UrbanDictionary.com describes it as a scare tactic as well.

This is a strategy that various governments and news media uses in order to scare you into agreeing with their policies or points of view that usually involves some kind of protection or banning something which thus enacts more and more useless laws. This also helps keep the population under control as a scared population is easier to control and is more trusting of the government.

They usually fear monger by exaggerating the story or accounting of the events by using massive hyperboles, speak of the object from a negative standpoint and never from a neutral standpoint, use certain rhetorical words such as “dangerous”, “lethal”, “contagious”, or “aggressive” and use only partial truth or no truth at all (aka lies). Usually true journalism and research is completely non-existent when using fear mongering techniques. When the story or segments airs on TV, they also use menacing or disturbing music to further bring out a fearful mood out of the viewers.The government and media were using fear mongering when they talk about any sort of bacteria or virus.

by Digital Preacher January 10, 2015