Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The Mass Media: The Ministy of FEAR

There's a huge propensity for the mass media to spread fear and to exaggerate dangers.

I read this book:
The Culture of Fear: Why Americans Are Afraid of the Wrong Things Here's a quote from an Amazon review:
Americans are afraid of many things that shouldn't frighten them, writes Barry Glassner in this book devoted to exploding conventional wisdom. .. he certainly shows we have much less to fear than we think.
.. Glassner (Derailing Democracy) deconstructs .. beliefs about the threats of the modern world and aims to expose the media's role in keeping citizens fearful. Frightened citizens, he posits, make better consumers and more easily swayed voters. In a methodical fashion, he raises a series of public safety threats—the prevalence of road rage, middle-class heroin addiction and husband abuse, to name just a few—and then systematically tries to strike them down with statistics.
Among the things that Glassner skewers is the media's portrayal of teen moms & young black men as destroyers of American society, road rage, plane crashes,... The basic premises that Glassner covers are these:

1) Mass media creates panics & hysterias from a few isolated incidents. 2) Anecdotal evidence takes the place of hard scientific proof. 3) The experts that the media trots out to make comments really don't have the credentials to be considered an expert. 4) Entire categories of people are christened as "innately dangerous" (like the aforementioned teen moms and young black men)

There's that thing again about making citizens into "better consumers". It came out in a link in my blog part 2 of Dumbed Down by the Educational System ; from the Underground History of American Education website, and here's the quote:
The secret of commerce, that kids drive purchases, meant that schools had to become psychological laboratories where training in consumerism was the central pursuit.

What's the purpose of fear, and how does it sway voters? It's the classic trick of the propagandists. Instill fear in the public, and you can convince them to do anything. Here's an illuminating 1 minute video:

What's the difference between the old
Soviet news agencies and the American Mass Media? The Russians knew it was propaganda.

1 comment:

Matt said...

"The Russians knew it was propaganda."

Imagine how many fat people would get their guns if they had any clue what fine grade wool is constantly pulled over their eyes.