In America, there is a “BIG” dollar sign driving the “Politics of Fear”, and this dollar sign has generated much hate and distrust of China (and a few other countries) in the United States.
There are BIG lies and little lies that drive the “Politics of Fear” and some are subtle.
McCarthyism is an example of a BIG lie and another “BIG” lie by President Johnson (LBJ) led to the Vietnam War (at a time when most neo-conservatives still belonged to the Democratic Party).
Most of the lies that drive the “Politics of Fear” are not planned, and it is not a plot (a political/religious ideology drives the Politics of Fear).
Instead, the architects of these lies take advantage of events as they happen and mold the public’s opinion mostly with the little lies waiting for the “BIG” moment that leads to wars such as the one in Iraq.
Creating fear and loathing of China to justify “HUGE” military expenditures in the US also may explain the criticism of a recent rail accident, which I wrote of in High Speed Rail Tragedy in China Reveals Small Minds in the West (an example of a little lie).
To create an atmosphere of fear, first there must be distrust and loathing, which is the job of the little lies. That way it is easier for the American public to accept the BIG lies when they arrive.
In addition, we learn from Information Clearing House.info that President Harry Truman (33rd President of the United States – 1945–1953) set out, as Arthur Vandenberg advised, to “Scare the Hell out of the American people.”
However, fear to manipulate public opinion did not start with China. The US government first generated fear to manipulate the citizens of the US and Europe through the CIA‘s Operation Mockingbird (1948) soon after the end of World War II at the start of the Cold War with Soviet Russia.
Eventually, in the late 1970s, many neoconservatives moved from the Democratic Party to Ronald Reagan, the Republican hawk that promised to confront Soviet expansionism. Source: Rejecting the Democratic Party
But, soon after launching Operation Mockingbird, The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) enacted the Fairness Doctrine, which was a deterrent to control of the media and success of operations such as the CIA’s Mockingbird.
The Fairness Doctrine was a policy of the FCC (introduced in 1949) that required the holders of broadcast licenses (radio and TV) to both present controversial issues of public importance and to do so in a manner that was, in the Commission’s view, honest, equitable and balanced, which wasn’t the goal of the CIA’s Operation Mockingbird or President Reagan‘s neo-conservatives.
To rid America of honest, equitable and balanced media reporting, in 1987, President Reagan defeated the Fairness Doctrine when he vetoed legislation intended to make it a federal law, and there were not enough votes to override his veto.
The House of Representatives had voted earlier that month with 302 votes in favor while 102 voted no. However, in the Senate, the vote was 59 to 31, less than the two-thirds necessary to override a presidential veto and President Reagan did away with the only protection the public had to hear both sides of every controversial issue, which was the end of any assurance that the news would be honest, equitable and balanced.
Consortium News.com says, “A rule of thumb in journalism is that there are almost always two sides to a story, but that rule is often ignored by the U.S. news media in the heat of some conflict when the United States is involved. Then, the real motivations of the U.S. adversary are widely ignored in favor of demonization.”
However, if the Fairness Doctrine were a law, demonizing countries (such as China) in the media would be a challenge, because the public would hear both sides of every issue making fear difficult to generate.
After the Fairness Doctrine was vetoed by President Reagan, conservative talk radio boomed.
A Media Use and Evaluation by Gallup.com of the trust and confidence the American public had of the mass media says that in 1976, 72% of the people had a great deal/fair amount of trust in the mass media, such as newspapers, TV, and radio.
By 2009, however, 57% of the people did not trust what they heard or read in the media due to smear campaigns against the media that it was controlled by ‘godless’ liberals (notice the use of language to cause fear and loathing).
In addition, the Pew Research Center said that in 1985, 55% (already down 17% from 1976) of the people felt news organizations had the facts straight, but by 2009 that trust had dropped to 29% and 63% felt the news was often inaccurate, which represents a great victory for the Politics of Fear.
How can a democracy function when the citizens are not honestly informed of both sides of an issue?
Since 1976, the public trust factor of the media has declined almost 30%, which may be because Internet Forums and Blogs, radio talk shows and TV programs may claim anything without proof and without worry, because in the United States today, freedom of expression also means freedom to lie and manipulate.
Who has benefited the most from the absence of a Fairness Doctrine in the United States designed to insure balance and honesty in the media?
Continued September 16, 2011 in The Politics of Fear – Part 3 or return to Part 1
Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.
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