And now, even though I reiterate that this is not a political blog, I must talk more about the media. I already talked about publicity stunts and manufactured outrage. But now let’s talk about manufactured crises.
As an example, let’s have a look at an article about diabetes published on the BBC’s website today. It’s like a page out of the Evil Overlord 101 syllabus.
1. Present a crisis. “[Insert Crisis Subject Here] is costing us millions of dollars/pounds/euros!” Frame everything as a crisis! Sure to grab the reader’s attention and induce the kind of anxiety that defuses critical thinking, as well as convince the reader that OMG WE MUST DO SOMETHING ABOUT THIS NOW.
2. Target a scapegoat: A group of marginalized folk, in this case, sick people, are accused of causing their own problems because their moral characters are hopelessly flawed. This article suggests that type 2 diabetics only suffer because they are stupid, greedy, fatty fat McFattersons who don’t know how to eat right and wouldn’t bother even if they knew how. The genetic component of Type 2 diabetes isn’t even mentioned.
3. Associate the scapegoated group with unpleasant images:To add fuel to the hatemonger’s fire, they include a stock photo of belly flab to evoke disgust in the reader. The reader is being conditioned, Pavlov-style, to associate disgust with diabetes.
4. Undermine Any Support for the Scapegoat: Once the public is convinced that sick people are only sick because they’re stupid, greedy and selfish, the punishment of the sick can begin!
5. Make the Scapegoat Jump Through Extra Hoops: The onerous system of checks and balances that sick people have to go through in order to get treatment will be increased. Its proponents will claim: “We’re just checking that you live virtuously enough to deserve treatment. ” If the sick people don’t manage to jump through all these hoops, it will be considered further evidence of their moral failure.
6. Systematic Deprivation of the Scapegoat: Once the group is hated enough by the public to defuse any attempt at successful activism on their behalf, let the budget cuts commence!
This method is lot more effective at manipulating readers than telling the truth, which would sound more like: “The 1% wants more money for itself. So they’re going to reduce funding for the care of sick people. To justify this, sick people will be blamed for their own illnesses and presented in a light as revolting as possible, lest the public have any sympathy for them or attempt to speak up on their behalf.”
Here’s a secret, readers: There’s always a crisis. Crises are invented to scare us into complying with policies which are no good for us at all.
Why don’t we ever see headlines like: “Military budget crisis! We can’t attack any oil-rich countries today because war is too hideously expensive and we just don’t have enough money!”
My bet is we never will. Funny how, no matter how crisis-ridden a government’s budget is, there’s always enough money for killing people.