Doom Loop (noun) – A scenario in which one negative development causes another negative development, which then makes the first problem worse. A vicious cycle.
Fear-based messaging is a compelling political tool that has been used to shape policy often at the expense vulnerable communities. A growing example of this has targeted governing practices in San Francisco. San Francisco has seen a barrage of criticisms lately, focused on blatant crime and open-air drug use among its streets. Local and national news have made these topics the centerpiece of a “doom loop” narrative that is plaguing a once thriving and desirable city. It has become a way for stake holders to denounce city governance as the dangerous origin for social chaos. Most notably, CNN’s “What Happened to San Francisco?” documentary special, which paints San Francisco as a failed city that is out of control and dangerous. In an article written by Jay Barmann, he points out how the fear bolstered by this commentary has targeted the “liberal agenda” and has constructed a perception of crime in San Francisco, that even has residents screaming foul. In a city traditionally known for its avant-garde policies and liberal population, residents are now questioning if these policies are actually working in addressing public safety. As residents are being bombarded with these messages of despair, it seems they are slowing wavering in their support for progressive governing. What may come of this, just might be a political shift that harms the well-being of the community more than the perceived doom on San Francisco’s streets.
Foley, Kristen, "The Doom Loop: The Subtle Art of Fear-Based Messaging in Politics" (2023). GGU Law Review Blog. 112.