Why does the news media sensationalize and exaggerate so much?

United States
@Awinds (2487)
July 30, 2011 10:28pm CST
A few years back there was an earthquake in China. It wasn't a super, major one but it did do a lot of damage. My local newspaper reported the death toll to be 150 something people. However, a neighbor of mine has a son who was working as a charity volunteer over there at the time. He had talked (with a translator of course) to the locals and they said only 52 people had died. That's just one example of what I believe are many. It sees that the news media likes to exaggerate and sensationalize a lot. It seems to me at times that it is almost their goal to spark panic in the masses via bending or adding onto the truth. They also have a knack for skipping over positive happenings. You will hear about how gas prices are getting higher and higher, but you will not hear about how more and more car manufacturers are designing and planning on releasing electric cars with ever growing ranges. You will of course hear about how this animal species went extinct, but you will not hear about how this other animal species made an unexpected comeback due to successful conservation acts. You will hear about the latest earthquake, but you will not hear about how the many lives after were saved by emergency charities. If one only got their information from the latest news, they would conclude that world is a living hell with no hope. This of course is not the case, but since the media only presents one side, one might conclude such. What do you think? Do news networks go out of their way to make the latest news more deceptively juicy? Do they purposely skip the good things because "bad news sells"? If you say yes, they do you think this kind of behavior is acceptable? If you say no, then what do you think of the news media?