One thing we know about the media as that it will always make a situation look worse than it is.
A mild situation is made to look bad, a bad situation is made to look really really bad and so forth. and what it gives you thereby day in and day out a relentless barrage of little or large shocks and jolts that are designed to depress your mood and drive you into a quiet despair or apathy.
With that in mind , it is always fascinating to observe how the propaganda works, particularly the ways news reports are phrased and the emotional trigger-words such as “death” or “threat” (or “virus”) and so forth that are used so that the propagandist can lie without lying.
Analysing news reports to spot these little tricks can be a lot of fun.
Here are 2 recent examples:
1.) Many articles start with “such-and-such a number of people died today after testing positive for Coronavirus”.
This IMPLIES that they were all killed by the COVID19 virus but does not actually say so. As many people have been saying, they died WITH it but we do not know whether they died OF it. It does not say what specific viruses (“Coronavirus covers a whole family of viruses, including flu and the common cold as well as COVID19), or other viruses if any, were present or whether these others they were tested for at all.
It’s a bit like saying “a thousand people died today after leaving the house” and leaving us to conclude that leaving the house is what killed them.
The fact that the reports do not directly say such-and-such a number of people were killed by the COVID19 virus suggests they don’t actually know how many of those who died were actually slain by the virus. It could have been all of them or none of them or any percentage in between. We don’t know. We certainly can’t tell from the article. But the way the report is phrased ramps up or amplifies the negative emotional impact on the reader to the maximum degree.
It’s a great way to stimulate the market for antidepressants.
(2) The second example is a headline that appeared in one British paper last month: “PM’s pregnant fiance BED-RIDDEN with COVID-19 symptoms” and the first paragraph of the report tells how she was STRUCK DOWN with Coronavirus symptoms.
A nice alarming headline and equally alarming intro paragraph (which are what will show in Google results of a COV-19 search and so forth) that adds nicely to the fear and hysteria being whipped up about this virus. Note the use of “bed ridden” rather than “in bed” or even “resting up”. “Bed ridden” conjures a much more dire picture in the mind. So does “stuck down”. And of course it says Coronavirus symptoms, which could mean almost anything.
It turned out the lady, who was over 8 months pregnant at the time, was never even tested for any virus and was in bed for a few days feeling poorly but was on the the mend a few days later.
The influence of the media upon the psyche of its public can be quite crushing, deliberately so, but one way one can rise above these devious, covert little mind games is to really look closely at what they are saying, how they are phrasing it and the choice of words used – especially oft-repeated trigger-words such as “threat” or even “lock-down” which comes right out of various movie prison dramas.
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