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In this powerful new book, sociologist David L. Altheide demonstrates how the mass media constructs a politics of fear in America. He argues that politicians and decision-makers bear much of the blame for the promotion of fear among citizens, resulting in the loss of civil liberties in return for greater protection. From a social interactionist perspective, Altheide presents his thesis that fear-as-entertainment informs the production of popular culture and news, generates profits, enables political decision-makers to cynically manipulate citizens, and can lead to major institutional changes, even war. The author dissects in turn: a modern propaganda campaign in the justification of the invasion of Iraq to the American people; the expansion of control and surveillance on the Internet; and the construction of a 'hero fighting terrorism' to promote patriotism, in the story of a promising young Arizona sports hero, Pat Tillman, who joined the Army and was killed by his fellow Rangers in Afghanistan. This thoughtful treatment of a timely subject will be indispensable to teachers and students of sociology, media, politics, and criminology studies.
Chapter 1 Preface and Acknowledgements Chapter 2 Introduction Chapter 3 The Social Reality of Fear Chapter 4 The Mass Media as a Social Institution Chapter 5 Crime and Terrorism Chapter 6 Consuming Terrorism Chapter 7 Terrorism and the Politics of Fear Chapter 8 The Control Narrative of the Internet Chapter 9 The Propaganda Project and the Iraq War Chapter 10 Constructing Pat Tillman Chapter 11 Conclusion: Beyond the Politics of Fear Chapter 12 References Chapter 13 Index Chapter 14 About the Author