Ebola and the Construction of Fear
by Karen Sternheimer (Everyday Sociology)
"Sociologist Barry Glassner, author of The Culture of Fear: Why Americans are Afraid of the Wrong Things, explains how misguided panics are not just benign opportunities to prevent something horrible, but can divert attention and public funds away from more likely threats. He notes:
Panic-driven public spending generates over the long term a pathology akin to one found in drug addicts. The money and attention we fritter away on our compulsions, the less we have available for our real needs, which consequently grow larger (p. xvii).
Fox News is the most trusted news network in the United States
, according to a new poll [.pdf]
of 1,151 Americans conducted by Public Policy Polling
(a polling firm with a mostly Democratic and progressive list of clients
), the most trusted news network among Americans is FOX News, which was trusted by 49% of respondents (beating out CNN, MS-NBC, CBS, NBC, and ABC (though PBS was not included in the survey)).
The pollsters conclude:
“A generation ago you would have expected Americans to place their trust in the most
neutral and unbiased conveyors of news,” said Dean Debnam, President of Public Policy
Polling. “But the media landscape has really changed and now they’re turning more
toward the outlets that tell them what they want to hear.”
"You Don't Understand Our Audience"
--what John Hockenberry (formerly of NBC, now at MIT Media Lab
) learned about network news--good guys and bad guys, the "emotional center", synergy, facts, and why fewer and fewer watch nowadays.
Reuters 09/22 6:34PM
-- NBC, which in August bid for the exclusive right to host a presidential debate, said on Friday it would broadcast a baseball game instead of the first showdown between Democrat Al Gore and Republican George W. Bush. "We have a contract with major-league baseball. You don't seriously think we have any interest in democracy, do you?,'' said NBC
spokeswoman Barbara Levin. "If we were offerred more than the value of the baseball contract, we would be televising it.''