Title

Terror in the heartland : fear, propaganda & the social construction of the neoconservative agenda

Publication Date

1-1-2006

Degree Name

MA in Social Justice in Intercultural Relations

First Advisor

Janaki Natarajan

Abstract

In the midst of a war, both outside the borders of the United States and within, America is in a time of turmoil and unrest. A current of fear and suspicion is rampant in American culture. The purpose of this inquiry is to look inside this phenomenon through two central and powerful entities that are guiding forces politically, economically and culturally: Neoconservatives and the Christian Right. This inquiry is a socio-communicative study that explores messages of fear that are conveyed by both sectors through the mass media, while maintaining a clear understanding that both these groups are neither the same nor monolithic. Grounded in the political and cultural theory of Stuart Hall the research examines the influential work of Leo Strauss, the birth of neoconservatism, the neoconservatives in the current Bush administration and the role of religion within this playing field. Between the dates of June 20th, 2005 and December 23rd, 2005 media clips were gathered and analyzed for content portraying elements of fear, militarism, extremism and hate language. In addition, interviews with four experts in this arena were conducted, and relevant literature and media sources (documentaries, websites) were reviewed. The media collection and interviews used in this study were drawn from the production of the documentary, Hijacking Democracy: American Extremism and the Politics of Fear, from the Media Education Foundation. This study hopes to shed light on the identities of the key players, the relationships between these entities and the similarities in messages of fear delivered in mass media.

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