed something suspicious, it was a far better strategy to just run. Hanging about to find out if the neighbors had a snazzy new rug, or if it really was a bloomin great lion had at least a 50% chance of turning us into lunch.
Yup, so any headline, image or concept which can inspire fear, has our immediate and full attention. Ask the all journalists, marketers and Facebookers who've been using this for years - buy NOW or be ugly, the country is heading down the toilet, big business is killing you - works every time. But think about it, fear results in only four possible responses:
-Or procreate really fast to make sure your genes survive
Fear actually cuts off the rational brain, it's known as an amygdala hijack.
So using bad news as your lead doesn't promote connection, conversation, creativity - in fact anxiety is inversely correlated to all three.
I think that the bad news mongers use it as a cheap trick because they actually have nothing interesting to say, but I'm getting old and curmudgeonly, so I'll stop right there.