Here in the US, the media and government bombard us with the imagined threat of war between the US and their allies (including NATO) and either Russia or China and their allies. Such an event would undoubtedly constitute WW3.
It's clear the interests of the State and corporate media want us to fear this war. These organizations know they are at the center of the ceaseless public discourse, and they take advantage of this fact. They do not simply declare "WORLD WAR THREE IS IMMANENT!" They sow rumors and insinuations. They publish articles about the Chinese military and how it would stack up against NATO. They pay "independent" content creators to discuss what the war might mean. No one is caught lying. After all, they just said there could be war, and of course there could be.
What function this serves them is not clear to me, however. I have a few guesses though:
War anxiety increases feelings of patriotism, causing people to accept or even join the ever-expanding military-corporate bureaucracy.
War anxiety serves as a distraction.
I really want to figure this out.