Alarmism is excessive or exaggerated alarm about a real or imagined threat, such as the increases in deaths from an infectious disease. In the news media, alarmism can be a form of yellow journalism where reports sensationalise a story to exaggerate small risks.
They may also be seeking to preserve feelings of omnipotence by generating anxiety and concern in others.
The charge of alarmism can of course be used to discredit a legitimate warning, as when Churchill was widely dismissed as an alarmist in the 1930s.
- 2009 flu pandemic
- 2012 phenomenon
- Cassandra complex
- Climate change alarmism
- Culture of fear (fear and anxiety in public discourse)
- False alarm
- Fear mongering
- Hypochondriasis (excessive fear of illness and physical harm)
- Mass hysteria (public fear in large populations)
- Moral panic (threat to societal values)
- Scaremongering (use of fear to influence the opinions)
- Sociology of disaster (a special branch of sociology)
- The Boy Who Cried Wolf (the fable of Aesop)
- The Sky Is Falling (the fable of Chicken Little)
- David Murray, Joel Schwartz (May 25, 2008), "Alarmism is an infectious disease", Society, 34 (4): 35, doi:10.1007/BF02912206
- "The Risk of Poor Coverage of Risk". Columbia Journalism Review.
- P. Gilbert, Overcoming Depression (1999) p. 88-90
- T. Pitt-Aikens, Loss of the Good Authority (1989) p. 99
- M. Makovsky, Churchill's Promised Land (2007) p. 140-1
- Panic Watch - Lists and blogs concerning media panic, health scares, paranoia, and conspiracy theories