America’s Culture of fear

A perfect example of Moore’s disingenuous explorations for truth is when he ironically interviews and cites the work of USC Professor Barry Glassner, whose book The Culture of Fear attacks the media for sensationalizing incidents of bad news while ignoring the bigger picture. One of the book’s primary examples is extensive media coverage of school shootings that ignores the overall downward trend in youth violence in recent years.

Moore criticizes weakly researched media stories that scare people over nothing (such as phony stories about razors in Halloween apples), but at the same time, his own factual claims are either invented or taken grossly out of context.

For instance, Moore lets Glassner criticize the media for sharply increasing coverage of homicides during a period when the actual homicide rate was falling. Yet his own frantic film about the terrible dangers of American gun violence comes even as gun crime rates have fallen sharply from their early 1990s levels. Glassner’s book points out that an American schoolchild is much more likely to be killed by lightning than in a school shooting. Yet Moore’s film rests on the premise that the Columbine shooting represents an American epidemic of violence.

Even while denouncing Americans for being so afraid of violent crime, Bowling for Columbine works hard to make them still more afraid…


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