COVID-19 and The Fearmongering Campaign of Mainstream Media ~ What’s Real and What’s Not!
by Rick Wallace, Ph.D., Psy.D. | Courtesy of Odyssey Media & The Odyssey Project
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COVID-19 and The Fearmongering Campaign of Mainstream Media and the impact it is having on the public needs to be examined.
Disclaimer: I am not dismissing the coronavirus nor COVID-19; the coronavirus has been around for some time now. It is the virus responsible for the common cold. We are merely dealing with a different strain (a novel version of the virus). My youngest brother just recovered from COVID, so I dare not make light of it.
My goal here is not to dismiss the significance of this pandemic (overstated, in my opinion) but to elucidate the narrative being presented by mainstream media. In comparison, over 61 million Americans were infected with H1N1 (swine flu) in the same timeframe (Staff, 2018). The accumulative burden of H1N1 through 2018 is more than 100 million illnesses and close to one million hospitalizations (Staff, 2018). Yes, with such a statistically significant impact, H1N1 has not come close to the dramatic state of fear that COVID-19 has produced.
COVID-19 and The Fearmongering Campaign
Again, my goal here is not to suggest anyone ignore the presence of a threat, but to treat it with the same respect and significance of all of the other risks you face daily. We do not live in a vacuum, and living in a state of fear and anxiety can have devastating psychosomatic effects on our mental and physical health (Adolphs, 2013; Steimer, 2002).
Under the pressure of substantial fear, people surrender their ability to think critically and reasonably about any particular situation. When you surrender your ability to think clearly, you become vulnerable to the subtle suggestions of external stimuli — none more significant than that of mainstream media (Bernays, 1928; Burrell, 2010). We foolishly downplay the power of the media and its ability to influence how we think and how we perceive the reality in which we live.
I have included a couple of images that show how many times in different locations the number 455 has been used to influence the public perception of COVID-19. The occurrences revealed in these images do not constitute the total number of times the number was used, but they imply a level of manipulation that protrudes outside of the parameters of coincidence.
Let’s take a look at another manner in which the media is presenting a narrative out of context to incite fear. In Houston, where I live, the total number of deaths is reported at over 700; however, Harris County (in which Houston exists) is only reporting 466 total deaths according to the official site for the county. Let’s go with the higher number for the sake of argument. The media is reporting that hospitals and mortuaries are being overrun because of the uncontrollable virus. I have confirmed that many hospitals are taxed, but what is not reported is that rise in cases has actually produced fewer deaths per diagnosis. In other words, the death rate is decreasing — meaning that the virus is not as lethal as initially described. What I want to focus on here is the fact the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences identifies close to 200 licensed mortuaries in the City of Houston. So, how is it possible that 700 deaths over five months overrun mortuaries? What I can tell you is that the idea of mortuaries being overwhelmed presents a frightening image for most.
If you take the time to research and examine the facts from multiple sources, you will be able to establish a more lucid perspicacity and perception of the current state of the COVID-19 event — especially when placed in juxtaposition to other pandemics in history.
I have no desire to marginalize the suffering and loss of the victims of COVID-19. However, I think it would be foolish for us to remain desensitized to the many other risks we live with daily. We cannot give deaths caused by covid more validity that the 630,000 deaths caused by heart disease every year, or the 600,000 who die from the common flu. Today, alone, 3,287 people will leave home and never return because they will die in a car accident. That is 1.25 million people a year who die doing something we never second guess. Yet, we get in our car every day without a second thought and go about our business.
We must be willing to take a panoramic view of our environment and all of the threats within it. It is okay to challenge the narrative for the purpose of ensuring that you have all of the information that will ensure that you make educated decisions about any situation. We have far too many people demanding things for government and political figures that they do not holistically understand. There are two sides to the argument for wearing masks in public, and both have scientific merit. You have a responsibility to know both sides.
There are two sides to the debate about placing healthy citizens on lockdown for prolonged periods. Being in an isolated environment for a prolonged period (more than a week) will weaken your immune system (Liu & Wang, 2005). Additionally, social isolation can produce massive psychological implications, including depression, an increased proclivity to addiction, and premature mortality (Novotney, 2019).
Humans are mammals and, by definition, social creatures. When natural social constructs are interfered with, there will always be negative ramifications that play out over time.
There has never been a time in history in which there were no risks associated with living and providing a lifestyle for one’s family. It naturally comes with the territory. We have to use awareness of our reality to make wise and practical decisions.
I will leave you with something to ponder. It is evident that COVID-19 is having a massive impact on the global economy. Businesses are shutting down, employees are being fired and furloughed, and it only seems to be getting worse. All of the indicators ensure us that we cannot sit at home indefinitely and expect to return to a sense of normalcy. What good is it to avoid the pandemic but starve to death. If we are not careful, more people will die from lack during this time than those who die from complications of the virus. ~ Rick Wallace, Ph.D., Psy.D.
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Adolphs, R. (2013). The Biology of Fear. National Institutes of Health, Curr Biol. 2013 Jan 21; 23(2): R79–R93. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2012.11.055.
Bernays, E. (1928). Propaganda. Brooklyn, NY: IG Publishing.
Burrell, T. (2010). Brainwashed: Challenging the Myth of Black Inferiority. New York: Smiley Books.
Liu, H., & Wang, Z. (2005). Effects of social isolation stress on immune response and survival time of mouse with liver cancer. World Journal of Gastroenterology, 2005 Oct 7; 11(37): 5902–5904. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v11.i37.5902.
Novotney, A. (2019). The Risk of Social Isolation. American Psychological Association, Vol 50, No. 5 p. 32.
Staff, E. (2018). 2009 H1N1 Pandemic (H1N1pdm09 virus). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Staff, E. (2018). The burden of the influenza A H1N1pdm09 viurs ince the 2009 pandemic. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Staff, M. C. (2019). Swine Flu (H1N1 flu). The Mayo Clinic.
Steimer, T. (2002). The Biology of Fear and Anxiety-Related Behaviors. Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience, 2002 Sep; 4(3): 231–249.
 Anxiety is a psychological, physiological, and behavioral state induced in animals and humans by a threat to well-being or survival, either actual or potential (Steimer, 2002).
 “In the ‘60s and early ‘70s, we paid lip service to being black and proud, but the sudden conversion was not supported by the necessary psychological machinery to make the change permanent. Even today, we have woefully inadequate countermeasures, no permanent cultural mechanisms to undo what a 400-year marketing campaign has achieved.” ― Tom Burrell, Brainwashed
 The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. Edward Berneys, Propaganda
 “There is robust evidence that social isolation and loneliness significantly increase risk for premature mortality, and the magnitude of the risk exceeds that of many leading health indicators,” ~ Julianne Holt-Lunstad, Ph.D.