2022 may already be off to a rough start based on some cynical predictions from the mainstream media.
Over the past few days, some opinion pieces have offered pessimistic takes for the new year on everything from democracy to climate to the third year of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Los Angeles Times kicked off the first day of 2022 with an op-ed titled “Is the end nigh? Maybe, but we’ve survived so far.” Despite offering “true signs of light in the gloom,” writer Virginia Heffernan maintained that none of the gains made in 2021 mean “the end of the world is not nigh.”
A picture taken on December 31, 2021 shows fireworks erupting in front of Ain Dubai. (Photo by GIUSEPPE CACACE/AFP via Getty Images)
“Nothing keeps sleep at bay these days like huffing up a few articles about democracy’s doomsday,” Herrernan wrote.
The New York Times doubled down on the fear of democracy’s end in 2022 with an editorial lamenting, “Every Day is Jan. 6 Now,” referencing the Capitol riot last year.
“In short, the Republic faces an existential threat from a movement that is openly contemptuous of democracy and has shown that it is willing to use violence to achieve its ends. No self-governing society can survive such a threat by denying that it exists,” the board wrote.
The Guardian also had a less-than-optimistic view of the new year, referring to 2022 as “another year of living dangerously.”
“There is the risk of new inter-state conflicts, exacerbated by the breakdown of the rules-based international order, and the spread of lethal autonomous weapons. All in all, for most people on Earth – and a handful in space – 2022 will be another year of living dangerously,” Simon Tisdall wrote.
Pedestrians wearing facemasks walk past a sign posting Covid-19 requirements in front of a store in Hollywood, California on November 2, 2021. (Photo by Frederic J. BROWN / AFP) (Photo by FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images) (FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images)
While some promoted the end of democracy as a concern for 2022, others focused more on the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic as a reason to fear the new year.
Vox described the upcoming months as part of COVID-19’s “junior year” marked by “fear and confusion” from an early prediction on Monday,
Contributor Eleanor Cummins wrote, “Welcome to the pandemic’s ‘junior year,’ to adopt the darkly comic term that went viral on Twitter this fall. It looks like 2022 is destined to be the third year in a row that’s marked by fear and confusion, positive tests and near misses — and a resounding feeling of failure.”
MSNBC also offered a list of tips for people entering the new year “with high levels of stress and anxiety.”
“On the surface, the source of this anxiety is clear: we’re facing another round of news headlines warning of new Covid-19 strains like Omicron, we’re struggling with ambiguous timelines around returning to the workplace, and many of us feel like we have no ability to plan for the future anymore. And our symptoms – brain fog, exhaustion, lack of sleep and overall burnout – seem pretty clear too,” the op-ed read.
FILE – In this July 27, 2018, file photo, the Dave Johnson coal-fired power plant is silhouetted against the morning sun in Glenrock, Wyo. More than 300 businesses and investors are calling on the Biden administration to set an ambitious climate change goal that would cut U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50% below 2005 levels by 2030. (AP Photo/J. David Ake, File) (AP)
Others pointed to climate change as a continuing worry for 2022. Forbes listed ways that the climate change crisis “which continues to worsen” is expected to have consequences for business in the future. The Hill also warned that despite steps forward made in 2021, there’s still a path to “lose control of the climate system and put civilization at risk.”