Shelby Cook, LISW-S
Be aware of fear mongers and how to tell the signs of a fear monger. Click here to learn more about them.
Image Title: Person In Fear
Image Description: Fearful Person
Fearmongering is not a good habit and should be discouraged. It plays on the vulnerability of some individuals to manipulate them. It is important to identify the difference between facts and fearmongering so that they can be stopped from spreading false information.
What Is Fear-mongering?
Fearmongering is the act of intentionally creating alarm or fear in public about something to manipulate others. Fearmongers exaggerate a situation to create unnecessary fear or drama to achieve their motives. 
They do this by spreading rumors and lies about impending danger to encourage people to do something in their favor. They are often marketing gimmicks to get people to buy things they don’t need to. Fearmongering can have dangerous psychological effects on people; therefore, it is important to recognize the signs of a fearmonger. 
How To Recognize A Fearmonger?
Fear mongers have the following characteristics; once you figure out a fear monger, you should be careful about what they say before you trust their words entirely. Here is how a fearmonger behaves:
· They exaggerate everything they say
· They take the liberty to speak for others and don’t let them speak for themselves
· They play the victim card and make it look as though ‘others are bad and are out to get them.’
· They dramatize everything and make everything sound way worse than it is
· They are judgemental and overgeneralize everything
· They will not do proper research into an incident and spread what they hear without verifying the news
It would help if you always did your own research regarding things you hear. Do not believe everything you hear, and if you have doubts about a person, then it might not be necessary that they are speaking the truth. Do not jump to trust them. If they are pushing you for something, then think about why they are being so persistent. What might be in it for them?
It is important to decipher between factual evidence and fearmongering, as this can be disturbing for individuals who are overly sensitive or weak-hearted. Certain pieces of news and exaggerated information can upset weak-hearted individuals and can prove to be dangerous for them as well
It is a good idea to adopt the following habits in general:
· Don’t believe everything you hear
· Be smart
· Do your research
· Always verify any piece of information that you come across and that you intend to pass on
· Do not repeat everything you hear
· Do not encourage the spread of rumors
· If you hear a piece of information, question its source and encourage others to do the same
· Avoid meeting fear mongers
The Final Word
Fearmongering is an unfavorable act and must not be encouraged. Spreading false information and exaggerating news and events can be damaging and must be stopped. Fearmongers have selfish motives behind their actions. They do it for attention or to manipulate people who are vulnerable.
Gerbner, G (1980). “The “mainstreaming” of America: Violence profile number 11″. Journal of Communication. 30 (3): 10–29. doi:10.1111/j.1460-2466.1980.tb01987.x.
Klemm, Celine, Hartmann, Tilo, & Das, Enny. (2019). Fear-mongering or fact-driven? Illuminating the interplay of objective risk and emotion-evoking form in the response to epidemic news. Health Communication, 34(1), 74-83. https://doi.org/10.1080/10410236.2017.1384429