Creating Panic Is Bad for the Country, But Good for Politicians

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There was another stampede at an airport Sunday night, when passengers at LAX wrongly thought they heard guns being fired:

A loud noise mistaken for gunfire led to rumors that spread at blazing speed in person and on social media, setting off a panic that shut down one of the nation’s busiest airports, as passengers fled terminals and burst through security cordons, and as the police struggled to figure out what was happening and to restore order.

Far from being an isolated episode, it was essentially what had happened on Aug. 13 at a mall in Raleigh, N.C.; on Aug. 14 at Kennedy International Airport in New York; on Aug. 20 at a mall in Michigan; and on Aug. 25 at a mall in Orlando, Fla.

Spreading panic over terrorism has real effects. This is one of them. We are being turned into a nation of babies.

The number of terrorist attacks in the US is minuscule. The number of people in the US who die from terrorist attacks is minuscule. But I suppose the political advantage from scaring the hell out of people about terrorism is fairly substantial. And that’s all that counts, isn’t it?

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THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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