Fall 2003 vol 3.1
An Interview with Barry Glassner
William Ryan
MICHAEL MOORE used Barry Glassner's book The Culture of Fear (2000) as research for the Oscar-winning documentary Bowling for Columbine. The film’s telling comparison of Windsor, Canada, and Detroit, two demographically similar and neighboring cities with dramatically different crime statistics, is based on Glassner’s research.
   His other books include Our Studies, Ourselves (2003 with Rosanna Hertz), Career Crash (1994), and The Gospel of Food (in progress). His articles have appeared in American Sociological Review, Social Problems, American Journal of Psychiatry, Journal of Health and Social Behavior, among other journals. His honors include University of Southern California Associates Award for Creativity in Research; Fellow, Los Angeles Institute for the Humanities; author of a book (The Culture of Fear) on "Best Books of the Year" lists: Los Angeles Times and Philadelphia Inquirer.
   The Culture of Fear explores a relationship between societal ills––crime, anxiety disorders, alienation, etc.––and the accumulation of fears, both real justifiable fears and unjustifiable fears fabricated by media. His research reveals a curious cultural mechanism that perpetuates fabricated fears while the causes of real fears go uncorrected.
   This telephone conversation took place on May 21, 2003.

William Ryan: I thought we’d start by seeing if we’re both on the same page regarding one of the primary hypotheses of your book, The Culture of Fear, and please excuse the over-simplification for the sake of some kind of orientation to this interview. My understanding of it goes something like this:
   Largely due to profit-driven, TV news programming and therefore the need to market news in a way that attracts advertisers, we constantly view a representation of our society that is not only inaccurate but causes us unnecessary fear, including fear of each other. So as TV news inundates us with various unjustifiable fears, we feel unnecessarily and generally threatened. For example, as crime actually decreases, our perception—based on TV coverage—is that crime is increasing. In the book you provide a wide variety of examples. We might feel threatened by bacteria, or medicines we’re taking, or black males, or angry drivers, or child abductors, or cyber-smut, and so forth. There’s a long list. Is this a fair place to begin?

Barry Glassner: Yes, I think it certainly is fair to say that Americans for the most part live in a televisual environment. I would suggest that there are three major sources for fear-mongering in the US, and the news media is one of those. Among the news media, in my view, television news is the worst offender. And in particular local TV news is the worst of the worst. The motto truly is “If it bleeds, it leads.” As you watch local TV news pretty much any day in any city in the US, you’ll get the impression that crime is out of control, that there are dangers awaiting you everywhere you turn, and from everyone you see.
   Network TV news is only a little better, and I think the reason is in both cases the perceptions by the producers that success in the ratings depends on keeping people anxious so that they’ll continue to tune in. Now, having said that, I don’t want to let the print media off the hook—in particular, newsmagazines are very prone to fear-mongering. Recently, for example, the covers of Time, US News, and Newsweek had virtually identical covers. The word SARS was in huge letters, and it was written on a hospital mask on a person’s face, and that filled the entire cover. Some of the headlines in the stories in those magazines made it sound as if SARS were going to wipe out the planet. Some of the articles were more levelheaded than others, but certainly the covers were all terrifying. This was about something for which at that point there had not been a single death in the U.S., and the number of deaths worldwide was miniscule compared to major killers like diarrheal diseases, AIDS, and so forth.

W.R.: Now we have Mad Cow coming, according to today's news.

B.G.: (Chuckles) Coming back again, right.

W.R.: In a broad sense, I was thinking that no matter what we produce, whether it’s a news program, or a lecture for the classroom, or a book, or movie, or a web site, or a billboard, or a literary journal, we seem to try to package it in a provocative way in an effort to capture the attention of the audience. We seek a provocative image or article—or a provocative interview—so in a way maybe we’ve all learned about the hook from advertisers. It occurred to me this morning that the paperback of your book, The Culture of Fear, is packaged in dramatic black, with the word FEAR in caps, in caution-orange, in oversized font. That leads me to the question—is the fear-mongering you analyzed in the book intrinsic to a society dependent on consumerism? And, therefore, is it something we must learn to live with, rather than try to remedy or change in any way? If so, what besides reading your book can we do to help ourselves live with it?

B.G.: Right. Let me say first that in the new printing of the book the publisher changed the orange to red, so I don’t know if that indicates even greater danger (chuckles).

