Aaaaaaaaaaaaahhh! Please excuse me whilst I scream in terror before cowering behind my sofa. Right now we should all be paralysed with fear. It just isn’t safe to step outside of our front doors, as we’re all about to be devoured by a huge Godzilla-like monster which is apparently heading our way. If the press is to be believed, there’s no stopping it from completely devastating the UK, destroying factories and banks, and leaving a trail of destruction behind it as it tramples on housing developments. It has already laid waste to the US and President Obama is desperately trying to bolster America’s battered industries before it returns. Yes, my terror-stricken friends, any day now the ‘recession’ will lumber out of the Thames and lay waste to the City! At least, that’s the impression the media are trying to give us. The way they’ve built up the threat of recession, putting the entire population in fear of their livelihoods, not to mention their homes, I can’t imagine that they’re referring to anything other than a terrifying giant monster. From the hyperbole they employ to describe its possible consequences, you’d never think that it was simply an economic cycle of a type we’ve all lived through before. Certainly, in the short-term its effects are likely to be highly disruptive to many peoples’ lives, but in the long term it will pass. At least, that’s what I thought until I started listening to all the economic commentators in the media – this time the monster will leave nothing but a wasteland behind it. A wasteland which will remain toxic for several generations to come. Those of us who survive the creature’s onslaught by hiding in caves or cowering underground, will afterward be thrown back into the stone age. There’s no defence against the beast – not even throwing huge wads of cash at it can satisfy its obscene appetites! Not that the press are scaremongering, you understand. They are merely reporting the facts. Along with a lot of wild speculation. The presenting it all in such a way as to frighten the crap out of everyone.

But it isn’t just the recession the media are trying to scare us with – it seems that anything can now be seized upon by the bastards and turned into a crisis. Take the recent bad weather we’re experienced in the UK. OK, so it was the heaviest snowfall in nearly twenty years and it inevitably caused some travel disruption. However, if we were to believe the press it was a national crisis threatening to result in the total breakdown of civilisation as we know it. They were aided and abetted in this by the police, councils and public transport providers, all of whom fuelled the fear by cancelling services, closing roads and schools and telling motorists not to travel unless it was ‘absolutely necessary’. Of course, nobody bothered defining what an ‘absolutely necessary’ journey actually was. In one especially ludicrous development, the inhabitants of one county were advised not to leave their homes. Why? Was there a risk that they’d be attacked by the abominable snowman? Or worse still, sodomised by that bastard rapist snow which was falling? There seemed to be no doubt in the media’s mind – the snow was some hideous rampaging monster rather than simply being a naturally occurring meteorological phenomena. Everything seemed to be seized on as a reason to panic. Councils were running out of salt and grit – roads would become icy death traps overnight! Well, why not just buy some more salt and grit – they’re hardly the scarcest resources in the world. Mind you, in one case it was reported that a new shipment of grit hadn’t got through! What happened – was the wagon train carrying it ambushed by Indians? Best of all was the local TV report from the ‘village that’s been cut off by the snow’. What a stroke of luck that a local TV camera crew must have just happened to have been there. It really was all a bit over the top – a bit of inclement weather and suddenly we’re all going to die horribly. But the media were loving it and very reluctant to let it go. Even after the snow melted they were gleefully reporting on cars being swept away by the subsequent floods.

Before the recession and the snow it was bird flu and knife crime which was going to lead to the collapse of society. Then there’s binge drinking, obesity and child pregnancy rates. Not to mention those gangs of paedophiles who are apparently roaming the land. The media, it seems, can always find something to try and scare us with. Fear has become its stock in trade. But why? I remember the good old days when they just used to report the facts. Nowadays, in our ratings and circulation obsessed world, just reporting the news isn’t enough, it seems. To grab people’s attention and stop them from defecting to a rival news outlet, you have to serve up something really sensational. But perhaps there’s a more sinister agenda at work here. After all, it isn’t just the media who are trying to scare the bejasus out of us all. The government is at it too – just look at the way they’ve used the so-called ‘War on Terror’ to ramp up the perceived security threat and use it to justify all manner of repressive measures, from increased surveillance to ID cards. And are there mass protests against these things? Of course not, because the authorities have created such an atmosphere of fear, that the populace has become compliant in the face of it. Maybe the media are simply taking their cue from the government and are trying to make so scared that we’ll swallow any of the shit they serve up to us. Perhaps it is all a strategy to try and prop up the plummeting sales of newspapers and boost the viewing figures of news channels. Nothing would surprise me these days. So, next time you open your newspaper, or turn on the television news, remember to be afraid, very afraid, of the way in which they are trying to manipulate you through fear! It really is a case of having nothing to fear but fear itself! So, until next time, keep it sleazy!

Doc Sleaze