Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Culture of fear
Culture of fear is the term used by some sociologists, anthropologists, media critics and intellectuals in general to refer to a culture in which the feelings of fear and anxiety are carefully and repeatedly created and fed by the mass media - through the manipulation of words, facts, news, sources or data - allegedly in order to induce certain personal behaviors, justify governmental actions or policies (at home or abroad), keep people consumming, elect demagogic politicians, and/or deviate the publicīs attention from social issues like poverty, social security, unemployment, gun control or pollution.
According to some authors like linguist Noam Chomsky, sociologist Barry Glassner or writer-filmmaker Michael Moore, these manipulations would be carried out through the following techniques, among others :
- the careful selection and omission of news (some relevant facts are shown and some are not);
- the distortion of statistics or numbers;
- the transformation of single events into social epidemics;
- the deliberate corruption and distortion of words or terminology according to specific goals;
- the "election" of disqualified people as experts or "renowned" specialists;
- the stigmatization of minorities, especially when associated with criminal acts or degrading behaviors;
- the generalization of complex and multifaceted situations;
- the causal inversion (turning a cause into an effect or vice-versa).
- recreational drug use (the War on Drugs)
- Occupied Territories
- Paganism & Witchcraft
- asylum seekers
- weapons of mass destruction
- shark attacks
- africanized bee
- Health scares
- Bowling for Columbine (2002), directed by Michael Moore. A documentary showing how deep the culture of fear has strangled America with respect to the widespread use of guns and its comparison with the situation in other countries.
- Outfoxed - Rupert Murdoch's war on journalism (2004), directed by Robert Greenwald. A documentary detailing the right-wing channel Fox News manipulation techniques.
- The culture of fear, by Barry Glassner - Introduction - "Why Americans are afraid of the wrong things"
- The culture of fear by Noam Chomsky
- Beyond a culture of fear, by K. Lauren de Boer - article published in the EarthLight magazine, #47, fall/winter 2002/2003
- A legal culture of fear - Common Good : safeguarding Americans from a legal culture of fear. Philip K. Howard`s testimony before the U.S. House Judiciary Committee, June 22, 2004
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