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The Delicious Taste of Senseless Fear

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Last week on "The Daily Show," Jon Stewart recounted three stories from the 24 Hour "News" Networks about mysterious bombs and such that all turned out to be false, though they all received large amounts of air with the usual useless commentary about what they didn't know. Jon closed the piece with the title comment, "Oh, the delicious taste of senseless fear."

Fear mongering has always been a powerful tool, but it's never had the power of a corporate media that plays lapdog to the current administration, who of course plays lapdog to the very corporations that own the media. It's a curious relationship, but one with little regard for we, the people.

Also curious, the events of 9/11 have provided those in power with the perfect tool for promoting fear in the citizenry of the United States. For those who would argue that such tragedies must be avoided in the future, I avidly concur. But at any cost? Hardly. For those who think this administration shares this goal of safety, I heartily disagree.

It has become obvious that this administration and congress care little about our security. How else could it allow our porous borders and our inept immigration policy, the United Arab Emerates ports deal or the continuing breeding ground for terrorism, Iraq ?

The answer, as usual, comes from following the money. One simple example is GE, a defense contractor that makes billions (from our taxes) for the continued dominance and expansion of the military/industrial complex. So NBC, CNBC and MSNBC all have a vested interest in fear mongering. Their logic is unassailable - if you value money more than human life.

But it's easy to point fingers at bad guys. And it neglects a very significant point. Networks need ratings to make money, and people must be watching these stories that offer nothing except the delicious taste of senseless fear, or said networks would go out of business.

Members of the progressive blogosphere are probably not the number one demographic for such programming, but we are still often guilty of benign neglect in reacting to such stories. And by doing so we contribute to the malaise.

We must turn that sh*t off. It sucks, it pollutes the mind, and it entrenches the fear paradigm within us, something most people would very much like to mitigate. Further, we can write to networks letting them know we won't watch their garbage. Perhaps most importantly, we can write their advertisers, informing them that we will not support their products and services if they support such bad programming.

That's a start, but it places us squarely before the great dilemma of our time: how to awaken our fellow citizens when they aren't "zoned in" to all the information and knowledge we progressives are accessing and creating.

First, we must understand this won't happen overnight (damn!). That's tough when we're watching our country and planet go down the tubes, but it's true. Substantial change takes time.

Second, we have to create a more positive alternative to the fear/terror world view. Yes, we need to protect ourselves, but we had better learn to get along globally, or we're in for a bad end. There are millions of us working on it in myriad ways, and herein rests our great hope.

Third, and most timely, we must elect officials that help us reframe our conversations to a healthier context. As Jerry Tenuto recently pointed out,"Bush Fascists are responsible for causing the deaths of human beings at a rate of 78,000 per year, to save us from a threat that might kill 930 people per year - worldwide." We need leaders unafraid to bust the hacks that promote war and terror. Unfortunately that's still a very short list, but it's growing.

Here's the good news. We don't have to wait for anyone else to change our personal paradigm. We can refuse to hate, refuse to be part of bullshit on the TV, and refuse "the delicious taste of senseless fear" being force fed to us by corporate media. So what does that leave us with? Something truly delicious, and truly sustaining. Call it love.

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Jim Prues is the Founder of World 5.0 and President of Panoptic Media. He understands that 'democracy is not a spectator sport.'

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