W.R.: We might have to look at the terror-meter.

B.G.: It certainly is the case that any product in the U.S. and in most other parts of the world will need to grab the audience’s attention. When you mention a professor’s lecture—and I think you raised a good point of comparison, and that I’ve thought a lot about because I’m a college teacher—it seems to me that what local TV news does is often the equivalent of a professor’s gearing his or her syllabus around popular violent movies that have a substantial number of attractive young actors without their clothes on. If I gear my course that way, I’ll probably get a higher enrollment and better attendance. But it’s probably not a responsible thing to do unless I teach a course on action films with nudity. The local TV news producer who chooses to chase police cars is making a choice that is probably going to pay off in ratings, but that fact alone does not justify the choice. As a college professor, my job is to make the material that many eighteen-year-olds find boring interesting. Or at least to give them reason to be interested in it. The news producer’s job is not terribly different from that. If they are doing a good job, they are informing the public about the key issues that affect a lot of people and have significance for the future. And if I’m teaching my course well, I’m bringing them the best material available and helping them to understand it, or I’m helping them understand approaches to reading texts, or to conducting an experiment. In the case of the TV news producer, that means finding ways to tell compelling stories about the real problems, dangers, and issues in the community and the larger world. Doing that may not be as easy as following the police car and watching the police officer throw someone against the car, or what’s very common these days, flying a helicopter and watching the police chase. But it’s the task they will undertake if they are doing their jobs.
   An example that comes to my mind is the cost of health care insurance. In the past few years, 70 million Americans have been without insurance at one time or another. You compare that to the number of murder victims, or SARS victims, or victims of shark attacks or any of the other dangers that the TV news blows out of proportion, and it’s quite a difference. So it seems to me the question that needs to be asked is, “Can a TV news outlet compete in the marketplace while telling stories about health care crises?” And it seems to me that the answer to that is obviously yes. These stories are very dramatic. They involve real people, they can be very emotional, they can be personalized, they can be put together by chasing ambulances instead of police cars, or by stationing reporters at emergency rooms.
   But you seldom see those stories. And that suggests to me that part of the problem here is that television news media has become addicted to its own reporting habits. And that they’re not very helpful habits.

W.R.: Thinking about eighteen-year-olds in the classroom…. It seems to me that reading The Culture of Fear is a step toward understanding fear-mongering as a sales strategy and gaining objectivity on the process. Is an objective analytical perspective of TV news or of TV in general more difficult for recent generations, since media-generated perspectives of society have become ubiquitous and in some ways for some people inseparable from reality?

B.G.: When I’ve looked at studies of who is most affected adversely by TV news, it would appear to be the elderly, not the younger generation. Part of the reason for that is that a substantial number of older people spend many hours watching the television news, considerably more time than college students that are not flunking out.

W.R.: Are there special kinds of impediments that young people face in trying to understand the effect of media on their lives?

B.G.: Yeah, I think it is true that the younger a person is the more likely he or she is to take for granted what some scholars call the “televisual environment.” It’s just a part of the natural world. In that sense it’s harder to have a separation. But the flip side of that coin is that younger people tend to be more skeptical and cynical about what they’re seeing on television. They don’t tend to take the reports as literally as older people do.
   So I think there are two forces operating there that result in a kind of cynical acceptance that I think is not particularly helpful for citizenship, and is somewhat distinctive for that generation.

W.R.: In the Age of Information, some of the information out there is about us, about our private lives, about what we buy, where we buy it, what web sites we frequent, what kind of car we drive…. There’s software that scans for flagged words in our e-mail, our electronic correspondences are available to our employers in some cases, there’s a copy of our web behavior on the server, the FBI can find out what books we order online, to say the least. According to Freud we have a fundamental fear of being exposed in public. He thought that our dreams of public nudity related to this broader kind of fear of social exposure. As someone who has studied this, how do you rank the fear of public exposure among the context of the abundance of fears, especially as it might relate to cyberspace, digital technology, and so forth?

