Scaremongering and fearmongering are recognized words and behaviors that are even studied. The object is to manipulate by spreading rumors. Perhaps some mongers find it humorous. Others seem not to be aware that manipulating people, including their emotions, is a nasty habit.
Intentional manipulation. Is that not the core enterprise of religion, politics and commercial enterprise? Is the result an environment where liberty is even possible?
Which is more annoying: scaremongering or sob stories?