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Scaremongering is a close synonym of alarmism. It is the, typically unwarranted, arousal of fear about something.

I can think of three groups—you might be able to add more—that make extensive use of alarmism:

  • People on the extreme right of the political spectrum,
  • People on the extreme left of the political spectrum, and
  • Tabloid news media.

Alarmism has some detrimental effects:

  • It consumes time that could otherwise serve more productive purposes.
  • It increases fear and hate in the population.
  • It drives us crazy.

Alarmism also serves some “useful” purposes:

  • It sells newspapers.
  • It increases listenership/viewership of “news” and “current events” shows.
  • It solidifies political support, mostly among people who are already supporters anyway.
  • It increases political donations.
  • It increases business for psychologists and psychiatrists who treat paranoia.

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