B.G.: I think you put your finger on one of the prominent sources of that fear, and I think what needs to be said about it, among other things, is that it’s a confusion of realms.
   The kind of information-gathering that you’re describing is actually private exposure, not public exposure. People collecting for the organizations, and the machines collecting for those organizations, almost without exception have no interest in releasing it publicly. On the contrary, they want to use it for their own political and economic purposes. So, the comparison that comes to my mind here is the old stories, which may or may not be accurate, of people who are afraid to have their pictures taken because they’ve never seen a camera and they think it will take their souls. And when I hear some of the concerns about what becomes of our personal information, it seems pretty much the same to me as that kind of concern. I say that specifically because, again, it’s about a relatively new and relatively unfamiliar technology. If the FBI wanted to find out what I was reading twenty years ago, they were able to do that.

W.R.: Right, but is it considerably easier now?

B.G.: This notion that they can do it more efficiently now I would question. I have many more places now that I can get my reading material than I could back then. So for every gain in online buying, or access to my online files, they lose with the addition of other options.
   I don’t mean to minimize the importance of privacy, but again it seems to me, as with many of the instances that I’ve researched, underlying that fear is a fear of technology. That came through particularly clearly for me in the near-hysteria a few years ago over cyber-porn and how that was going to destroy young people. Almost from the very beginning when the material started appearing online, parents had quite convenient ways of blocking it on their children’s computers. Paradoxically, more recently, it has become more difficult to block than it was during the period of the hysteria.

W.R.: Why is it more difficult now?

B.G.: At least two reasons. One is that adolescents and even children in recent years have become much more adept at undermining the blocking software; and secondly, because the volume of material is such that it is harder for the programs to do their job. Now having said that, I want to emphasize that any parent who wants to block this has a very high probability of success if they do a little research into which internet services to subscribe to.

W.R.: I guess that could be a problem in itself. It's probably becoming less and less the case, but a lot of people of parenting age are intimidated, as you've pointed out, by some sort of fear of technology itself and, therefore, don't set up the blocking software.

B.G.: That’s the bigger problem. That’s really the issue. And you know, what I find in a fair number of these cases of fear-mongering with regard to dangers to children—it’s actually the parent’s fear that’s playing itself out. Probably the most unfortunate example of this that I’ve studied is the fear of children’s being kidnapped by strangers, and kept for a long time or killed.

W.R.: And that it will be facilitated somehow through the computer?

B.G.: Yes. One means by which this is supposed to happen is through the computer, and I have written about that in The Culture of Fear. But I wasn’t making that direct connection just now. I was talking about the more general issue of parents’ fears. The parents’ fears come from, obviously, hype in the media, and also from one of the other two sources I was suggesting before, the major categories of fear-mongers. Namely, advocacy organizations.

W.R.: Let's remember to get back to the role of advocacy groups. But, for the moment, what about new developments? Today, the Office of Homeland Security elevated the color-coded terrorism threat-o-meter to "orange," which is supposed to put us on a state of high alert. You did the research for The Culture of Fear and wrote it well before the attack on the Twin Towers. If you were to write an addendum to that book, what would be the focus of a new chapter, considering the effect of 9-11 and how it was covered? What key points would you want to make?

