Americans Must Ignore the Fear Machine

© Josh Sager –October 2014

Over the past month, the American people have been inundated with a media narrative of constant threat and fear mongering. If a person were to just uncritically listen to much of the media, they would be afraid to leave the house out of fear that an ISIS terrorist or an Ebola victim would run into them on their shopping trip, leading to their bloody demise.

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This type of fear mongering is not a recent development, but it has been unusually extreme in the past few weeks, as the issues of Ebola and ISIS are particularly gruesome and visually disturbing (beheadings and death by hemorrhagic virus).

Unfortunately, the fear machine is not random and is actually part of an extremely pernicious system of crisis profiteering that has an unintended side-effect of making the American people focus on all the wrong threats.

Profiteering from Fear

Put simply, there are moneyed interests that benefit from stirring up fear.

The corporate media gains power based upon its reach (IE. how many people are listening) and ability to draw in advertising revenue. When more people tune in, an outlet gains more prestige and resources, regardless of the programming’s validity (case in point: Fox News), thus creating a race for ratings. The incentive structure for the modern corporate media has caused them to shift away from providing accurate and revealing commentary, and towards tailoring programming to draw in a large audience.

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Because the American people (and people in general), are ignorant and unable to rationally assess what is truly dangerous, the media is able to stir up a terrifying threat that people absolutely HAVE to hear about. These fears don’t necessarily need to be based in reality, but they do need to have worrying optics (ex. people in hazmat suits or masked terrorists with weapons) that can be endlessly repeated.

When the media’s need for ratings mixes with the military industrial complex’s need to perpetuate wars, a truly deadly combination emerges. Wars are great for the media (there is always something new to cover and people are drawn to the idea of violence) as well as for the people who make the means of waging war.

military industrial complex

In order to perpetuate and increase their profits, military suppliers support politicians who tend to favor more war and foreign intervention. Once in office, these politicians propose new interventions and wars abroad. Because the media benefits from potential war and doesn’t want to lose access by fighting the Washington narrative, they are largely uncritical of these politicians and the American people are blindly led towards more conflict. As many conflict abroad breed hatred of the United Stated, even more enemies are created, thus making it easier for politicians and arms dealers to justify their wars.

In this manifestation of the military industrial complex, the military contractors get paid to produce weapons, the politicians are given their legal bribes, and the media gets a compelling story to draw in the audience—the casualties in this cycle are the truth and the lives of those lost in wars that were unnecessary. Unfortunately, we have seen this play out many times in recent years, including when Bush led us into Iraq (where the media went along with the WMD lie), and when Obama decided to go into Iraq and Syria to root out ISIS (on no discernable legal grounds).

Fear Mongering Conceals the Real Threats

While ISIS and Ebola are very real, they are comparably minor threats in the grand scheme of things. They are being focused upon not because they are objectively the largest risks to the American people, but because they are the easiest threats for the fear machine to use.

In many cases, the truly deadly threats are chronic and don’t readily inspire a sense of urgency in the American people. For example:

  • The extreme weather, droughts, floods and food/water shortages caused by global climate change are estimated to 300,000 people every year, according to recent studies, while Ebola has killed less than 6,000 people worldwide since it was first diagnosed in 1976 (in the same amount of time, GCC would have killed approximately 11.4 million people).

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  • ISIS has killed several American journalists and made numerous threats against the American people, but has yet to inflict any substantial casualties on American soil. Conversely, Americans with guns murder nearly 10,000 of their fellows every year, without any pattern, organization, or coordination.

While we focus on addressing the issues that the media thinks will draw in ratings, the problems that are inflicting real damage are left to the margins. Because they are harder to cover, less immediate, less visually impressive, or more likely to draw the ire of those in power, these issues are ignored by the mainstream in favor of the low-hanging fruit.

In the long run, this prioritization has very real consequences on the American people—we don’t know where the real threats are lurking, and, in many cases, delayed action will result in even larger problems down the road (ex. while the media ignores climate change or treats it as a controversy, the damage to our environment grows and the solutions become less effective).

