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The news is catering to a market of fear

By Steven Beynon,

Just two months ago, America was very settled on the idea of no more war.

Then two journalists who volunteered to be in Syria get executed and Americans go running back to war like an abusive boyfriend. We're too easily baited.

ISIS doesn't have an Air Force, so the only way they can be guaranteed to kill Americans is if we go to them.

It's fair to ask the question of what an American life is worth. I don't have the answer, but it certainly isn't $1.7 trillion, over 4,000 dead troops, and another wave of thousands of cases of PTSD and veteran suicide for the sake of revenge. That's if we're going by what our last encounter in Iraq cost us.

I respect the journalists who were killed on the job. The courage they showed to do their job is something all journalism students should aspire and prepare for. But do Americans really think they are in danger?

What is it you're so afraid of? Do you think ISIS is going to blow up your Ford Focus tomorrow or decapitate you at Chipotle? I didn't see any crucifictions in downtown Chicago when I picked up my iPhone 6.

Politicians have this rhetoric of "terrorist safehavens," usually meaning areas with little government control and allowing Extremist Guerilla groups to bloom. George W. Bush combined that with the philosophy of "bombing them over there so we don't have to fight them over here." The 9/11 attacks were planned and executed from Germany, and no one's bombing Hamburg.

Over the decades we learned massive bombing campaigns don't work. Most statistics show the United States dropped eight times as many bombs in Vietnam than they did in WWII, another war against an elusive enemy in black pajamas.

We've been learning lessons from multiple engagements that brute force is not the way to fight non conventional armies. This is why the U.S. and other NATO powers are dumping more funds into Special Operations elements such as Navy SEALs and Special Forces.

The media has played the role in being the communicators of terrorist propaganda. ISIS released several scary videos that news outlets played over and over for days. The headlines might as well have been written, "Are You Crapping Your Pants Yet? No? Ok, Well, What About This New Decapitation?" It takes two for terrorism to work.

Not saying the media should hide news or not report what's going on, even if that can benefit the enemies of the United States and our allies. However, most outlets I was watching crossed the line of reporting and amplifying the signal ISIS wanted to send out. Sean Hannity might as well run PR for terrorist groups.

However this isn't all the media's fault. You can't blame the media for making you afraid in the same vein of you can't get mad at a haunted house for scaring you. It's system we're paying into. There's a market for fear.

That's what most of the news is today, a big haunted house. We pay to show up, get scared for an hour, and walk away not thinking too much about what we saw anymore. Happy Halloween, now watch this report on American Ebola victims.

It's far more palatable for people to buy that fear. It's more exciting to be afraid than to realize the Vegas odds of something significant happening to you is incredibly low. You're not going to get caught up in gang violence, no one is going to molest your kid, ISIS isn't going to blow up your living room and no one is kicking down the door to shoot up your classroom. Unless of course you're a black male reaching too quickly for your wallet. Then you should probably think about what's being reported.

Last year I wrote an article about Azodicarbonamide, a chemical that's used in almost every food in the U.S., and in Yoga Mats. It's banned to even be apart of containers for food in Europe. ISIS isn't going to kill you, but Azodicarbonamide might.

Unfortunately things with long words or involving science like climate change can't be summed up in a sexy 15 second clip on prime time news. But apparently, Muslim extremists on the other side of the world doing donuts in a rusty tank can do just that.