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Do believe we live in a culture that promotes fear?

Have you ever thought about why the NEWS always reports disasters, accidents, and anything promoting fear? I've noticed when there isn't any mayhem; my local media always seems to seek it out from far and wide. Why do they think I would be interested in a car accident in another state? It may well be a deliberate act. A recent study indicates fear produces an environment favoring conservatism. []

jeffy 7 Mar 10

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If it bleeds it leads. Nobody cares about the thousands of planes that land safely every day.


For myself and my late partner we listened to how miserable other people were. It helped give us an understanding of how well off we were plus helped direct us to actions we could take to aleviate the suffereing.

One big example is my involvement, letter writing, speaking to people and on, concerning the Death With Dignity programs/movement. We need to focus on how our society fosters suffering for various reasons as money, or not being able to let go or whatever. Sometimes negative things can bring positive actions and right now one big positive thing is a move away from promoting an insane gun policy in this country!

Thank you for your work towards Death with Dignity; I have a friend with stage 4 colon cancer and borderline stage 5 kidney cancer and associated heart issues but he lives in a state that keeps him alive when he would prefer not to be and is not afraid to die.

@ThinkKate I just signed on to a site Death with Dignity. Hawaii just became the 6th state to allow the program. There is another organization called "Final Exit" which extends the idea of personal choices in death.

Did you see my letter and the accompanying NPR link? []

@JackPedigo Thank you - very interesting!


When a drone flies so high it cannot be seen or heard, and releases a bomb that kills. then nearby children fear a blue sky. The arms manufacturers promote fear, so they can sell more arms, including fully automatic assault weapons to children and adults. Yes, the news carries stories that scare people, including terrorist attacks, murders and mayhem.


Fear is just another form of control. If everyone is scares of something they tend to fall in line


Yes, we incarcerate the poor, place everyone in debt, cut their wages, look down on immigrants, and even the same citizens as well. Also, there exists negative views on atheism. Little unity, lots of division and that creates fear in my mind.


I think that the disasters and horrifying things we see on the news is a product of certain countries like the US that promote fear in their citizens. If you keep your citizens poor and afraid, then they are much less likely to strike, protest or vote. That is a very good thing for some politicians, especially ones who are funded by the NRA. Lots more guns are sold. Most people who do not vote are the poor. That's sad. They are the ones who need their voices heard the most.


Profits influencing what we hear and see in the media.


Absolutely. Humans' innate negativity bias is highly manipulatable and profitable.

"Why We Love Bad News: Understanding Negativity Bias"

I can't read the WaPo link because I don't have a subscription but did get a quick glimpse of the title. I posted this study in a recent post "Does being agnostic and atheist make us less fearful?" so I'm familiar with the research.

Yes, I do think it's deliberate because there's no money in positive news and billions (trillions?) in the Military Industrial Complex. With little integrity in the political sphere, why wouldn't they create an atmosphere that artificially keeps its citizens' on high alert? When this happens, the signals go straight to the amygdala (twice as fast) and don't make it to the part of the brain associated with critical assessment. It's a win/win for those pulling the strings.

I also find it disturbing the degree of leading that goes on these days. I haven't quantified how much opinion is injected into the NEWS these days, but my impression is there is more directive opinion dispensed that actual fact - especially on FOX, but most media is guilty of trying to tell people what to think about things rather than just reporting the facts. And the leading is usually pointed at some aspect that is worrisome. Thank you for your prior post on the subject Victoria, very interesting!


I don't believe in some nefarious scheme on behalf of the media. They are a business as much as a service and they're appealing to a common interest among humans - insecurities. We are a very insecure species. Perhaps because of our relative helplessness at birth. And this is expressed in the keen cognizance and fear we exhibit when it comes to things that are different. We aren't just inherently fearful of things that are different - we are downright terrified of them. Until we establish some basis of security we are a quivering, crying mess. The few sensations we have encountered to date (as newborns) form the initial security we can find thru repetitiveness. We desire to be warm, snug, and listening to a heartbeat. The things we feel in the womb that are countered by swadling and heat and soothing/holding of another. This is why that bonding with your mother is so important. You persist through your entire life building upon the foundation of security you reaceived there - whether it was a good one or a bad one. It affects you dramatically.

Of course some do confuse this by taking advantage of the insecurity to do their evil bidding. Others, however, just appeal to it. If it wasn't there to start that itself could be considered bad. But it's preexisting. So they'd hafta take it a bad direction to start drawing such criticism.

