Chicago Board Options Exchange Volatility Index (VIX) futures have become an increasingly important hedging instrument and aid to portfolio diversification. The authors study changes in the futures basis, which can be interpreted as changes in expectations of future VIX ("fear") levels. The authors find that higher levels of VIX are associated with a narrowing of the futures basis, suggesting that investors view fear as temporary, and a flatter forward curve. News sentiment offers one plausible explanation for changes in the basis. A wider (narrower) basis accompanies the more positive (negative) news associated with a falling (rising) VIX index. The identified relationships are most pronounced for extreme changes in the VIX futures basis and appear to be concentrated in recession.