B.G.: After 9-11-01, I tried to pay careful attention to whether the situation had changed in terms of fear-mongering in the media from politicians. And if you recall, at that point, there was a great deal of talk about how “everything changed,” and obviously that wasn’t going to happen. But it did seem reasonable to assume, or reasonable to hypothesize, that fear-mongering about very unlikely dangers of the sort that I wrote about in several chapters in my book would virtually disappear. I mean, how could you continue to devote your newscasts and other public discourse to shark attacks after the World Trade Center attack? And if you recall the summer of 2001, shark attacks were one of the two stories you were likely to hear if you turned on TV news. The other was dangers to interns in Washington, DC, from philandering politicians.
   What I found was that immediately following 9-11, that sort of fear-mongering did disappear almost completely from the public discourse. TV newsmagazines and the newsweeklies promptly stopped talking about shark attacks and scary conduct. And likewise, many of the other scares that I wrote about disappeared—like the latest incident of workplace violence didn’t make the news. Attacks in schools didn’t make the news. I think part of the reason for this is clear—thousands of lives were lost in 9-11, and the threat of terrorism seemed pronounced. So even producers of local TV news programs couldn’t really do what they were doing before. But within about three months, what I was finding was—and this continues to be true—the new reporting and political discourse went back pretty much to what it had been before, with the addition of terrorism as another scare.
   I don’t want to minimize the gravity and horror of those attacks on 9-11 in any way, but we do need to keep in mind what the relative risk is here. One thing I did was to look at the number of lives that were lost to terrorism in the year 2001—which was the worst year for terrorism worldwide, and it was approximately 3500. The number of lives lost in the U.S. alone to automobile accidents was almost ten times as many that year. So unless terrorists become much more successful at killing people in the U.S., that danger is very remote for most everyone most all the time. And yet, what’s happened in the news coverage now is that dangers from terrorism, many of those dangers being extremely hypothetical, are added to the long list of fears that we’re told about—another set of fears blown out of proportion.
   Now, having said that, I do think there has been one change that is very substantial—and to go back to your question per se—that would lead me to a quite substantial addendum to what I wrote about in The Culture of Fear. And that is a change in what I referred to there as the “sick society” narrative.
   In that narrative, the villains are domestic, there are basically no heroes, and the story is all about the decline of American civilization. And that narrative is incompatible with a predominant one that has come to the fore since 9-11-01, which is about national unity. In that narrative, the villains are from foreign lands, and America is great. There are many implications for some of the categories of fear-mongering that I wrote about. In particular, the putative dangerousness of certain groups of people domestically and some of their behaviors. For example, in the book I talk about how in the 1990s just about every American male was portrayed as a potential mass murderer. You see much less of that now, since 9-11. It doesn’t fit with the celebration of American society, with the call on young Americans to make wartime sacrifices, with the portrayal of young American males as heroes in the fire department of New York City, and so forth.
   And at the same time, a lot of the presumed pathogens in those stories in the 1990s and earlier—stories about youth—just don’t work anymore. According to the current narrative, we’re being attacked by our enemies in part because they don’t approve of our cultural products. So there’s considerably less blame these days—less blaming I should say—of American popular culture than there was before. We can’t be defending it in Afghanistan, Iraq, and elsewhere and at the same time claim it’s the worst thing in the world, that it’s destroying our youth. So I do think in that regard there’s been a noteworthy significant change.

W.R.: In the final chapter of The Culture of Fear you allow yourself some reflection on the research. "The fear-mongering stories on TV,” you wrote, "are oblique expressions of concerns about problems that Americans know to be pernicious but have not taken decisive action to quash, problems such as hunger, dilapidated schools, gun proliferation, and deficient healthcare for much of the population." And you go on, "Will it take an event comparable to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor to convince us that we must join together as a nation and tackle these problems? This time we do not have to put our own lives or those of our children at risk on battlefields halfway around the globe."
   But we did go to war; we did have a Pearl Harbor of sorts, though that probably isn’t an accurate characterization and might be kind of fear-mongering in itself. But we did join together as a nation, the media told us, after 9-11, but not to tackle problems such as health care or hunger. We seem to have rallied around an administration that, in fact, wants to cut funds for programs that might remedy these kinds of problems, and at the same time run up the public debt. So we’re now spending billions on homeland security, spending money that could be spent on education, health care, and so forth. This seems to be a current illustration of your notion that we turn our attention to mistaken threats at the expense of things that truly threaten a society?
   Concerning this issue that's been much talked about lately, the trade off between homeland security and the loss of privacy or in some cases the loss of civil rights or assumed liberties…. There have been efforts to generate legislation under The Patriot Acts that at least potentially seem to provide authorities with the ability to undermine both our privacy and our civil rights. I read an interview with you in which you stated that, "There is a healthy debate about which changes can be made to help discover terrorist activities and plans without sacrificing our cherished freedoms, and there is an inherent paradox, because if we sacrifice civil liberties over the long run, we come to feel less secure because we have sacrificed a key part of what makes America unique and precious, and that we could move to a position that will ultimately increase our level of fear by moving too fast and making changes." So I’m wondering now, as some of this is played out, do you still think there is a healthy debate about this issue? And what has been the progress? Do you think we are now sacrificing unique and precious civil liberties in order to reestablish some sense of security that Americans expect of our society?

