A recent article written primarily by a medical doctor in Alabama claimed that, “The way in which the media has pushed fear nonstop amounts to psychological warfare against this country.” He added, “If it hasn’t occurred to you that we have heard one story and essentially one story alone for literally two months, well, that should have aroused suspicion.” Is this doctor correct? Or is the media doing its best to be responsible in the midst of an unprecedented crisis?
I’m quite confident that nothing I write here will influence what the media is doing for two reasons. First, who am I that massive media organizations should listen to me? Second, fear sells and money talks.
That being said, the question remains: Is the media responsible in its reporting, helping its audience to act wisely during a pandemic? Or is the media using fear tactics to get more viewers, listeners, and readers? And if the latter is true, does this amount to sustained psychological warfare?
Obviously, “the media” is such a generalized term that almost anything good or bad can be said about it. But if we focus on the major, secular voices on TV, we can fine-tune both our questions and our answers.
One of the secrets of psychological warfare (called psywar by the military) is to try to convince enemy troops that surrender is sweet, that it is better to capitulate than to continue to fight, that defeat is inevitable.
In keeping with this, an Air Force colonel shared with me that during World War I, psywar pamphlets were airdropped among the German troops.
Shortly after the end of the war, Field Marshall Paul von Hindenburg, the Chief of Staff of the Kaiser’s Army, complained: “In the shower of pamphlets which was scattered by enemy airmen our adversaries said and wrote that they did not think so badly of us; that we must only be reasonable and perhaps here and there renounce something we had conquered. Then everything would soon be right again and we could live together in peace, perpetual international peace. As regards peace within our own borders, new men and new Governments would see to that. What a blessing peace would be after all the fighting. There was, therefore, no point in continuing the struggle.” (From the USAF Special Operations School: Psychological Operations.)
And what were the results of this strategy? Military historian Stanley Sandler writes: “As German Army discipline wavered or broke, these leaflets became responsible for defections on a large scale. Not surprisingly, Adolph Hitler termed Allied military psywar ‘psychologically efficient.’”
Today, we are not having pamphlets dropped on us from the sky in order to break our spirits. But we are hearing a constant flood of bad news. Of distressing and depressing news. Of fearful statistics. And we are reminded daily of the danger of violating the status quo.
Does this mean that all these media outlets are ill-intentioned and motivated only by financial gain? Certainly not.
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Michael Brown