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Fox News Perpetuating a Climate of Fear

The Republican Party has for several years now followed a strategy of instilling fear into the minds of the American people in a vain effort to hold on to power. Fox News, a cable news network that largely functions as a propaganda wing for the Republican Party, plays an important role in whipping up this climate of fear among the people. Sometimes, this effort is overt as in the saturation coverage of the "Fort Dix Six". Other times the effort is very subtle as shown in the graphic below:

foxkasich.jpg

What's wrong with this picture? Just John Kasich doing a bit on the "Creation Museum" right? Take a closer look at the bottom of the screen. Notice the text on the crawler: "Terror Alert : Elevated".

Typically, news crawlers provide news, stock price updates, current temperatures, flying conditions and other types of "current" information. The terror alert status put out by the Department of Homeland Insecurity, however, really isn't really a newsworthy item since it so rarely changes and no one really pays any attention to it anyway. Whenever it does change, a lot of attention is paid to it and there is the usual round of doomsday news stories surrounding it.

Yet, for the last 5 years, Fox has included the terror alert status in its crawler each and every day. One has to wonder why. Can you imagine this conversation around the breakfast tables in Middle America: "Hey honey, can you turn on Fox News Channel so we can see what the terror alert level is and plan our day accordingly"? Of course not.

So since it isn't newsworthy why does Fox keep running it?. For one reason and one reason only: to help instill a level of fear in the American people that they think will cause them to vote for Republicans. The right-wing mantra these days is that we are all doomed to be vaporized in a nuclear blast at the hands of Al Qaeda and their unknowing moronic accomplices: the Democrats. Whipping up and maintaining a climate of fear is central to this strategy. I don't know how effective Fox's news crawler displaying the terror alert level every day over and over again is in this effort, but it's the only explanation I can think of why they keep it on there.

If anyone has another explanation I'd love to hear it.


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Comments (12)

"If anyone has another explanation I'd love to hear it"

There is no other explanation that I'm aware of, you nailed it, Larkin.

The terrorizing of Americans continues unabated, perpetrated by the Republican administration -- to keep themselves in power, and by Fox News -- to keep their ratings up.

Nice post.

Xennady:

Larkin:If this scares you so much change the channel.You know how to do that, right? And if no one really pays attention to it anyway how can you claim anyone except yourself is terrorized by it? Do you think people are terrorized by things universally ignored? I think the actual reality is that the left is downplaying any possible threat from terrorism to distract from their incoherent inability to come up with a plan to deal with it.If you don't think terrorism is a threat, why worry about the open border? Why worry about the future of Iraq? Al-qaeda? Who's that? If you can convince the public to forget about terrorism it greatly lessens the significance of the Democrats well-earned reputation as being weak on defense.This will significantly enhance their election prospects.Your post is a fine example, by the way, of just why leftists have that reputation.Claiming threats don't exist won't make them go away.

Sorry, the scariest thing in this picture is still the creation museum.

andrew:

Haha, always love it when Leftists accuse other people of spreading fear.

Heralder:
If anyone has another explanation I'd love to hear it.

So the terror alert being raised isn't newsworthy? Perhaps it should be done away with all together then, if no one is supposed to know when it fluctuates. Are you going to complain about the Dow Jones ticker because it inspires a climate of finance?

Does someone have another explanation as to why there are constant cries of Orwellian plots, Rovian ploys and a myriad of conspiracy theories regarding our current government by the left? Climate of Fear indeed.

Lee Ward:

"So the terror alert being raised isn't newsworthy? "

Who said the terrorist alert was raised? Obviously that's your impression from the Fox News crawl... but is it true?

The threat level, according to the Department of Homeland Security website, was last raised on August 13, 2006. The current threat status is "elevated" - but that doesn't mean the status has changed - that IS the status level - we're at an "elevated status".

There's the lie, and it works, obviously. Fox News' misreporting and blatant attempts to instill fear in Americans is effective, as illustrated by Heralder's reaction.

America is being victimized by terrorists, and they're masquerading as your government and a conservative media outlet. Wake up and smell the manipulation.

"Does someone have another explanation as to why there are constant cries of Orwellian plots, Rovian ploys and a myriad of conspiracy theories regarding our current government by the left?"

Why? Because Americans are being manipulated by the government and the conservative media. Some Americans aren't smart enough to realize that it's happening, and others are smart enough but don't want to believe it could be true. Still others know its happening but are complicit accessories - like right wing bloggers who know better but still perpetuate the fear for political gain, which -- by the way -- fits the FBI definition of terrorism to a "T".

The FBI defines terrorism as "the unlawful use of force or violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives.

Whether what Fox News is doing is "unlawful" could (and should imho) be debated, so maybe that "t" is lower case... but there is no question that the immoral and despicable.

Heralder:

Lee,

My particular misunderstanding abut the meaning of the Terror Alert Level: Elevated, doesn't reflect this general "Climate" mentioned by Larkin. Why?

