In the almost hysterical voice of a “respected newscaster,” the “lead” on last-night’s TV network newscast was: “60 million Americans are threatened by severe weather.” We are subjected to that type of fear-mongering message almost daily, year-round. The way it is said is obviously meant to instill fear and fear creates a repeat audience, who come back to hear “how things are going.” While the facts stated may be true, the whole truth is that rainstorms move from the mid-west to the north-east many times a year, and always have, and always will. Rainstorms, with (OMG!) thunder and lightning, are nothing new, so why does every one of them become headline news, instead of being just a part of the weather forecast? Because, FEAR SELLS!
Our President “tweets” almost daily about immigrants being “rapists” and “criminals.” That’s a message obviously meant to instill fear in the electorate. While his concerns about bad people entering our country for nefarious purposes are justified, his implication that all immigrants are criminals is patently false. That there are fewer violent crimes (on a percentage basis) committed by “illegal aliens” than by the general population is a firmly established statistical fact. Then, why this emphasis? Perhaps to energize his “base” which largely consists of people who believe “real” Americans must be White, Anglo-Saxon, and Protestant and so not the darker shades or diverse religions of many of today’s immigrants. Yes, FEAR SELLS!
Every day, we are inundated with fear-mongering advertisements, whether on-line, on TV, in magazines, or elsewhere. For instance, we see: “Award winning Doc: Toss this veggie now.” (BTW the veggie that’s “killing us” is corn.) Or vastly enlarged images of dust mites jump out at us to urge replacement of bedding. Or … whatever. All too often the ads we view focus on instilling fear. The only rationale for this pervasive fear-mongering is that the marketers believe that FEAR SELLS!
These are only examples from the “top-of-the-iceberg.” In our 21st century American society, we are constantly exposed to fear-mongering from virtually every direction. To counter it, let’s calmly sit back and rethink the wise counsel of that beloved President of my youth, Franklin Delano Roosevelt: “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” For, as FDR believed. fear immobilizes us. It inhibits our ability to take the necessary actions which ensure good, productive and fulfilling lives.
So, how do we stop those who are intent on building their empires by instilling fear? We, the American people, can reject the fear-mongers by modifying our viewing and listening habits, by electing officials with a positive focus, and by refusing to do business with those who try to sell their wares by instilling fear. Yes, among our great American freedoms is the power to reject these fear-mongers.