Did you ever consider what the point of keeping everyone scared all the time is? This type of run up always seems to precede the establishment of totalitarian states. Hitler used the Jews as a threat to increase state security I recall reading. It seems that conservatives have a long term agenda. I'm not sure that agenda is concerned with personal freedoms. It hasn't been that long ago people were being forced to work 60+ hours a week for slave wages and retired people could look forward to extreme poverty. If the oligarch's plan is to take away all the social safety nets, they will need extensive state security to protect their interests as in the days before unions, when police actually shot protestors for corporations. It has happened before and there is no reason it can't happen again. So I believe in two things, end Citizens United and restore the Fairness Doctrine.

@jeffy People are working 60+ hours a week now, and holding down second jobs, and still can't make ends meet. Many younger people don't expect to ever be able to retire without a lottery win. Meanwhile, social security is being gradually whittled away and certainly here in the UK property prices are so high that unless you're earning comfortably over the national average you're never going to be able to buy a home in much of the country - so all those who don't and are toiling away in supermarkets and fast food restaurants are little more than serfs with no option but to work hard for a pittance or lose everything.

Are they marching on London to demand a fairer deal? No. Food is cheap, and there's always something on TV to take your mind off things - plus the newspapers say it's all the fault of the lazy scumbags on welfare benefits and the immigrants, not the tax-dodging rich, and if it's in the newspaper it *must be true, so they keep voting the Conservatives back into power because the papers also say they're the only party that protects people who work hard. Life is more bearable if you don't think.

@Jnei What about Brexit? Is it fair to call that a march on London? In your opinion, was that influenced by the media and conservative politics? At first look, I would say GB is less polarized than the USA, but I think the song remains the same there as well. The voice of the rich is always disproportionate.

@jeffy IMO, Brexit was mostly influenced by media with the majority of the newspapers (including all the popular, right wing, titles) being in favour of leaving. A surprisingly high number of Brits didn't really know what the EU actually is and thought of it as some shadowy organisation that gave foreigners (especially the French and the Germans) the means to tell Britain what to do, and something to do with bananas (based on a fake story in the - right wing - Daily Mail newspaper some years ago stating that only perfectly straight bananas could be bought and sold under new EU regulations). Rather than a march on London, I'd call it another case of people accepting what they're told by the media and a few of their political lackeys without thinking about it.

@Jnei It seems a combined effort here in the States to manipulate everyone with fear of something to get them to do the wrong thing to keep money pumping to the top. Appears to me the same script is followed in GB to some degree.

@jeffy It's endemic throughout the western world - that's how capitalism works.

@Jnei Capitalism is rotten, government is corrupt. I agree with Piketty's 'Capital in the Twenty-First Century' - "The gist of Piketty's book is simple. Returns to capital are rising faster than economies are growing. The wealthy are getting wealthier while everybody else is struggling. Inequality will widen to the point where it becomes unsustainable – both politically and economically – unless action is taken to redistribute income and wealth. Piketty favors a graduated wealth tax and 80% income tax for those on the highest salaries." An ancillary to this I the Breitbart response in an article titled " Defends Communism -- Mass Murders and All" Solon is were Picketty published some of his book. Case in point about conservative fear mongering.

@jeffy I haven't read Piketty, but these are most certainly concepts with which I agree.


Yes, we live in a culture that promotes fear and negativity because a normal life is just not that exciting for a society that thrives on drama.

Well, people like horror movies and they love the apocalypse - e.g., The Walking Dead. Good point. People are sheeple, maybe they secretly want to be the wolves. Hard to say.


Of course, this being the reason nations tend to swing to the right when the population are afraid. Examples: Bush and Trump in the US, Putin in Russia, the current right wing government in Israel, the Conservative Party in the UK and the rise of the far right in Europe.

A very large percentage of the world's media is controlled by right wing figures, usually in cahoots with politicians who share their views (and, in many cases, like getting donations) - the classic example of that being Rupert Murdoch.

Jnei Level 8 Mar 11, 2018

While I can to a degree see a point with your opening, I strongly disagree with much of the rest. In the US there is a often a major debate within the establishment party supporters of who the media serves. I would argue that it serves only division of those supporters. MSNBC almost always leans left. And obviously on course to create hatred towards Trump. Fox obviously has almost always leaned right. Obviously on Trumps side. But the other MSM's are a mix this cycle with working against the right for the most part. Who usually go after the left. But even so, MSNBC and NPR are quite involved with spreading the same agenda as the establishment as a whole. When it comes to Iran, Venezuela, N. Korea and falsities of Iraq and Afghanistan, they're toe to toe with the right. So I would argue our establishment media is on course as usual to fulfill the agenda as always. As far as Israel, well they've been Israel for decades. No change there. Murdering innocent people for decades since the early 1900''s. With our help I might add. Putin, same problems Russia has had since the revolution. Combating the westernized world for a piece of placement ever since. Putin is just the Russian mirror image of the Clinton family. I can't really speak a lot on your issues in the UK. I've been under the assumption you're struggling to keep from becoming like us over here. If our forefathers were still alive, they'd probably move back! And taking the brunt of the middle east quagmire hasn't help any I'm sure! At least people in your country want to hold someone, Blair, responsible. While ours have grown to accept and stand silent as our government wishes to widen the chaos.