B.G.: I think that some of the legislation has done precisely what you’re describing. The debate I was describing in that interview I think is continuing, but I think that much of what has happened in the very recent past has undercut the debate and moved attention away from it. People and organizations concerned with civil liberties have a very big job ahead of them in the coming years if those protections are going to be restored.
   In a larger sense, I think your question is really on the issue of unity in the country. And on that matter, what I was wondering about in the final chapter of the book was a scenario that I was in fact hoping would have come about in the past couple of years, that I have been disappointed to find has not come about. While it’s true that the country has been largely united around war efforts, with notable exceptions from vigorous peace movements, that has been pretty much the extent of the national unity.
   I’m not a historian, but my understanding of American history is that in other periods this has not tended to be the case. When the country has been united for a common purpose in response to an attack or other clear danger to the nation, the sense of unity has included common sacrifice and the concern for the well-being of U.S citizens more generally. In some periods, at least, programs have come into being that have, for some period of time, improved the lives of substantial numbers of Americans in lower-income groups, the GI Bill being probably the most obvious example. At this time that certainly does not seem to be what’s happening. Instead what seems to be happening is the continuation of what I called in the book “misdirection,” which is a magician’s term. If I want to make a coin disappear from my left hand, I need to get you to look at my right hand for a moment. The dangers from terrorism seem to be used in a large number of cases by politicians and others for the purpose of misdirection away from domestic issues and in particular away from the sorts of problems that I alluded to in that passage from the book that you just read.

W.R.: If we can jump to your appearance in the Michael Moore film, Bowling for Columbine—he says in the film that he’s searching for causes, for the reasons why there is violent crime in extraordinary proportions in the States. No one seems to know. People offer possible reasons—a history of violence, poverty, racial tensions, and so forth. At this point the film cuts back to you, and you make a comment about, essentially, profit motive—that there’s money to be made in the perpetuation of a culture of fear. And we know from reading your book that it’s fear that contributes to violent crime.
   One suspects from watching the film that we are to look beyond the mere sales of handguns or ammo or burglar alarms to fully understand the implications of what you’re talking about as profit motive. In the film, for example, there are references to military adventurism or intervention as profit, references to profit from the manufacturing of missiles. In fact, Moore presents a catalogue of U.S. military aggression in Central America, Panama, Chile, and so forth. So I'm wondering—and maybe this isn’t for a scientist to speculate, I don’t know—but in your thinking how are we to understand the relationship between the perpetuation of fear and the profit motive behind it at the most profound levels, in the arena of foreign policy, for example, as it's played out in military actions? In our efforts to understand this as thoroughly as we can, should we go as far as to consider a calculated relationship between the proliferation of fear, profiteering, and something as monumental as a war, or the attack on Iraq? Should we be making these extensions?

B.G.: I think that there are many groups and organizations that live off of the culture of fear. You’ve mentioned some, and there are many others in addition. Advocacy groups, of all sorts, sell memberships by way of fear-mongering. Quacks sell treatments, and lawyers sell class-action lawsuits. Realtors sell homes in gated communities. While we may not want to call it “profit motive” per se, politicians certainly sell themselves to voters that way. They often do it based on fear.... Well, let me back up. Perhaps the most common way they sell themselves is through fear of crime, or fear of foreign enemies. And for quite a while, attracting votes based on fears about foreign enemies was deemed an unwise strategy by political strategists because of the lingering perceptions about the Vietnam War. Nine-11 ended that concern for most, if not all politicians. And so it became safe again to engage in fear-mongering and pursue those votes with a focus on foreign enemies. The approach is the same in either case, however. You can blow out of proportion the danger to individuals and their families from nameless and faceless strangers who want to rob them and kill them in their homes, and who live across town, or from nameless, faceless foreign terrorists who want to do the same thing, even more violently.
   And the question that needs to be asked, it seems to me, is, “What is the real level of danger, and whose responsibility is it for protecting citizens from that danger?” For politicians seeking votes, the answer seems to be to say, “My opponent won’t do it, and I will.” If you can make that claim stick, or make your opponent appear weak on crime or terrorism, you stand a better chance of winning. What that sets up in political contests is an impossible situation for any candidate who wants to change the terms of the conversation, or doubts the purported levels of danger.
   Or to go back to my main point about this: who wants to talk about the sorts of dangers that many more Americans actually face as a result of vulnerability to economic downturns, to layoffs from relatively inadequate funding of public schools compared to private schools, and so forth? Anyone who would raise those sorts of issues in a campaign is going to have a very hard time prevailing against an opposing candidate who says, “Pay too much attention to those things, or vote for my opponent, and you put your family at risk of being attacked in the streets or your building bombed by a terrorist.”

