Thursday, March 12, 2009

Are you afraid of scaremongering headlines? Research suggests you should be

It’s widely accepted in the world of media that panic is always a safer choice than skepticism, because what if you’re wrong? If news outlets took the time to check the veracity of a threat before broadcasting it to the unsuspecting masses, we would lose twenty-four valuable seconds to prepare for each threat, or approximately the time it takes for the average American to eat a steak.

This is why purveyors of the quality alarmist media are safer on average than their better educated, thinner, and predominantly East Coast compatriots. It’s only because informed citizens are aware of the full range of threats that they can sit down and enjoy their breakfasts and their Us magazine. Indeed, skeptical viewers must spend so much time verifying whether looking at your own penis makes you gay that they don’t have time for Us, or for InStyle, or even for People. Would you want to live in a world where you didn’t know about celebrity obesity?

Few prudent Americans would deny that the minuscule chance that bees don’t carry HIV doesn’t mean it’s not worth buying your entire family hazmat suits. Nor can anyone contest that Y2K bugs are only getting worse each year. Before the Y2K08 bug, cats were universally known as man’s best friend. But look at them now! Despicable, ungrateful creatures, hardly deserving of the name ‘pet’. Scientists expect the Y2K09 bug will make your child more promiscuous. In a world where bees carry HIV, is this really something you’d want?

Statistics show that that people least likely to be frightened by scaremongering headlines are the skeptics, a category of people renowned for watching DVD box sets of cancelled 90s TV shows in the basement, like The X-Files, Farscape, and Designing Women. In addition, research indicates that the implausibility of a threat becomes less important the more people dwell on it. If videogames weren’t going to make kids violent by themselves, then by God, good parents were going to manipulate the evidence to make it look that way, because people needed to know!

Anchors resent allegations that their niche news outlets serve corporate or political interests. In one much publicized case, a popular station risked outcry when it warned viewers that homosexuality may be linked to not eating enough red meat. Unfortunately, ninety-six percent of over the counter heartburn medicine is made by companies whose CEOs are rampantly and dangerously gay, so either way, they win! It wasn’t cheery, feel good news, but damn it, they did their journalistic duty and reported it.

Skeptics, of course, don’t want us to be frightened by headlines. They seem to forget that the world is, by its Christian nature, a scary place. They want to be comforted and coddled, and told everything is going to be ok. And then they have the gall to turn around and reject Jesus and the comfort he brings Americans, who need him for protection from the evils of the world. Nor should we forget the economic realities under which the alarmist media must operate. Those responsible for warning the public about incredible threats would go out of business if we ignored them, and who would warn us then? 

So next time you drink a glass of water and marvel that it hasn’t been fluoridated by the Soviets, just remember who told you.

12 comments:

CodewordConduit said...

Ah the glorious return of the superbly-rendered lady-chest.

It was incredibly distracting... I'm not worried at all... What was the headline again?

Umm

Perhaps this is why we Brits have page 3. Just in case we panic too much.

See, if we don't panic enough, nobody buys enough tinned food. If we panic too much then we start killing each other and everybody forgets to buy enough tinned food.

To pick a colour entirely at random, the optimum level of panic is "burnt sienna". At "burnt sienna" everybody buys just the right amount of tinned food - and the level is carefully achieved through use of scary headlines and sedative tit-shots.

PersonalFailure said...

It's a car. You should buy it!

roflcopters!

Seriously, this whole Glen Beck/Fox News/Wingnut Daily scare scenario is actually impacting my life. There have been so many people at my local walmart buying vast quantities of food/supplies in preparation for the coming plague of Zimbabweans (or something), that I have been literally unable to purchase sponges, comet, bacon and hot dogs. Because the walmart was fresh out of them.

Honestly, people, I don't care when the aliens are landing, I need my crispy fried pig fat!

Dani' El said...

Meh, it's a living.
Doesn't pay too well.

Dani' El
Prophet of Destruction

CodewordConduit said...

Dani you sound positively nihilistic.

FrodoSaves said...

CC,

That sounds like science to me! After all, if panic wasn't a factor in the purchase of tinned foods, only grannies and the force of habit would keep them moving from the shelves. What would the good folks at Spam and Chicken of the Sea do then? Produce real food? Not likely!

-------------

PersonalFailure,

You'd better pray to Frodo that bacon doesn't wind up being a cure for cholera, or you'll never see it again!

-------------

Dani,

I second CC. You seem to have lost your characteristic mirth and good cheer. If you had to choose a song to fit your mood, would it be a popular 90s hit by REM?

rita said...

What!? Are you proposing that we read type smaller then 1 inch & paragraphs longer then 2 sentences?

Dani' El said...

That's funny.
I thought I was being.....funny.

(hard to be fuuny knowing what's coming soon.)

Well anyway.
I preach the FEAR of the LORD, which is in short supply round here.

So I guess REM (ugh!) is out.
And Lee Ving and Derf Scratch are in.

FrodoSaves said...

Rita,

If it helps, you can generally just read the first and last sentence of each paragraph and trust that the middle bit all made sense. Remember the old adage: always believe everything you read!

Dani,

Prophets of Destruction would be a good band name, if, you know, you were still into that kind of thing. I don't like REM either, but I've never heard of those other two.

Dani' El said...

Silly Hobbit.

Lee Ving and Derf Scratch are the founding members of FEAR.

Flea played bass for a spell in later years.

Sigh. I'm a band geek.

FrodoSaves said...

Dani

Yeah, you are a little bit. My musical knowledge tends to be from prior decades, and even then, it's somewhat more mainstream. Somehow I doubt anyone's ever accused you of being too mainstream?

:P

Dani' El said...

Naw, I guess not.
Where I come from, being mainstream is that last thing I would want to be.

To be a Rebel in Sodom, is to be a Christian.

The conformists have tats and piercings. The politicians are dead heads and punk rockers. Transsexual poets are L7. Its the Union of Individualist Oddfellows Guild members only compulsory convention. No intolerance is tolerated.

On top of that, I'm a Jew, who only found out I was a Jew 3 years ago, and most Jews despise Messianics.

So I feel like a stranger to the Jews, and a stranger to the Gentile church, and a stranger in Sodom, a stranger in a strange land.

A stranger on the earth.

I know everyone thinks I'm nuts, but I'm really not from this planet.

My home is in Heaven.

Vitamin R said...

Few prudent Americans would deny that the minuscule chance that bees don’t carry HIV doesn’t mean it’s not worth buying your entire family hazmat suits. Nor can anyone contest that Y2K bugs are only getting worse each year. Before the Y2K08 bug, cats were universally known as man’s best friend. But look at them now! Despicable, ungrateful creatures, hardly deserving of the name ‘pet’. Scientists expect the Y2K09 bug will make your child more promiscuous. In a world where bees carry HIV, is this really something you’d want?

Frodo, no! But in other news: mmm . . . Frodo-waffles. . . .
::drools::