Fear does create an environment that the gop has more than taken advantage of. 😟


When I was a kid in the 60s in Oz, a shooting in New York would be reported in our evening news. At one point a shooting in Sydney would not make front page in other states.
Most news I see now is Isis, North Korea, South China Sea, pandemics and Donald Trump.
All the pending disasters I guess.Nothing that afectes me or that I can do anything about.


I agree totally that the political and religious right thrives on fear and actively promotes fear as a vehicle to drive people into belief in a deceptive and manipulative ideology.


All Fox News does is promote fear. They also lie a lot, but that is to help promote the fear. If they were forced to only report real news, they’d be sitting around twiddling their thumbs.


Definitely! Local and cable news like to repeat, for hours and days on end, the most horrible, frightening stories. I've heard it is good for their ratings. So, if people really want that type of news reporting to change, they should just stop listening or watching media that promotes that type of reporting. Maybe, falling ratings would do something to change their news reporting styles.


It seems that everyone is blaming the media - I'm not a fan, but what would you have them do? They are doing their jobs by being manipulated by the "powers that be": Big Business, Government (pick a side),senators, congressmen, lobbyists, etc, etc, etc... Even opposing media outlets and producers seem to build up and profit from a conglomeration of fears.

We have fear of losing health care, fear of losing jobs, fear of losing social security, fear of losing our country's natural resources, fear of losing citizenship status, fear of losing our homes or our money, fear of losing our children or our parents - and many of these have already happened. And we have the fear of losing our reputation on the world stage, not to mention war coming to our shores. How many more do you think they could fit in?

I used to enjoy NPR for rational, even handed reporting and thoughtful subjects more than I do now. I hear more one sided conservative commentary now the Republicans are threatening more cuts to their budget. The one thing I would do is ask for the Fairness Doctrine to be renewed. .Things really went downhill fast after that was ended by Reagan. The explosion of 24 hour news is a bad thing to IMO. Too much competition for lead stories without depth. I grew up with Walter Cronkite. I want to get back to responsible journalism again, not the for profit biased infotainment we are burdened with now.

@jeffy Well said! I agree for sure, but I think that like so many of my contemporaries, the majority of the middle class people I know are thinking more about their own budgets and less about "fairness" in reporting, not realizing the impact of truth on reality.


I believe we live in a culture that promotes ignorance. Ignorance leads to fear.


So does religion. People are turned on by gross things like crucifixtion! It makes for a nice news program don't you think?


Fearful people are more compliant.

JimG Level 8 Mar 10, 2018

Absolutely. Even in the most benign of governments you have the "big brother" message of "we provide for you, we protect'd be helpless without us."

I've seen the US move from the relatively benign social democracy of the 60s ("relatively", because we were in Vietnam "protecting ourselves" from commies and brown people, etc, etc) to the oligarchic police state we live in today.

And, as our media promotes the "trivial" fears of local to world politics we are blinded to those things for which we should be concerned as these leaders rob us, cater to special interests who poison us and our planet, war profiteers, etc, etc


My earlier comment was off the cuff without actually reading the link or even giving the post much thought.

My childhood was tumultous and at times unsafe but I did have periods of safety with my grandmother. I used to be very conservative when I was a young mother. It was a violent act commited against my brother that made me more refectful which in turn started me down the liberal path.

Most of my family is still conservative to varying degrees.
I'm likely gonna spend all day pondering this at work


War hate division and it's acceptance. I have to wonder how they picked the subjects of the experiment. Was there any sense of leading going into the experiment. While I can see how people may show different characteristics under intense upbringing, I have questions when someone tells me there's a difference in human nature that can be shown by party affiliation. And the Washington Post gives me grave pause to the nature and possible agenda. Seriously, lets take a look at the articles opening. "At Yale, we conducted an experiment to turn conservatives into liberals". No agenda there, right? While I'll also admit one's nature can be also diminished by intense up bringing or life events, as a whole, we all closely share the same reaction and thoughts to events as such mentioned. I'm highly leaning towards this being a means of division and attempting to produce a perception one group of people are better than another.

I think the agenda was knowledge. The article discussed how experience in childhood can affect political preference - the more fearful, the more conservative. The experiment in question revealed when a conservative feels completely safe, they perceive the world in the same way a liberal does.


"Do you believe we belong to a species that adapts around fear?"


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