... Faux News
You may think you are joking but much of the fear is indeed spread through the media and news channels.
Sometimes I joke that the only reason to watch the news any more is "so I know what I am supposed to be afraid of today."
Try reading between the lines of any newscast. It always goes beyond just reporting facts abut the news. Note the condescending tone in the reporters voice as they talk about some group of people. Notice how they only show bystander interviews that represent their views, such as a parent parroting "You can't be to safe!" rather than the one that says "lets not go overboard worrying about this". Ask yourself if there could be another side to the story, and notice that it is usually missing or poorly represented. Listen carefully as the anchor injects brief commentary at the close of the story such as "very scary stuff". And for broadcast news (such as noon or 5:00pm news on the major networks) flip between the channels and notice that they usually have the exact same stories even when there are no major events going on.
Realize that the vast majority of people don't have time to think about what they hear, even in the off chance they know how to use critical thinking, and you should easily see how this adds up to ladling out fear and misinformation to the masses.