As long as there is no law to insure balance and honesty in the media, Americans are ripe to fear almost anything and China is a tempting target to induce fear and loathing by manipulating public opinion.
Since the history of Sinophobia in the United States starts with the California Gold Rush (1848 – 1855) leading to the Chinese Exclusion Act (1882), which formalized this prejudice into a law that would not be removed from the books until 1965 (eighty-three years later) during the Civil Rights era, China is a perfect target since the demonizing was started in the 19th century.
Due to this early demonizing, during the later 19th and early 20th century, many Chinese were relentlessly beaten just because of their race, and in 1884, the Chinese Exclusion Act was amended in Washington D.C., so it would apply to all ethnic Chinese regardless of their country of origin.
As the years went by, other amendments were added to the Chinese Exclusion Act making the law more restrictive for the Chinese.
Political Scientist Corey Robin wrote Fear: the History of a Political Idea in 2004, published by Oxford University Press, which may also help explain why there is so much antagonism toward China in the United States.
On August 17, 2011, KPFA’s Against the Grain, a radio program about politics, society and ideas talked with Robin about how “fear dominates our society. Fear of crime, fear of the poor, fear of foreign terrorists, to which we might add fear of our government and fear of our bosses.”
Watch the Young Turks reveal Glenn Beck‘s lies.
Newsday said, “Robin argues that whereas Hobbes and Arendt appreciated the political dimensions of fear, Montesquieu and Tocqueville relegated the idea to the realm of the psychological—a view of fear that has endured, blinding us to the self-serving ways elites deploy fear for political ends.”
Steven Lukes, Professor of Sociology at New York University, said, “Corey Robin provides an acute and sustained analysis of the very idea of fear, of the role of fear as an instrument of political rule and of its unacknowledged prevalence within our liberal democratic institutions.”
The National Post said, “Brilliant…. What he does in Fear is show us, by carefully plotting the progress of modern fear politics from the Enlightenment to present day, that we are as dependent on fear as a political vehicle, if not more so, as we are the charades of left/right/middle factionalism.”
Robin mentions that fear is a method used by political groups and individuals to advance themselves and/or their political and religious agendas.
One example is Glenn Beck, who often incites violence and fear with lies and fear mongering (for more about Glenn Beck, watch the embedded video with this post).
In addition, according to former Fox News producer Charlie Reina… Fox News’s editorial policy is set from the top down in the form of a daily memo: “frequently, Reina says, it also contains hints, suggestions and directives on how to slant the day’s news – invariably, he says, in a way that’s consistent with the politics and desires of the Bush administration.”
Moreover, the December 17, 2010 issue of The Atlantic said, “One alleged news network fed its audience a diet of lies, while contributing financially to the party that benefited from those lies. Those who work for Fox News are not working for a journalistic enterprise. They are working for the communications department of a political party.”
Without an honest, trustworthy media reporting honest and balanced news, how can a democracy that depends on a literate and informed public survive?
In fact, how will China rid itself of being seen as a demon by many in America?
Continued September 17, 2011 in The Politics of Fear – Part 4 or return to Part 2
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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