5 thoughts on “Americans Must Ignore the Fear Machine

  1. Since the Ebola outbreak began in April, over 4,000 people have died and twice that are currently infected. I would consider that “truly dangerous”.

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/jvchamary/2014/10/13/ebola-trends/

    Ebola has an incubation period of 2 to 21 days and the early symptoms are similar to the common cold. Death usually occurs within 10 days with a mortality rate of at least 50%. That sure sounds “truly dangerous” to me.

    All it took was 19 al-Qaeda members to hijack 4 airliners and murder 2,996 people in a period of less than 3 hours on September 11th. Now we have ISIS desperately trying to make a name for itself. I would consider any organization that beheads journalists ,or just anyone they want to, to be “truly dangerous”.

    I don’t believe I have any need to post any videos or links to articles to defend the Second Amendment here. Comparing firearms related fatalities in America to Ebola deaths or ISIS is just apples and oranges.

    You failed to mention that there are those who profit from the hoax of global climate change.

    http://www.commieblaster.com/climategate/

    Fluctuations in temperature and extreme storms are just a parts of a natural cycle in the life of the planet. The idea that the world’s climate was in perfect harmony until the 20th Century is absolutely ridiculous.

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    • Ebola has a highly variable mortality rate dependung upon the level of care. In a developing nation, where most of the infected are simply isolated and left to decline, the mortality is around 75% while, in a developed nation, where care can be given quickly, it is actually a very manageable disease. In many ways, it is like rabies (but that has a 100% mortality rate if untreated), in that it is very dangerous in some areas (it kills 30-50 thousand people every year in Africa and Asia) but controllable in others.

      While you live in fear of ISIS, thousands die every year due to gun murder. Beyond that, it is you who supports the NRA, which is currently blocking background checks and bans on suspected terrorists from buying powerful weapons on our soil.

      It really doesn’t surprise me that you are a climate change denier, as you have shown yourself to have very little understanding of reality, preferring to live in a right wing ideological bubble. 97% of scientists and 99.7% of published journal articles agree that climate change is real and your assertion that there is some grand conspiracy, across all nations, and transcending all language barriers and geopolitical lines, is simply deluded. If you are actually interested on learning the truth, I have written a “climate change for dummies” article that you can find here: https://theprogressivecynic.com/2012/12/05/an-introduction-to-global-climate-change/

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  2. No need. I already have a link to The Global Warming Hoax Explained For Dummies. It is actually as entertaining as it is enlightening.

    There are PLENTY more videos where this one came from.

    I wouldn’t say that I live in fear of ISIS or any other extremist terrorist groups since I am fortunate enough to have been born in the greatest and mightiest country ever to exist. However, groups such as these must be taken seriously and every effort must be made to prevent them from establishing themselves on American soil. This is one reason why our founding fathers blessed us with the Second Amendment. Even though their numbers and support continue to dwindle, I believe that it is the left wing, liberal menace that all decent Americans should fear above all other enemies. Attacks by ANY extremist group must be thwarted BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY even if it includes inconveniencing a few travelers at an airport, keeping suspected terrorists or their associates and or sympathizers under surveillance or spending a few extra tax dollars to provide military style vehicles or weapons to our police. The fact is that a terrorist threat can come from either a foreign or domestic source and it is the “right wing ideological bubble” that has kept you and the people you care about alive.

    Even though Ebola is controllable, it can still be fatal. If you are so sure that Ebola is not a threat, then you certainly have my blessing to travel to West Africa and volunteer with the World Health Organization. Here is link that can help you get started. Good luck and remember to wash your hands.

    http://www.crossculturalsolutions.org/sem/volunteer-in-africa?siteID=Google_organizations%20for%20africa&_bt=51957637626&_bk=organizations%20for%20africa&_bm=b&gclid=CKGV8JOsrcECFQGqaQodbz4AcA

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