[dropcap]I[/dropcap]t happens every day. It happens all the time.
Talk show hosts and political columnists are masters of it. It is their stock-in-trade.
Editors do it with headlines and titles of articles of posts designed to elicit something greater than interest.
It’s called fear-mongering.
Website managers, news editors and blog owners routinely use “click bait” to entice would-be readers to check out the linked article. The more websites that pop up–all vying for the same pot of advertising dollars–the greater the battle for online traffic. That means creative ways to capture web surfers attention and get a click-thru. As often as not the headline or link plays into some kind of fear or bias as a means of sinking an emotional hook into the reader. Click. More money for the site owner. Another day or night of worry for you.
It matters not whether the headline is misleading, whether the article is based on a half-truth or a whole lie. Somebody, and often a lot of somebodies, will email it, share it on Facebook, tweet it or pin it.
“Obama orders implanted microchip as part of Obamacare”
“Unaccompanied children are bringing new diseases over the border”
“Ebola could spread across the country”
“Conservatives want to eliminate Social Security”
“Is your child a psychopath?”
“You’re gonna lose your birth control! Your boss is in your bedroom!”
How many of these are based on junk-science, bad reporting, outright distortions, or intentionally incomplete “reporting”? I do not know, but if my Facebook newsfeed is any indication, it is a semi-truck load. A fleet of them.
Trafficking in fear is the only way some people can build an audience. Without this ability to “frenzy the masses” they would get no traffic, accrue no ad dollars, receive no salary, and have no job.
Fear-mongering is not trying to find “All The News That’s Fit To Print” or be “Fair and Balanced.” Its concern is, “What is the bottom line this month?”
With the competition for dollars and the straightforward desire to be the top dog, I can certainly understand why fear is used.
But, followers of Jesus need to ask themselves, “Should I be involved in fear-mongering?”
We live in a world that constantly reels from bad news, surprise revelations, wars, disease and heartbreak. There are more than enough sources of fear for the fearful. Almost any news story can bring sorry, disgust, outrage, or disbelief. That is pretty much the nature of this world.
Living in fear is not, however, what Christ has for His children. He promises peace, rather than fear. Fear is the domain of the Evil One; peace is the domain of the child of God.
Fear-mongering is an insidious sin when promulgated by children of the Prince of Peace. We who have been promised all comfort should not be in the business of troubling others with half-truths. We who have been given peace should not create unnecessary turmoil. We who have been given assurance should not traffic in doubt.
Don’t fear those who kill the body but are not able to kill the soul; rather, fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. Matthew 10:28, HCSB