Time for another Solutions Saturday. If we’re ever going to get to a point where we act like a civilized society again, we HAVE to start approaching the media (and public officials) with a discerning eye. With that in mind, I want to dissect a recent NBC Article about conspiracy theorists and the coronavirus.
First, I’d like to take a moment to quickly clarify a couple of my last posts. I am NOT among those who believe that the coronavirus is fake. I’ve said all along I believe it’s real. I do have SOME question as to how dangerous it truly is. At this point I also strongly disagree with some of the draconian, fascist measures being taken by SOME government officials in the name of protecting people. I think at this point we CAN begin to carefully open things back up in responsible ways. I also disdain the censorship and ridicule being spread by the media and government.
With that said, let’s get to the article from NBC. First, a link to the story.
We’re led into the story with a sensationalist, yellow journalism style headline. We’re led to believe that conspiracy theorists are somehow disrupting or clogging Emergency Rooms at hospitals. The trouble is, if you read the story, there’s absolutely NOTHING about that happening. The headline is a complete LIE.
If you read the story carefully, what you’ll find is that the first portion of it actually details the stories of a couple of doctors trying to reason with conspiracy theorists on social media, presumably on their off time. If they’re social network debating at work, as paragraph four suggests, you have wonder why they are doing so instead of helping patients.
The Lead In Picture:
Here’s another game of deception. If you don’t look closely at the small print description beneath the photo (in the story), you would assume that the protest being pictured is in front of a HOSPITAL. That’s what the headline said, right? Well, the picture is actually taken in front of the Connecticut governor’s house.
The paragraphs that follow are designed to subtly give the reader the impression that it IS in front of a hopsital though. Not only that, but the sign in the picture saying “Fake Crisis” is also used by the story to tie anyone disagreeing with lockdowns to conspiracy theories.
How do I reach that conclusion? First hand experience with the media during the Atlanta Olympic Games. Note the sign says. “Fake CRISIS”, NOT fake disease. That person may very well feel that the disease is real, but not quite as dangerous as it’s made out to be. I can certainly argue that point statistically myself. They likely also simply want to return to work. At NO point does the story interview this person to find out what they believe or want. We’re simply left with the implied assertion that they’re a rabid conspiracy nut.
Note the flag on the car participating in the drive-by portion of the protest too. This was included in the shot to connect patriotism to deranged thinking also.
CONTINUING THE STORY…
We read how painful this social media interaction is for these doctors. At NO point does anybody bring up the the nearly thirty year old maxim for avoiding this kind of crap. “DON’T FEED THE TROLLS”! If you don’t want the drama, walk away! Nobody is forcing these poor abused doctors to get into pissing contests with these trolls.
THEN we suddenly make the leap to other doctors sharing “similar” experiences of treating patients with COVID-19. The story cites ONE specific case of an idiot ending up in the ER after drinking bleach. The article doesn’t even specifically say it was in an effort to prevent or treat COVID-19, nor does it quote the patient as saying that was the reason, just that he did it.
The story THEN points out that this happened just DAYS after President Trump suggested injecting disinfectants to kill the disease. The story completely fails to mention that Trump was being sarcastic and trolling the media.
THAT said, I will admit that was another classic Trump foot in mouth moment. He should have realized that:
1) the media would run with it regardless.
2) There’s always some idiot that will do any stupid thing a politician suggests. Remember the guy who was arrested for shooting a shotgun into the air after Vice President Biden suggested that was all that was needed to chase off burglars?
We have to get our Trump bashing in the story somehow though, right? Speaking of which, the second picture is a perfect example of stereotyping Trump and anyone who supports him. As with the first picture, there was no attempt at objective journalism and asking the man pictured what his exact beliefs were, nor did they really show anyone else at the Reopen Oregon Rally.
The picture was about taking Trump supporters and people who want to return to work,and connecting them to conspiracy theories and deranged thinking. The media used to do the same thing with the TEA party also. Taxed Enough Already is what it stood for. All most members wanted was better accounting of government spending and reduction of waste.
Getting back to the story, the next paragraph goes:
“Folks delaying seeking care or, taking the most extreme case, somebody drinking bleach as a result of structural factors just underlines the fact that we have not protected the public from disinformation,” Maru said.
