The Worldnutdaily Fear and Paranoia Machine

In 1964, Richard Hofstadter wrote the famous essay The Paranoid Style in American Politics, noting that the right is always marketing paranoia, preying on our fears to make us clamor for more authoritarian policies. A quick look at the Worldnutdaily front page shows that, 60 years later, they’re still doing the same thing.



In what universe are we “on the brink of war” with China?


Uh, no. Obama does not say ban guns. A lot of the ads there focus on what the government doesn’t want you to know. Conspiracies are forever being exposed, and usually with a bad picture of Obama to make it extra scary:


And they’ve always got top secret information to share with you:


And when that doesn’t work, just be vague:



And always tell them that they’d better see it fast before the government bans it:



The only thing they have to sell is fear itself.

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  • Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean nobody is out to get you … but it’s a safe bet!

  • Damnit! I knew electricity was a conspiracy!

  • andrewjohnston

    To be fair (I know, but let’s try), those are mostly ads and I’ve seen them in other places, including relatively sane sites. Sometimes you take money where it comes, I guess.

    It’s kind of a shame – I was looking forward to seeing WND justify that “brink of war with China” thing. Apparently, I missed that, which is funny because I follow Pacific Rim news. If nothing else, WND articles on China are often hilariously racist.

  • raven

    that the right is always marketing paranoia,

    They also market hate.

    Hate for nonwhites, women, gays, nonxians, immigrants, Democrats, college students, educated people, urban people, Yankees, normal people, Notherners etc..

    You name the group, they will hate it as long as it can be othered.

  • daved

    I’m reasonably sure that 1964 was 49 years ago.

    That being said, paranoia never goes out of style for these people. You see the same advertising methods used by the sellers of financial newsletters, too, interestingly enough.

  • The electricity conspiracy is that the + and – in electrical diagrams should be swapped. We are being told the opposite is true!!!11111!1one!!1

  • Moggie

    I’d secretly be pleased if IT gets shut down, because I work in IT, and presumably I’d be paid to reboot it.

  • This is something I thing we should emphasize about Republicans when we talk about their character. Many suffer from the delusion that they’re strong figures and that they are seen as strong. They’re weak-willed. They lack character and principles. They’re a superstitious and cowardly lot. Nearly every political action they take is motivated by fear mixed with hate born from that fear. Most of the remaining actions are born from a perverse, egotistical craving to control other people’s private lives.

    They are the people who, under the slightest pressure, are the first ones to scream, “everybody panic!” Terrorism has been made easier because wingnuts cave in so readily. Heck, their terrorists are outperforming the Islamic terrorists they’re screaming for us to be afraid of.

  • slc1

    Of course, the left isn’t immune to conspiracy theories. Evidence, the appearance of one Don Williams, left wing conspiracy theorist deluxe on these pages.

  • Anthony K

    I’d secretly be pleased if IT gets shut down, because I work in IT, and presumably I’d be paid to reboot it.

    If that happens, please don’t.

  • oranje

    I like that war with China is apparently against a backdrop of delicious pink frosting.

  • Alverant

    I have a friend who appears to be well informed, despite being conservative, who said recently that China and Japan are going to go to war soon. China has shifted to a war footing, started self-cenoring what is released to the public, reminding people about the atrosities Japan committed against China in WWII, and generally did the things a nation does before launching an attack. He says it’s not a matter of “if” but “when”. He says it’s because the Chinese economy is collasping and they want the resources in some Japanese islands.

    My guess is that if China attacks Japan then the US will be pulled in since we’ve been supplementing their military for decades. I’m not sure if this is considered being on the “brink” of war or just exaggerating the way Weather Channel does when it names a blizzard.

  • Crip Dyke, MQ, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    China has started self-cenoring what is released to the public…





    okay, now I’ve completely lost it. I’ll be giggling here all week…

  • andrewjohnston

    @Alverant: Your friend is not far off. There’s a territorial dispute (actually several, but this is the major one) between the PRC and Japan over the Senkaku Islands that’s been broiling for a few months now. I know some people who insist that war is a foregone conclusion, but it’s hard to say, really. What usually happens is China sends some ships and/or aircraft really close to the disputed line, everyone holds their breath, but ultimately nothing happens.

    In terms of US involvement, there really hasn’t been any yet. A few months back, some marines ran maneuvers in Guam, and some interpreted this as a sign of support. There’s also been some discussion in Congress, though I can’t recall if anything came out of that. It’s going to the UN next, and with their record in handling border disputes, I’m sure it’ll be the last we hear of it.

    The shitty part is that this is getting almost no play in mainstream sources. You pretty much have to go to business outlets, of all places; the mass media have been very mum on the issue, particularly in the States where there’s been a virtual blackout.

  • Alverant


    OK you’re right. Let me rephrase.

    China has started self-censoring what it tells the public MORE THAN USUAL.

  • okstop

    Of COURSE electricity is a conspiracy. Franklin was a FREEMASON!

    Batteries, however, are a Rosicrucian counter-operation.

  • ottod

    Obama looks like a Harvard-educated lawyer. How much scarier can you get than that?

  • abb3w

    The “secret/forbidden knowledge” vein seems something common in religion (particularly, Mystery/Initiate religions), though not unique to it. Possibly something to the religious mindset?

  • There are about half a dozen territorial disputes in East Asia that have the potential to erupt into a shooting war. Many of them also have the possibility of drawing the US into the conflict. The calculation China needs to make is, if they go to war with us, how are they going to get all the crap they manufacture to the Wal-Mart shelves?

  • slc1

    Re d.c.wilson

    Hey, the China crap isn’t confined to Walmart. Go to any mainline department store (e.g. Macy’s) and check the labels on the clothing there.

  • Ichthyic

    Of course, the left isn’t immune to conspiracy theories. Evidence, the appearance of one Don Williams, left wing conspiracy theorist deluxe on these pages.

    you know, this is such blatant well poisoning that I don’t even care to look to see what Williams had to say, right or wrong.

  • slc1

    Re ichthyic @ #21

    Hey, I’m sure that ichthyic would enjoy reading ole Don’s conspiracy theories. He seems to be recycling the ones he used to post over at Matthew Yglesias old blog.

  • slc1:

    I’m aware of that, but Macy’s doesn’t have the same trashy resonance I was going for.

  • =8)-DX

    Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean nobody is out to get you … but it’s a safe bet

    Isn’t there a logical corollary to that? Something on the lines of:

    Just because somebody is out to get you, doesn’t mean it’s worth being paranoid.

    I prefer that approach, it also gives a good basis for pacifism and a passive reaction to external violence, fear or hatred. Let the world throw what it wants at me, I prefer not to be afraid of it, I prefer not worrying about my everyday survival.

  • dugglebogey

    When people say “we need to make it more difficult for convicted criminals and mentally ill people to buy guns” you you hear “They’re trying to take away my guns!” what exactly does that say about YOU?