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Fear not. Do not be afraid. Have no fear. And jump off the media’s fear-and-panic bandwagon…..

Fear not. Do not be afraid. Have no fear. And jump off the media’s fear-and-panic bandwagon…..

By Phil Lawler ( bioarticlesemail ) | Jan 06, 2024

Here’s today screaming headline from the Boston Herald:

Massachusetts braces for nor’easter, up to a foot of snow, flash freeze, power outages: Will there be space savers in Boston?

C’mon, folks. It’s New England. It’s January. Snow happens.

The actual forecasts say there may be 6 inches of snow in Boston, and up to a foot out here in the exurbs where we live. We can handle it. What’s remarkable, really, is that this will be our first significant snowfall of the year. All the plows are ready; the snow-removal budgets are untouched. The roads should be clear tomorrow morning.

So a calm, reasonable newspaper headline would let readers know that they should pull their shovels down from the rafters of the garage, and pick up the things on the lawn that might disappear under a cover of snow. They might reconsider any plans to go out tonight. But there’s no cause for panic.

Unfortunately a “calm, reasonable newspaper headline” doesn’t generate clicks. Better to incite panic. “Fear! Worry! Check again later for details!”

Elsewhere on that same page the Herald delivers another dose:

Boston-area Covid wastewater spikes: A ‘concerning’ jump in Massachusetts cases as doctors urge people to get vaccinated.

Actually the number of Covid cases, as reported by Massachusetts Department of Public Health, was down slightly in the week that headline appeared, after rising in December. But hospitalizations always rise in December, and this year’s surge was not nearly as sharp as those of 2022 or 2021 or even 2019.

The New York Times is playing the same game, telling readers: “Covid has resurged, causing rising hospitalizations and deaths.”

Not according to the US Department of Health and Human Services, which reported late-December hospitalizations at the lowest seasonal rate since 2020.

Fear generates clicks, sells newspapers, generates ad revenues, drives vaccine sales, and escalates political rhetoric. It’s like an addictive drug. The more you worry, the more you plug into the fear-mongering media, and the hysteria builds.

Yet fear is not an appropriate attitude for any believing Christian. Resist the calls to hysteria. Remember the message that appears, in slightly different formulations, 365 times in the Bible— once for every of the year. Fear not. Do not be afraid. Have no fear.

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at See full bio.

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