In the midst of an ineptly managed pandemic and ineptly managed civil unrest and economic fiasco people try to make sense of it by reading everything they can. Scrolling through post and news story after news story is called “doomscrolling” and it destroys your mental health. Sadly, much of the bull shit is not from random social media posts but from actual experts who spew nonsense.
Back in 2016, fake social media posts from fake social media accounts were used to incite fear and hysteria, with attempts to start riots. I documented this in detail back in 2016.
Today we again have fake social media posts being used to incite violence, looting, arson and anarchy – none of which leads to productive solutions to bona fide injustices and societal problems. Social media is playing a central role in this non-productive destruction of our society – and is not providing a platform for problem resolution.
A fake study cherry picks the start date of the pandemic to make a false claim that billionaires became far richer due to the pandemic. The actual purpose of the “study” is propaganda messaging using the methods of cherry picking, appeal to authority, and emotion. The errors made are large enough to be treated as lies, as well.
A national TV reporter hyperventilates on a live broadcast about people not wearing masks as someone walks by and points out his own crew isn’t wearing masks either. Because this is faked news intended to get your emotions going one way or another. Television news is just a big act now days. I may not be a real TV reporter but I play one on TV …
Why I left Nextdoor.com, largely left Twitter, have left several Facebook groups and even marked most of my own blog posts about Covid-19 as private – what happened?
We all have “frames” of reference that describe various life scenarios. When we walk into a restaurant we have a “frame” that pretty much explains how we expect the restaurant experience to go. We each carry around a lot of subconscious “frames” about how we think the world works. Effective propaganda messaging links to the frames we expect the target to already have. This is not all that surprising but what is old is now new again 🙂
Much media and social media messaging is about doom, gloom and outrage even though life is, on average, among the best of times in history. This creates a warped perspective where we only see the bad and miss all that is working well.
The Guardian announces that it requires their staff to use pejorative propaganda terminology rather than the facts of atmospheric CO2 levels rising, sea level ice and temperature changes, ice mass changes and so on. Anyone who does not 100% adopt The Guardian’s perspective is to be labeled a “denier” (name calling, transference from “Holocaust denier”, get on the bandwagon). The word “climate” should be associated with “crisis”, “emergency” or “heating” (transference, fear). Shrill terminology designed to inflame and create emotional outrage is a turn off and causes readers to tune out from the issues.
Social media’s structure (and goal) is to put us into a perpetual state of outrage: “The most visible and consequential form of compromised ‘daylight’ we see in the digital attention economy is the prevalence and centrality of moral outrage.”
Newspapers worldwide have agreed to jointly engage in a global Covering Climate Now project, where newspapers and other news outlets simultaneously use their advocacy journalism to persuade readers to take action on climate. This is indistinguishable from a global, coordinated propaganda operation and may back fire, turning people off from understanding and undertaking meaningful actions on climate issues.