I think to a large degree this is very true. I have a fantastic book called "Wisconsin Death Trip" (Micheal Lesy, 1973). This guy has written a number of books documenting the cuircumstances of "real life" in the USA's past. This book is a record, in amazing photos and period news clippings, of life in a small Wisconsin town in the 1880-90s. The author used a treasure trove of 30,000 surviving glass negatives taken by the town photographer, a remarkable record. It really puts into perspective how much safer life in the US is now. In this one small Wisconsin town, the news is an endless litany of stories about families loosing all 6 of their children in a week to whooping cough, rampant suicides, uncontrollable fires, poisonings, small pox quarantines, bank runs, dynamitings, murders of all sorts, diptheria, astonishing rates of arson ... it's amazing what those hardy folks put up with. I really agree that many things that appear to threaten us now are phantoms created by over-sensationalized infotainment dished up by a corporate media, and certain political organizations that try to maintain their control through fostering largely unfounded fears.