Because I don't watch television and the only time I've heard of a terror alert is through reading it. Anyone who actually watches Fox news and is familiar with the ticker, you know the so called victims of this 'climate of fear', would be familiar with the details I'm ignorant of, which ever so conveniently destroys the point.

If there's a problem with the semantics of the alert, that needs to be taken up with the Department of Homeland Security, not Fox.

I get my terror alerts directly from the NYPD. Days I get on the subway and am stopped for a random bag check or see 12 officers per station...I know something's up. And yet, oddly enough, I'm not victimized by this. I go home, or to work, or to the bar and don't think about it.

In other words, the terror alert level has absolutely no bearing on which party I vote for.

However, professing that it does, and that it's a direct and dark manipulation of the Bush Administration and the vast Conservative Media (i.e., Fox) actually does more to establish this aformentioned climate than anything a ticker could accomplish.

In other words, I should not be concerned about terrorists planning attacks on my country, that's mythology and unthinkable. What I should be worried about is my own president, because he's a Republican.

We should all be ever so fearful that Bush is going to tap our phones and accuse us of a crime we didn't commit, and ship us off to a gulag in eastern Europe to be tortured. We should be fearful that Bush is trying to turn America into a Fascist Police State. We should be fearful that people don't like us (as if that's something new). We should be fearful that Bush stole an election and rigged the voting machines. We should be fearful Bush was reading a book to children when something terrible happened to our country (I can't remember what though, I think it had to do with Rove). We should be fearful Bush almost said 1775 instead of 1995. We should be fearful that Bush, while a complete an utter dolt, somehow managed to convincingly lie to the entire world about WMD's in Iraq. We should be fearful that Bush is single-handedly destroying the environment of the Earth. We should be fearful that Bush is saying terrorism is a threat when it's so obviously not. And most of all, we should be fearful, that Fox, the only rightwing news network, that everyone in the country is forced to watch, has on their ticker, what the current terror alert level is.

p.s. - pleasevotedemocrat.


My summary:

It's a non-issue.

And that's all the time I have for today. Everyone have a great weekend!


Paul Hamilton:

Xennady: Raising fear and the *doing nothing about it* is pointless. You brought up the border issue -- so what is Bush doing about it? Seventy miles of fence for sixty billion freaking dollars along a border hundreds of miles long? Yeah, that makes a LOT of sense. But scaring people about illegals really does help the political cause.

Heralder: That's corect -- raising the level is completely pointless because the Crayola Code itself is pointless. I live in the flyover and my own personal terror threat level is probably green to the very slightest shade of aqua. So because somebody tried to set fire to their shoe on an airplane doesn't affect my personal risk. And yet the Bush administration turns every perceived threat anywhere to a personal menace by use of this color code. That's the big lie. The threat level is not uniform for everyone.

Larkin: Personalizing the threat, even for those who will almost certainly never be a target of terrorists is the key to their political success. I have a friend who lives in NYC and for a while after the 9-11 attacks, he was very afraid. And who could blame him. But after a few weeks, he realized that he could either cower in fear the rest of his life or he could live. He chose to live. He knows the risks of living in NYC -- and terrorism is actually LOW on the list -- but he lives there because he wants to. It's that sort of attitude that truly defeats the people who want to define our lives by fear, whether they call themselves jihadists or Republican politicians.

Lee Ward:

"And that's all the time I have for today. Everyone have a great weekend!"


Likewise, thanks for stopping by.

Heralder:

One more quick thing in response to Paul.

That's the big lie. The threat level is not uniform for everyone.

There's a problem. Should people know if the goverment has details on a plot that either they haven't worked out yet or can't release details on?

After the hectoring the Bush administration has endured over 'not doing enough' in stopping 9-11, you'd think people would be a little more accepting of any warning system, flawed and useless as it is.

So it's either being accused of being:

A)"The Most Secretive Administration Ever in History"

B)"Being the Most Manipulative Administration Ever in History."

Tough decision. I'll choose C.

Lee,

I like the recent comments thingy. Nice feature!

Paul Hamilton:

A flawed warning system is just as bad as no system at all because it either gives a sequences of false positives which people will soon just ignore, or it doesn't differentiate between threats in different places or different types of targets. Both have been true with the Crayola Code.

And there is a place for secrecy. Recall that it was the Bush administration who blew the whistle prematurely on the London terrorists, forcing the Brits to move in before they wanted to. On top of that, the Bush Bunch likes to make a big deal out of complete posers like the Miami and Fort Dix "terror cells" who, in reality, were nothing but buffoons.

But getting back to the central point of all this, Fox really is manipulating their viewers with putting the code on their scroll. Without details, it's meaningless, and considering that it never changes, it's even MORE meaningless. But there it is, in a bold color reminding all of us to be scared every five minutes or so...

Lee Ward:

"Recall that it was the Bush administration who blew the whistle prematurely on the London terrorists, forcing the Brits to move in before they wanted to."

Wow, I wasn't aware of that - how interesting... Not surprising, but interesting.


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Publisher: Kevin Aylward

Editors: Lee Ward, Larkin, Paul S Hooson, and Steve Crickmore

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