Creating a crisis used to be an ordeal that took days, weeks or even months. Would-be agitators had to be persistent in attempts to whip up controversy and fear.
But thanks to advances in technology and communication, as well as related declines in civility and listening skills, crisis creation has become easy.
Some would say too easy. These days the stressful event market is overflowing with emergencies.
That’s bad news for crisis producers, since an oversupply of catastrophe tends to drive down the public attention span. As the attention span dwindles, more crises—generally bigger, better and improved ones—have to be created. The escalation leads to more reduction in attention span, and a vicious, repeating cycle ensues.
There are indications the crisis glut is already reaching epic proportions. Analysts say the hysterical media index, which measures the hyper-activity level of national television journalists and radio talk show hosts, has reached “babble” level. Readings above “uproar” indicate real problems, because the higher the reading, the greater the number of crises fighting for attention.
The Associated Alarmist’s Society brushes off these worries, saying the index is flawed, and there’s no need for excessive concern over the number of crises on the market today.
A spokesperson adds, “Some people just like to cause problems.”