Marketing makes terrorism a top issue for US voters
PARIS — The Global War on Terrorism is the most successful marketing campaign in American history, if polling results are any indication. The creators of Nike’s “Just Do It” and those Anheuser-Busch “Wassup” ads should pass the mantle. The GWOT campaign has outdone them by keeping terrorism front and center in Americans’ minds, even ahead of issues that play an inescapable role in their daily reality.
In the 2016 presidential election, 80 percent of registered voters considered themselves very concerned with terrorism, making the issue the second most important behind the economy, just ahead of foreign policy, according to a Pew Research poll. Four years later, a similar survey by Gallup has found that, yet again, 80 percent of grown-ups in America are worried about terrorists.
Let’s break this down.
All over the world, governments have intruded into the daily lives of citizens by instituting economy-killing lockdowns, limiting their freedom of movement and assembly, and imposing sanitary protocols under threat of criminal penalty — all while bombarding them with statistics about the most successfully marketed infectious disease in the history of mankind: COVID-19. But not even COVID-19 can muster the level same level of concern that GWOT has managed, with only 62 percent considering it a “very important” issue, according to a new Pew survey.
When our fearful leaders collectively lost their minds over this non-plague and listened to the sanitary hardliners in their midst who favored the draconian lockdown tactics employed by the Communist Chinese Party, the U.S. economy and jobs were flushed down the toilet. We’re still trying to climb back out of the bowl. Yet economic concerns are on par with terrorism.
And spare a thought for poor climate change, peddled nonstop by leftist dupes who clutch their pearls every time the weather makes them turn on their air conditioner or heater. These are the same people who pontificate about an angry Mother Earth being the cause of forest fires and bringing damnation upon sinful carbon bigfoots, even when it turns out that someone had set California ablaze with a pyrotechnic device at a gender reveal party. They haven’t yet realized that the climate change campaign is just a ploy to shake loose more tax contributions. On the bright side, only 42 percent of voters buy into the nonsense and consider the issue critical in this election cycle, according to Pew.
While it’s reassuring that voters can see through and relativize some of the overplayed issues, the fact that terrorism still looms so large in many of their minds — and out of proportion to their day-to-day realities — raises some critical questions. Until there’s a better understanding of what kind of terrorism people fear, it’s likely to remain a preoccupation.
It would be interesting to know how average American voters define their personal fear of terrorism, and who they feel would be responsible for terrorist acts. A good place to start would be to ask who they believe was responsible for the terrorist attacks that took place on U.S. soil on Sept. 11, 2001.
It was wealthy and prominent Saudi Arabian citizen Osama bin Laden who masterminded the 9/11 attacks from a cave in Afghanistan. His plans were carried out by mostly Saudi attackers. Saudi Arabia has also provided material support to ISIS, a brand-name terror group that likely pops up when you ask people about their top terrorist concerns.
But U.S. government officials routinely portray Saudi Arabia as a great ally. When was the last time you heard a top federal official talk about the Kingdom’s involvement in promoting radical jihadism? If the U.S. were serious about eradicating terrorism, why don’t government officials ever name and sanction the perpetrators of it?
Due to this lack of awareness, many Americans probably wouldn’t attribute their terror fears to the actual perpetrators. So how can they properly assess the rationality of their fear? Many Americans would likely name Iran as a source of terrorism despite the fact that it has never perpetrated a terrorist attack on American soil.
Terrorism is routinely overblown as an election issue, and the relentless, manipulative marketing campaign to keep fear at the forefront is to blame.
(Rachel Marsden is a columnist, political strategist and host of an independently produced French-language program that airs on Sputnik France. Her website can be found at http://www.rachelmarsden.com.)