And interesting article about the (partly justified) distrust of the media, and the extremes towards which American Politics is drifting
It's certainly easy to fall under the spell of paranoia. Since the dawn of mankind, we have been clannish and tribal animals, wary of others, fused by emotional connections. In the modern world we create tribes beyond blood -- like sports fans or, well, political parties.
The danger is that many people don't develop the rationality to tamp down the emotion, says Dr. David Reiss, a San Diego-based psychiatrist who studies personality dynamics.
"It's not so much that they're paranoid in a clinical sense, but if they feel their needs are going to be met -- or they're connecting with someone powerful -- they're basically leaving rationality behind," he says.
Then there's another deeply human element: the attraction of the story.
"If it's something that's interesting and grabs your attention, regardless of your background, it's appealing," says Villanova's Arnold. He mentions the theories about the Mayan calendar predicting catastrophe. "Look at the end-of-the-world stories we've been getting this year."