How Americans Are Brainwashed to Fear Exactly the Wrong Things

What is a bigger threat to most Americans: big government or big business?

In December 2013, the Gallup poll found [3] that nearly three out of four people feared “big government” more than “big business” or “big labor.” After President Obama took office in 2009, 55 percent feared Big Brother. By late 2013, the last time Gallup asked, the government-fearing figure was 72 percent, the highest in 50 years.

Only 21 percent of Americans said that big business was a bigger threat.

Gallup attributed [3] the jump to “government policies specific to the period, such as the Affordable Care Act—perhaps coupled with recent revelations of government spying tactics by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.”

This is a curious coupling that reveals much about fear-mongering and what’s deceitful in American media and politics. Is an effort bringing health insurance to millions who lack it a big threat? No. On the other hand, the revelation that the most secretive U.S. spy agencies are grabbing and warehousing all domestic electronic communications is eerie. Anything we say can and might be used against us long before it gets to a court of law.

But most big businesses, especially those online, also are violating our privacy daily, spying on us, profiling us, and reselling that information. Banks monitor our balances. Insurers say yes or no to medication refills. The list goes on. The government might be ultimately more powerful and threatening, but a strong case can be made that big businesses are more overtly interferring with our lives, whether that’s seen as an annoyance or a threat.

“You’re absolutely right,” said George Lakoff, a nationally known linguist [4] and author [5] who has analyzed how language and the media shape conservative and liberal dogma. “Basically, what you’ve got are monopolies running your life in any dimension and it’s not mentioned. It’s not discussed. It’s not a topic of conversation. It’s not a topic of legislation. It isn’t something that’s out there.”

Instead, American media is filled with pro-corporate and anti-government propaganda.

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