Fear: we really need to fear the media and politicians
I've been slowly reading The Culture of Fear, by Barry Glassner, over the last month. It's a somewhat interesting book, but not interesting enough to read that carefully. Distilled into my philosophy: do not trust anyone who has a vested interest in getting you to listen to them. This applies to the media and to politicians. The media want you to watch their news shows/read their newspapers, and the only way to do that is to create a sense of urgency. Politicians want to get elected or re-elected, and the only way to do that is to convince people that there is a problem that they can fix: even if the problem is not a real problem.