Ever since reading Michael Crighton's pot-boiler, then looking around me with a newly jaded eye, I have been very aware that cultivation of a state of fear is endemic amongst politicians of every hue. (The book itself is great on ideas but short on plot, characterisation etc - more a vehicle for the theme than anything else).
Now, here's a great article on the topic (ht: NBR).
We had a leetle instance of doom-mongering locally, just after the Boxing Day tsunami. Fortunately, with a little Internet and Companies Office searching, we came up with enough conflict-of-interest goodies to ensure that the perps enjoyed a torrid afternoon with their Chair, CEO and no doubt legal counsel as well.
And with a happy result: not one peep (at least in public) from said doom-monger ever since. And an amusing blog on the topic, over here.
The pitch against state-of-fear stuff is simple, but like the battered-wife syndrome, much easier to say than to do: You don't have to live this way.