W.R.: We observe that in the context of postmodern literature often there’s no clear distinction between fiction and nonfiction. We could also say between Good and Evil. We might observe this tendency as a matter of intention, what might be understood as a kind of adjustment of representational art. In other words, in order to represent the contemporary world, the writer confuses the real with the imagined. Is TV news, which we turn on to see what we’ve been up to today, fundamentally fiction in your mind? And how does the special use of language figure in the fictional representation of the real?

B.G.: I think it’s fair to say that much of what we see on TV news is what we used to think of as fiction. I think the good news is that the younger generation tends just to accept that as an obvious fact. What they do with that fact is another issue. It puts them in a place where it’s difficult for them to engage as citizens or have much trust. But at the same time, the programs on television that really come to my mind to answer your question are the so-called reality shows, which are phenomenally popular. I’m not as alarmed by them as some culture critics. Most are innocuous, it seems to me, and more to the point. I think that most people who watch those shows recognize that they are "reality" in name only.

W.R.: Let me end with one more question, and I want to refer to the Michael Moore film again, Bowling for Columbine. He uses Windsor, Ontario, Canada, and its close proximity to Detroit to illustrate the great difference between violent crime rates and apparent feelings of fear in cities that are similar in a lot of ways. In both cities there are lots of guns in the homes, lots of ethnic diversity, lots of unemployment, yet they are profoundly different in significant ways related to crime. The poverty of Windsor isn’t as desperate—that seems to be one thing Moore asserts. There the low-income housing sections are pretty nice and well kept, at least the way they’re represented in the film. In Windsor, Canada, all people have access to emergency health care; the news doesn't dwell on fear-mongering; the politicians don’t assume bellicose posturing toward domestic or foreign affairs as a matter of course….
   In another part of the film, one of the creators of South Park depicts the essentially hostile environment of his high school, saying something to the effect that if you don’t get into Honors Math 1, you won’t get into Honors Math 2, and if you don’t get into Honors Math 2, you’re destined to become a washout and a failure for the rest of your life and wind up on the street or something like that. So with the creator of South Park, Moore seems to be contrasting people who vent their frustration with a hostile environment through irreverent cartoons, for example, contrasting those kinds of people with the shooters at Columbine High School.
   What I’m getting to is this assumption that we live in a hostile environment, where we can make one mistake and pay for it for the rest of our lives. Step out of line once, and you’re screwed forever. Or we can get sick, and because we are unable to afford it, won't get proper health care. I’m wondering how you rank this general all-encompassing worry and apprehension over a hostile social environment among the profusion of specific fears that you itemized and analyzed in your book. Do we walk around feeling generally and ambiguously threatened, beyond the specific fears that we can identify or are identified for us by media?

B.G.: I think there is, for many people, a cumulative effect of all these fears and scares that are blown out of proportion. For large numbers of people, there is the sense that anywhere you go and anything you do can be a fatal mistake. The driver in the next lane could be on the verge of an attack of Road Rage. The person in the next desk could be on the verge of committing an act of workplace violence and blow you away. You take your child to the playground and a stranger is going to kidnap the child. Send the child to school and another child might come with a gun or a bomb or so forth. I think we have many of those things in our minds as we go about our lives. And many of those fears and dangers we don’t need to have in our minds. I think it’s not coincidental that there are such very high rates of anxiety disorders in the U.S. in recent years.
   You started your question with Windsor, Ontario, and Detroit. I suggested that comparison to Michael Moore, and I thought he did an excellent job with the movie, and made his point very well with the comparison. The main point for me with the comparison had to do with the argument that real life violence is caused or provoked by media violence, which always seemed to me to be a suspicious hypothesis. And the Windsor and Detroit comparison seems to me evidence against the hypothesis. The kids in Windsor watch almost identical television and movies, from what I understand, to what kids watch in Detroit. So the explanation has to lie somewhere else, and I think that Michael Moore put his finger on a big part of the answer, which has to do with social supports and community engagement. I would add to that a difference in the gun cultures of the two places. While it’s true that gun ownership is high in Canada, gun laws are stricter and more effective in Canada than in the U.S. That’s one difference I would add.

W.R.: By “social supports” and “community engagement,” do you mean what the man who comes out of the Emergency Room illustrates in the film?

B.G.: Yes, health care—also, protections from the worst ravages of poverty for the unemployed and the poor in general are greater in Canada than the U.S. I think there’s no question that’s one important factor in the equation. It’s not the only factor, but it’s an important one.