Yet there’s no specific cases mentioned, even in the case of the bleach drinker, where this DID happen. At best, it’s elementary school level sloppy writing. At worst, it’s complete BS. No doubt there are cases where this has happened, but the story doesn’t even come close to providing proof that it’s serious to the point of breaking ERs.
They don’t even let the doctor define “structural factors”. Note any time you see vague euphemisms like this, it’s because the speaker or author is trying to dance around exact wording to make a case that couldn’t otherwise be made. The NBC reporter DOES go on to define “structural factors” on their own as Social Media and YouTube.
The Remainder of the Story:
What follows is several more paragraphs highlighting some of the most outrageous conspiracy theories out there, rationalizing why people need to censored for the public good. We get precious little facts, just innuendo that anything disagreeing with the official line is bad. That includes emotional manipulation like this:
“It scares me more than anything that there are people who are basically controlled — and in the same way they feel they’re fighting against that control,” he said. “They go to YouTube, where they’re really being controlled, and they don’t realize it. That’s what’s scary.”
What you get from the remainder is a ton of rationalization for MORE censorship when social media and YouTube are already banning anything that even remotely disagrees with the WHO and it’s Chinese masters. The twitter video I had posted in a previous post that showed the WHO official hanging up on a reporter after being told that Taiwan was not China being a perfect example. It’s GONE now.
How was THAT any threat to anyone’s health at all? All it did was call attention to a corrupt bureaucrat whose loyalty laid more with China than his agency’s stated goals.
The Bill Gates conspiracy theory never explains why Gates & friends would patent an earlier version of the Coronavirus either. No, I don’t believe it was to make COVID-19. However, patenting a disease is sick first of all. Secondly, it blocks anybody else from researching it or engineering a cure or vaccine based on the disease’s genetic structure.
That’s a far cry from trying to kill off people with a new virus, but it is filthy greed and capitalism at it’s absolute worst.
Likewise, the Wuhan lab thing is quickly discounted as a wild hoax. Understandable right? China hasn’t lied to us about anything COVID-19, such as it not being able to affect anyone under 20, right? The lab may not be a weapons lab, but it’s a lab. If it doesn’t exist, as NBC claims, how do we explain these stories:
Those from The Washington Post, CNN and the Daily Beast. None of whom are friendly to Trump. The lab story is all a hoax though.
Ironically, the story ends with one of the doctors swearing off social media, after two separate yet completely unsubstantiated claims of organized harassment of doctors. What it does mention is that the doctor was greeted by New York City’s nightly banging of pots and pans and other noise making as a salute to health care workers as the interview was wrapping up. Some attack on doctors, huh?
What wasn’t said in the story? Aside from any real evidence for the claim in the headline…
- That we have civil liberties in this country that are supposed to protect freedom of speech
- That there are already multiple variations on fraud laws for people touting fake cures for anything.
- That there’s any difference between people wanting to return to work and conspiracy theorists.
- That just because the WHO and China calls something a lie does NOT mean it’s so.
- That dissent and peaceful disagreement are SUPPOSED to be the hallmarks of a free society and healthy democracy
- That conspiracy theories arise because people instinctively know when they’re being bullshitted by their so-called leaders.
- Any sort of objective look at such a dissenting opinion.
- Some small percentage of idiots will believe anything no matter how much you try to convince them otherwise or limit their access to information. Limiting that access only proves them right in their minds.
In short, it’s largely just an effort to discredit the alternative media, and tie conservatives to whackadoo ideas. Journalism is supposed to be reporting facts documented with supporting evidence, NOT emotion based manipulation.
So there you have it. Some of the manipulation is pretty subtle, like the messages NBC was trying to send with the two pictures included in the story. Some of it was as subtle as a freight train, like the story’s efforts to tie Trump to the conspiracy theorists.
Regardless there was nothing truly supporting the claim made in the headline. Just enough implied superficial connections to get somebody skimming the article to go blindly along with it.
If you really want to break free, you have to read in depth and analyze what’s both implied and outright said. Skimming is shutting down your brain and letting somebody else do the thinking for you. You’ll always be led around by the nose that way.