[ German stuff ]
My understanding of mass-media is that it shapes public opinion over time by using iconic imagery, emotional appeals, repetition, suggestion, meta-story-lines -- these are not things that can be fact-checked.
For example, the British public was fed for over 30 years with "anti-Europe" stories which led to Brexit, shaping opinion leading to emotional responses like "well, we're better off without 'em (Europe), aren't we?" (without any reasoning) and "they're stealing our hard-earned cash and wasting it in Brussels" (no facts to substantiate it) -- such emotionally-driven sentiments reveal the power of media to trump facts every time by manipulating deeper human workings of the mind.
I could tell the same story about the 25 year lead-up to World War 1 where the British Empire felt threatened by Germany's growing economic & technical strength and wanted a war to put them in their place. The first thing (1880-1890 this was) was to gain control of the newspapers because they knew the power of them to shape the narrative. Germany was then gradually blamed for all sorts of things which were untrue, but it slowly built up a picture of Germany as the 'bad guys'. And then a relatively minor event (assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand) was used to trigger the war. Also in these years the Brits signed treaties with Russia (to the east, and also a competitor empire) and France (to the West) to get them 'on our side' in preparation for the engineered war with Germany.
What about the 62 million Americans who voted for Trump? Did they not do some fact-checking before voting for him? Well no, they were emotionally swayed by the rhetoric, which played on certain fears, and a clever strap-line (America First) which gave hope to those who felt they had 'lost out' in the American dream. Mass-media does the same, lobbing fears and hopes into the psyches of the masses.
So my take on Mass-media is that it is hugely influential in the big sweep of public opinion where even fact-checking (were it possible for everyone) is not going to change opinions anyway because emotional and subliminal responses to daily (imho) propaganda over-ride the facts. (I'm not saying facts have no role, I'm just saying they generally have less of a persuasive power than collective psyche manipulation).
You probably know this quote from Dr William Casey, from his first meeting as CIA Director in 1981:
"We’ll Know Our Disinformation Program Is Complete When Everything the American Public Believes Is False.”
There are people in very high up positions, all over the world, who have some kind of agenda which requires 'disinformation' being foisted on the general public. (What that agenda is, can be left aside for the moment). In my opinion, the whole Covid thing is one part of a bigger story/agenda, and it involves dis-empowering the general public, including the middle-classes who play an important role in maintaining democracy (I'm biased in this respect )
I still don't understand why, given mass-media's abysmal track-record using hype, sensationalism and sometimes outright lies, why suddenly they are to be believed when it comes to the reporting of Covid.
Right; the German stuff would do me no good. You can't fact-check something you can't interpret to begin with. But thanks nonetheless. Perhaps it will be translated soon.
I understand what you're saying about mass media's influence, and I didn't/don't deny that. I agree it can have detrimental effects on society, i.e. - your example of the U.S. My opinion on that one was the deep-seeded racism surfacing when a black man was elected to office. How dare someone other than a middle-aged white man hold that position. Trump came in, as you noted, with "Make America Great Again!"
Great how? I asked that a hundred times at least. When we murdered, raped, and then stole the land from Native Americans? When a black man and white woman couldn't be in love much less marry? When being Gay wasn't accepted? When Japanese were interned during WWII? When women couldn't vote? When blacks couldn't vote? During segregation? Slavery? Make America Great again . . . how?
Yep, you nailed it, 'The American Dream'.
Because despite whatever HELL was going on in whatever faction of the country, EVERYONE, black, white, Native American, Asian, Latino and so forth believed in the American Dream and were willing to fight and die for it, and Trump offered it to them on a silver platter.
BTW, more Americans voted for Hillary Clinton than any other losing presidential candidate in US history by almost 2.9 million popular votes, with 65,844,954 (48.2%) to his 62,979,879 (46.1%). That at least says something
about the U.S; mostly that our election system is as broken as our political.
What I was asking was this: when does it become each individual's responsibility to double-check facts? What differentiates the fact-check/researcher vs those who don't? Is it the way we were raised? Is it our previous or current environment? Is mass-media mass-hypnotizing some while others are immune? Is it religious in nature and pastors/ priests/rabbis/etc. influence their congregations by virtue of their pulpit?
I know those are a lot of questions, but I am genuinely interested in the difference between factions because it confuses me. I have my own personal theories but would like to hear others.
But, my bottom line and opinion is this: regardless of media influence, I am ultimately responsible for my own choices, actions, and words.
The reason covid-19 is being believed is because it's not just mass-media hyping it up. There are scientific journals, articles, and educated people such as Bret Weinstein and Heather Heying ( both PhD's in Biology ) who genuinely seek the truth.
Well, and mass graves of the dead.
( You would really enjoy their latest podcast, Josh—they discuss the misuse of terms, etc. But that's another discussion. )