It was the Doors songwriter, Jim Morrison who said “Whoever controls the media controls the mind”. Putin and XI control the media in Russia and China, whereas, in the West, it’s corporations. Like it or not, your opinions are being influenced.
The degree to which your mind is being controlled will depend on the amount of time you spend consuming media. You may scoff and think this doesn’t apply to you. Maybe you think you’re in control of your opinions and thoughts, but those that think like this, those that believe in free will are the most susceptible to manipulation.
What is brainwashing?
Brainwashing according to the Cambridge dictionary is the process of influencing opinions through repetition. Propaganda is brainwashing and propaganda is public relations (PR). The grandmaster of brainwashing was Edward Bernays.
Bernays’ once said, “I decided that if you could use propaganda for war, you could certainly use it for peace.” Bernays had to rebrand “propaganda” due to the negative connotations from Nazi Germany. Instead, Bernays promoted the term “public relations”.
What’s the point of the news media?
If there’s an axe murderer in your neighbourhood then you want to know about it. This is useful information. The news, however, is a national and international circus. It serves the viewer or listener no purpose, it’s only a form of perverted entertainment.
One topic the media can align on is fear. Reenforcing our existing beliefs and making us scared is a spellbinding formula that captivates our attention and keeps us coming back for more.
Facts don’t matter
Whether it’s the Guardian, Fox News, CNN or alternative media it’s an unfortunate reality that it’s biased. Fox News became the number one cable news channel in America, making more money than CNN and MSNBC combined. This was made possible by Roger Ailes (an expert in how TV and media works).
Ailes understood something the bigger media stations at the time didn’t: facts don’t matter and aren’t profitable, people want affirmation and entertainment. Rupert Murdoch has since replicated this recipe for success around the world and others have followed suit.
The truth is boring
Bill Gates highlighted the disparity between reality and what the news media reports in a tweet: “I’m always amazed by the disconnect between what we see in the news and the reality of the world around us. As my late friend Hans Rosling would say, we must fight the fear instinct that distorts our perspective”. His tweet came with the accompanying chart.
[Chart columns from left to right: causes of death (reality), what people search for on Google, New York Times coverage, The Guardian coverage]
In the same vein, Steven Pinker and Hans Rosling convey what’s really happening around the world using data in their respective books: ‘The Better Angels of Our Nature’ and ‘Factfulness’. There’s less reason to worry than ever before yet many of us are still petrified.
The term churnalism describes what modern news media has become with pre-packaged material such as press releases replacing reported news. Journalists have become churnalists and most news media websites have become content farms.
a website that contains very large quantities of content, typically of low quality or aggregated from other sites, generated solely to ensure that it appears high on the list of results returned by a search engine.
Fake news isn’t new
Benjamin Day (1810-89) publisher of The Sun (USA) was the first to realise that a newspaper could generate the majority of its revenue from advertisements. Readership soared by charging one penny (much cheaper than the competition) and focusing on suicide, murder, and divorce.
This cheap and sensationalist formula was a major success with The Sun becoming one of the most widely read newspapers of its time. Part of this success was attributed to the Great Moon Hoax which was a fabricated series of articles that claimed the discovery of an alien civilisation on the moon.
Facebook has taken The Sun’s business model and become the biggest fake news, outrage, and envy distributor of all time.
Brainwashed by advertising
“Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don’t need”Tyler Durden
Advertisings’ job is to brainwash us into buying things we don’t need even if it’s bad for us. This is achieved through psychological tricks and lying. This started out with patent medicine in the 18th-century with snake oil and continued in the 20th-century with cigarette advertising.
It seems crazy when you look back at cigarette adverts being endorsed by doctors. How was this ever allowed? But have things changed in the 21st-century? We’re still overrun with modern-day snake oil equivalents from multivitamins (with no proven benefits) to Pop-tarts that are a “good source of 8 vitamins and minerals”.
Social media mind control
The lines between what’s an advert and what’s not are becoming ever more blurred. Social media influencers will peddle whatever makes money with paid for posts. Big Tabacco’s latest stunt for peddling death is to pay social media influencers to smoke. The e-cigarette company Juul (partly owned by Phillip Morris) was incredibly efficient at getting the American teen population hooked through the manipulation of social media.
Nazi mind control
The primary Nazi brainwashing medium was radio which was the ubiquitous technology of the time. Albert Speer was a close ally of Adolf Hitler and during the Nuremberg trials (where he was convicted) he went on to say:
“Hitler’s dictatorship differed in one fundamental point from all its predecessors in history. His was the first dictatorship in the present period of modern technical development, a dictatorship which made complete use of all technical means in a perfect manner for the domination of its own nation. Through technical devices such as radio and loudspeaker 80 million people were deprived of independent thought. It was thereby possible to subject them to the will of one man.”
Who’s trying to control you
The main ingredients for controlling mass populations are words, video and photography. Remind yourself of Jim Morrison’s quote “whoever controls the media controls the mind” and ask yourself, who’s trying to control you? Your thoughts and opinions are being manipulated whether you like it or not. Become conscious of the free will illusion and question why you think the way you do.
The mainstream and alternative media is biased and manipulative so don’t consume it or at least reduce your intake. Just as you’re selective with the food you put in your mouth, be selective with the words and imagery you put in your head.