Commentary: Fear and Fire
Media Culltivate Fear
Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Given 24-Aug-19; 12 minutes
This past week, I shared a meme on Facebook that some of you may have seen. It showed a man sitting down in front of his TV in his armchair, and he was watching the news. The speech bubble coming from the talking head on the TV, and the man was saying, “What can we do to stop living in fear?” The next frame showed the man in the armchair turning his head toward the reader, breaking the fourth wall, as it were, and clicking the power button on his television remote control. In other words, we would live a lot calmer—a lot happier, Ronny—life if we just turned off the news.
There is a great deal of truth in this. Network news—and their cronies in cable news—are all about fear-mongering. That's how they make their bucks. Because of their majority political leanings, media types believe that, if they can excite our emotions about something, they can incite us to act—to do something. Fear is an excellent motivator—one of the best in their arsenal of motivational techniques. If they can get us while we are watching the news to believe that our lives are in imminent danger—that in the next few minutes, something is going to break out in this world to cause some vast devastation—they believe that we can be motivated to condemn the cause of the fear. Ultimately, what they want us to do is to vote for their side, to get their people in office, who promise to do something about the problem.
But do you notice that they never do? They are a lot of talk and no action, because the problem is too valuable to waste. Remember the words of Rahm Emmanuel as Chief of Staff of President Barack Obama ten years ago? He said, "Don't let a good crisis go to waste." Whatever happens, if it is bad, "we can make something of this. We can push one of our policies and make political gain."
In other words, they are pushing our buttons. They are doing it every time they appear on the television screen. There is something that they are aggressively push over on us. They tell us that’s Trump’s policies will crash the economy to 1930s proportions. I saw that just a couple of days ago. They tell us the seas are going to rise and wreak havoc on our coastlines in the next decade, yet former President Barack Obama just bought a $15 million house right on the beach. They tell us the polar ice caps are melting, and that is going to add to the coastline problem. They tell us our air, water, and food, and everything else are polluted; don't touch anything; don't eat anything; it's all bad; it's going to kill you.
They tell us that violent crime is spiraling out of control because of all the guns on the streets. That is the sole problem—guns are out there and they are killing people, left and right. They tell us that dozens of wildlife species are dying every day, and if we don't do something about it, all we will be left with is our dogs, our cats, rats, and cockroaches. And that's it—it's just terrible. They tell us that humans driving cars are unsafe because you are all mentally unstable, so we need automated ones because they are "safer." They don't have the human element in them. Of course, who programs the cars? They tell us that just about everything there is on the planet causes cancer. "If you eat 5,000 cherries that are dosed with Red #5 every day, you're going to get cancer." (You'll be on the toilet a lot, too.) That is what they say. They give us these studies. They gave rats 5 pounds of whatever it was to consume every day, and they got cancer. Well, of course they did. It does not work the same with human beings. If you overdo something, it is probably going to hurt you adversely. But need I go on with any of these? That's the sort of thing they tell us every day on the news.
It is no wonder that anxiety and stress and unhappiness are through the roof. Just think about it. You look at the TV, and probably your blood pressure begins to rise. I'd like to see somebody study that—put a whole flock of people in front of a TV and show them news and see what their blood pressure does. That would be an interesting thing to find out.
It is no wonder that there is so much despair in the world, because that is what they are pushing out of CNN, NBC, CBS, Fox, you name it. They are all doing it, because they know the ways that work. Some people seem to think that the world is ten seconds from total disaster. Something is going to happen that is bad, right now. Why do you think that so much of our entertainment—particularly books, television, and movies, even some music—is so dystopian? People don’t see any hope for the future because they have been made to be terrified that all is going to the proverbial hell in a handbasket—and soon. They think that society, civilization, the whole planet is in free-fall. There are no blue skies ahead—not one. All that's ahead is smoke, darkness, and silence as life is swept from Planet Earth. There is no hope, just an awareness of imminent death and nothingness. That's what this society has become. It has become a death cult in many ways.
The latest scare-tactic concerns the fires burning in the Amazon River Basin in South America. According to the mainstream media, they are apocalyptic, signaling further climate degradation and claiming that CO2 levels are going to rise and that earth’s oxygen will be depleted, and it may push the entire earth to the point of no return. We are going to slip over the edge of the cataclysm and we won't be able to get back. The earth is just going to cycle down, and that is it for humanity and Planet Earth.
You may not be aware, but the environmental movement tends to be one of the biggest liars on the planet. They will do anything to push their agenda. They are always twisting science to make it seem like things are more dire than they are, because they want everything done right now and they've got to convince us that things are really bad. So, some advice: Always take claims of environmental disaster with a huge dose of skepticism—they are almost always proved grossly exaggerated within the next few years. And we're still here.
The media screams: “The Amazon fires are twice as bad this year than last! They are burning at a record pace!” But Brazil’s president, Jair Bolsonaro, says the fires are no worse than fires in recent years, and are in the "average" range for the last 15 years. He adds, “We are in a traditionally hot and dry season, with high winds, when every year we have wildfires," he said. "In hotter years, wildfires are more common.” That's just the way it is. And this happens to be a hotter, drier year. Fires like this happen every year down there, although there is a bit more of it this year. That is true. There are more fires this year than last. It is worse than normal, but not cataclysmic. It will end as soon as the rain comes back. It says wet down there for most of the year. This is the only time of year that it is hot enough and dry enough for fires to start. It is just like California and other places. That's just the way it works.
And what about the oxygen? Environmentalists claim that the Amazon Rainforest produces 20% of the world’s oxygen. You hear that all the time in the news—and it is a lie. It is absolute baloney. That highly touted “fact” is a myth; it’s very hard to find any evidence for this figure that is thrown about with wild abandon. The truth is that oceanic phytoplankton produces 60-80% of the world’s oxygen—in the ocean—and the Amazon River Basin produces perhaps 20% of the rest. So that's 20% of the remaining 20-40% that things that are not in the ocean produce. Of course, the Amazon River Basin produces oxygen in conjunction with the other great forests and jungles of the world, like the Congo River Basin, places here in America and Canada, not to mention vast grasslands of the United States and Canada, and the great steppes of Russia, and all the grassland going out toward Mongolia—that produces oxygen for the planet too. So it is not just the rainforests; it is all the plants. They work together.
What it comes down to is that the media and their political partners are using this uptick in forest fires—those in California, Alaska, and Alberta, Canada, included—to undermine their political opponents and capitalism. Notice when they talk about these things, they always talk about dirty, rotten lumberman, and people who are out there like ranchers and farmers of this land. They say, "These poor indigenous tribes are being swept off the face of the earth," and there is more to that as well. I won't go into it. These works have to make a living as well. But the media are using fear to make political points. Please don’t fall for it. Stay happy.