Media has always been a powerful tool capable of causing intense emotions among its audience. Such power was perfectly demonstrated by the 1938 radio broadcast, frightening millions of listeners about aliens’ imaginary invasion (Freedom Forum, 2011). Although technological advancements have increased the overall awareness of the public, the stories distributed by leading news agencies have not lost their influence. Using various tools, media start directing their efforts at shaping public opinion and often succeed in these goals.
Although the recent American events show many signs of fearmongering, the example deserving specific attention comes from the European continent. Numerous stories in prominent media outlets are dedicated to the migration crisis and provoke fear about possible terrorism and demands for increased border protection (Musaro & Parmiggiani, 2017). They show images of boats filled with migrants, crowded beaches, and frequent disorders. The data do not support such an approach, but currently, “objective facts often hold less weight than emotional appeals, story-telling, and ‘fake news” (Musaro & Parmiggiani, 2017, p. 242). Therefore, media remain a powerful tool capable of inflicting fear and panic among the general public in the United States and worldwide.
Freedom Forum. (2011). “War of the Worlds” 1938 Radio Broadcast [Video]. YouTube. Web.
Musarò, P., & Parmiggiani, P. (2017). Beyond black and white: the role of media in portraying and policing migration and asylum in Italy. International Review of Sociology, 27(2), 241–260. Web.