Threat Inflation

Don't let alarmist possibilities distract from more probable realities

Language and tone can magnify purported threats. Terms like terrorism are highly evocative, but they lack a meaningful definition and inflame the passions without informing.


  • Is the tone alarmist or reactionary?

  • Does the report provide a rational definition for critical terms such as terrorism or security?

Watch out for:

  • Language that promotes hypothetical future threats while ignoring pressing and immediate security needs, especially in the domestic sphere.

  • Narrow, U.S.-centric views that assume American interests are universal, benign, and shared.

Seek out:

  • Reporting that adheres to measured, thoughtful language without relying on scare tactics or alarmism.

  • Reports that acknowledge a diversity of international opinion and interest, especially in cases of marginalized populations.

  • Approaches that treat hypothetical threats realistically while remaining focused instead on solutions to threats are are pressing and extant.