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In the last week or so, there has been an outbreak of Swine Flu. It is all over the TV, Internet and newspapers. From the media coverage, it seems that we are all going to die from it! For instance, in Canada there are 6 people sick from it. In all of Canada. But we are all being inundated with coverage. Why?

If people are fearful of the world around them, they won’t notice the important things.sheepleImage_source No one wants to hear 2 years of crappy news on the economy, or another young soldier coming home in a body bag, or the killing of innocent civilians in foreign countries, or even that the USA loves to torture captives, and break international law. Keep them all quiet, and issue them a credit card to spend more money they don’t have. We are living in a bred culture of fear. Here is a small introduction to the book “The Culture of Fear” by Barry Glassner.

Why are so many fears in the air, and so many of them unfounded? Why, as crime rates plunged throughout the 1990s, did two-thirds of Americans believe they were soaring? How did it come about that by mid-decade 62 percent of us described ourselves as “truly desperate” about crime-almost twice as many as in the late 1980s, when crime rates were higher? Why, on a survey in 1997, when the crime rate had already fallen for a half dozen consecutive years, did more than half of us disagree with the statement “This country is finally beginning to make some progress in solving the crime problem”?

In the late 1990s the number of drug users had decreased by half compared to a decade earlier; almost two-thirds of high school seniors had never used any illegal drugs, even marijuana. So why did a majority of adults rank drug abuse as the greatest danger to America’s youth? Why did nine out of ten believe the drug problem is out of control, and only one in six believe the country was making progress?

Remainder of intro

Michael Moore’s movie Bowling for Columbine takes a look at the culture of fear. Though it does talk quite a bit about the USA’s obsession with guns, the movie does a fantastic job of discussing the media’s roll in making us fearful. In case you haven’t seen it, here is the official trailer. But do yourself a favour and rent it…

My solution? Ignore the fluff, and focus on the real issues…