Of course the protagonists in the news stories, the real life participants in our "entertainment" parallel do in fact, suffer and die. We recognize that as true at some level of cognition; but could we watch it, night after night if we experienced it as true in our bodies? How could we stand it?
I suggest, that functionally, it remains confined in our brains, and takes its place with all the other dramas that we witness. We "know" there is a "difference"; but that difference has no experiential significance.
Certainly the daily drama of family distress, of losing a job, or a friend has more power to bring us to tears than the news of yet another life destroying attack in some distant part of the world. Does that make sense? Of course it does, at one level; and at another level I know the notion I am proposing is literally, mind boggling.
The news itself, out of respect for the unpaid "actors" in the story, restrains itself from dwelling on the tears and wrenching, twisted anguish of the stricken friends and parents of the children lost to an invasion, or a hurricane. And if it did not, all that would happen is a further dulling of our emotional engagement with the truth the news is telling us.
I am not condemning either the news, or the way it is presented. Nor am I condemning us as "unfeeling" zombies. Not only do I not believe either of those histrionic positions, but neither of them is the point of this exploration, which I intend to continue piece by piece until the puzzle takes its shape.