Nice, eh? I have some desire to go on a thousand-word rant about this, but I'll constrain myself. The reason this technique succeeds is twofold: 1) the media parrot back the talking point as often as the nuts scream it; 2) Democrats, when quizzed by the media to offer a solution, don't say "that's a fake emergency for which no solution is necessary; if you were even a mediocre journalist, you would have done the research to confirm its mendacity." In the Iraq debate, Dems stood up and solemnly agreed: yes, Iraq is the greatest threat to the US on the planet. On immigration, they stand up and agree: yes, the failure to stop Mexicans from running through the baking desert to come work in our apple orchards represents the greatest threat to American security--a fence is most certainly in order. On Social Security: yes, it is indeed a crisis. (Fortunately they're backing off that sufficiently that even Barack Obama, who doesn't believe it, has apologized for not being clear enough that he doesn't believe it.) On Iran: yes ... well, you get the picture.
The entire Republican Party is comprised of a coalition of hysterics. The conservative movement at this point is a negotiation among the hysterics about which phantom emergency should have primacy in scaring the populace. Why the media and Dems take them at all seriously is one of modern politics' great mysteries.