Americans used to get 30 minutes of local news and 60 minutes of national news each day. If you missed the broadcast, you had to read a newspaper in the morning.
That’s it. That is all the news media consumption that was available.
Now we have a 24 hour cable news cycle and “new media” on YouTube, talk radio, and the Internet.
There is unlimited news media consumption.
“Opinion” media is the most popular form of news media now, whereas “objective journalism” used to be the ideal.
So not only do we have unfettered access, but the vast majority of news media is heavily biased. Opinions are being formed for us, and the news is so subjective that it becomes more impossible to find the truth.
This creates a situation of extreme polarization based on “news” that cannot be trusted. Paranoia is increasing.
Americans are obsessed with tragedy. The most popular stories are those dealing with murder, mass murder, suicide, wildfires, airplane crashes, riots, violent protests, and other stories that highlight the worst parts of humanity.
We already have a heavily biased, 24/7 opinion media.
They are incentivized to create massive social problems out of local incidents. This is called a “moral panic.” They are essentially national urban legends. When one wicked father poisoned his son’s Halloween candy, the rest of the country began checking candy for razor blades and needles.
We see this today with mass murder and gun violence. These are incredibly rare events, but they seem to be prevalent because the news media covers them that way.
“If men define a situation as real, it becomes real in its consequences”
The case fatality rate (CFR) for Covid right now is 0.005. It was 0.021 this time last year. To put that into perspective, the CFR for flu in 2017-18 (prior to its curious disappearance since Covid) was 0.001.
The CFR for Ebola is 0.5 – more than 100 times deadlier than Covid-19.
1 in 11,000. Those are the odds that you will be involved in a mass shooting in your lifetime. Yet, the media makes it out like our children are constantly at risk of being murdered in a classroom.
There is a 1 in 114 chance that you will die in a car accident. 1 in 95 that you will die from intentional self harm. 1 in 127 that you will die from a fall.
I repeat, there is a 1 in 11,000 chance that you will die in a mass shooting in your lifetime.
We all die sometime. You are more likely to get hit by a car crossing the street or having a heart attack/cancer (1 in 7) than being assaulted by someone with a firearm (1 in 370) let alone a mass shooting.
We need to understand that we are being victimized by a media generated moral panic perpetuated by a biased never-ending news cycle.
Emotional appeals for bad legislation based on irrational fears will only remove more of our Constitutionally protected rights to self-defense, privacy, and due process. Our politicians and “news” media are victimizing us so they can increase their power and control over us.
This is psychological warfare being waged on us from on high. They want us scared. They want us irrational. They want us to panic. Moreover, the enemy, the Devil, wants us scared so that he can devour us like a roaring lion (1 Peter 5:8).
We wrestle not against flesh and blood (Ephesians 6:12). Christians are under spiritual assault, and we are losing ground by falling prey to a moral panic. We should have a higher standard. We should not have fear, because we are protected and guided by the Creator of the universe. The Lord God Almighty will protect you if you are meant to live, and he will remove his protection if you are not.
That is why we are supposed to put on the full armor of God (Ephesians 6) and prepare for war, not cower in fear.
The principalities, powers, and rulers of the darkness of this world (Ephesians 6:12) are driving us to doubt the power and strength that we have when we call upon the name of Jesus Christ (Romans 10:13).
Christians, unbelievers are looking at how we behave under duress. If we curl up into the fetal position, they will turn from Christ. If we stand, armed with the double-edged word of God, they will be drawn toward the holy power that courses through us.
I have no fear, because I trust in God. If you would like to know how to live a fearless life through a relationship with the Savior, talk to me about it and I can show you the way.
I will not be a victim. I will be a light in the darkness. How about you?
Published by Alex Simmons
I am first and foremost a Christian. I am a family man; a husband to a lovely woman and father to four beautiful little girls. I am published opinion writer, an avid connoisseur of the interactions of self and society, and have an MA in sociology. I created a blog as both catharsis for my never ending self-study of the world around me, and as a means to connect with friends, family, and like-minded strangers.
View all posts by Alex Simmons
2 thoughts on “We Are Victims of Moral Panic”
I do not fear, but I fear for others. That’s why I do what I do….Great message Alex.
Thank you, Leon!