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The Rhetoric of Fear - Essay Example

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The unfortunate events that took place the 11th of September of 2001 brought about an intense consciousness to the world regarding to freedom and security; as a result of the situation of chaos that fallowed, people happened to be frightened and suspicious about everything. …
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The Rhetoric of Fear
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Download file to see previous pages The sequence of circumstances surrounding the 11th of September led to the establishment of what President W. Bush called “War on terror “, which became state policy (CNN "Bush Declares War"), meaning that early statements about repossession and revenge to encourage partisanship became an authentic war with no culmination in scene. The language that President W. Bush used to describe the situation and to target United States citizens was very important; it was aimed to shape people’s understanding about the conflict, to define what the problem was and how to think about and even what it has to be done to face the crisis. The events that occurred on September 11th constituted a convincing, powerful, available and understandable frame towards a fearful audience (Gershkoff and Kushner). Expressions like “acts of mass murder”, “terrorist attacks”, “terrorist”, “nuclear bombs”, “bombing”, and “evil” among others were, then, the representational trend of a new phenomenon: the culture of fear.
Wars have the capability to stimulate general audience to be better informed, increasing their intake of news. People that are not informed about current issues usually take advice from the opinion of their leaders; at this point, information is not any more objective but liable to manipulation by elites, which lately will help to shape public opinion. The method by which media is able to shape public opinion is through manipulation of contents and through the tone they use to approach the general audience. Media covers political and current issues using political leader’s quotations and official speeches, therefore giving public authorities a scenario where to propagate their messages. Then, un-informed audiences using information from mass media as a source of their information is further vulnerable to respond and believe. If debate occurs, it will be carried up by elites and covered by media, though when deliberation does not exist or it is muted, one-side of information will emerge if other opinions are disposed under consideration. All this turned to be truth after September 11th when media responded respectfully, broadcasting government official positions. However, it is remarkable that while United States citizens are not well informed about politics, they do have resilient opinions on war, then it was surprising how people responded in favor towards the implementation of national security policies and ‘war on terror’ that the government launched after September 11th (Gershkoff and Kushner). The way by which critic situations (for instance, the Madrid train bombing (BBC)) are offered by media stands as a significant topic of studying, especially because of the influence it has over decision making of people and therefore, over the destiny of a nation. Due to the influence that shock and fear provoke, individuals become an easy target of manipulation (Chomsky). Emotions have enormous impact over the way we perceive our environment and consequently over the way we decide to respond (Vergano). From this point of view, society could easily be driven by fear; some can use this power to manipulate the general public to achieve political goals (Chomsky).Then, it becomes mandatory to understand how horror and suffering are represented on media and how they lead human reactions. The September 11th ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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