Ramblings & ephemera

Media-induced fear & its effects

From John Twelve Hawks’s “ How We Live Now” (2005):

In his insightful book “The Culture of Fear,” Barry Glassner shows how many of our specific fears are created and sustained by media manipulation. There can be an enormous discrepancy between what we fear and the reality of what could happen to us. Glassner analyzes several “threats” such as airplane disasters, youth homicide, and road rage, and proves that the chance of any of these dangers harming an individual is virtually nonexistent.

Although Glassner accurately describes the falseness of a variety of threats, he refrains from embracing any wide-reaching explanation. It can be argued that the constant message of impending destruction is simply a way for the media to keep us watching television – “Are cyber predators targeting your children?” is a tagline that is going to get the audience’s attention. What interests me is not the reality of these threats, but the effect they have on our view of the world. Fear encourages intolerance, racism and xenophobia. Fear creates the need for a constant series of symbolic actions manufactured by the authorities to show that – yes, they are protecting us from all possible dangers.

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