I've covered the situation with stories before - people think in stories. We all do.
But what keeps us rolling is the drama in it - how well the story is told, and how it touches us (how we relate to it emotionally.)
Seth's Blog: The Media markets:
"The Media markets -The product they sell is drama."
"Most of us are inclined to believe that government officials, doctors and the media are making an effort to tell us the truth. Actually, just like all marketers, they tell us a story."
Needs more study. I'd start with Collier, Yanik Silver, Joe Vitale (the latter two having studied the former extensively, but provide modern examples) - but also get the classic works on how to tell stories. There are several in the public domain, and (as I can make the time) I'll work these up and provide them - probably as an online course.