In the beginning, warnings about an emergent pandemic in Europe and the United States were dismissed as unnecessary sowing panic by “alarmists”, but later on a chief editor of a so-called quality newspaper perfectly illustrated exemplary group thinking by the mainstream media.
If a country has entered into a crisis, such as our country with the coronavirus in recent months, then journalism should not be too critical and especially follow the line of the government and the Institute for the control of infectious diseases. You should not provide a podium for virologists who deviate from the “official” line.
Read twice. The press that muzzles itself. Quite disconcerting, isn´t it?
Groupthink by the Main Stream Media
As we’ll demonstrate with examples below, it’s important to develop a feel for groupthink. The sting is in the careless, seemingly harmless utterances of government officials, experts, journalists, and opinion-makers. Develop your trigger warnings!
Journalism (and politics) hardly seems to do source research, hardly comes up with a rebuttal, and even seems to ignore critically (but serious) sounds. Articles by dissident scientists are collectively refused by the MSM in collective exclusion.
A professional statistician ¨ there are newspapers who note that I am not from virology and epidemiology, and how dare I research, write about it and take a position¨.
¨We should not question science¨.
A submitted comment on an alternative explanation for the spread of the virus. “Whoever uses the term mainstream media is in fact outside of any serious discussion”.
There are two fallacies here at the same time: Argumentum ad hominem (Latin for “argument on man”) is a logical fallacy that discredits the position of the opponent. It is an objection that relates to the person making an assertion, not the assertion itself. And Ignoratio elenchi [(diversionary) (smoke screen) The argument of ignoring. A form of the fallacy that tries to win a discussion by avoiding the real subject.
YouTube censors a Podcast episode with a critical medical researcher.
Populist doctor preaches the hydroxychloroquine gospel from Marseille. Note our emphasis on the words “populist”, “gospel”, and “Marseille”, known as a city where the Mafia rules. The controversy has little to do with populism, but with a power struggle between doctors and scientists. The underlying question is whether during an epidemic of a new virus you can wait for research that has been carried out according to all the rules of the art, or whether you should rely on doctors’ experience judgment. Doctors also often know that a drug works without knowing exactly how.
A chief editor of a so-called quality newspaper, called in a radio debate a famous virologist – formerly employed at the state institute for infectious diseases – to be banned from television because he is allegedly alarmist.
Someone with a different opinion reported: ¨ I got personal – often hurtful – disqualifications based on alleged unscience, other past activities, with whom I associate or the form I have chosen. What I, unfortunately, have to notice, that many in their reactions are not at all concerned with the content.¨
To conclude this series about groupthink
This crisis makes it clear that the world has become a hugely complex system with a great deal of interdependence. It is time that we adapt our medieval thinking to this by thinking in systems with a lot of undivided dependence. Governments, advisory boards, experts, and opinion-makers have to open up their thinking and avoid easy-going, non-critical, and risk-free groupthink. In our opinion, by a sound information strategy, a lot of groupthink could greatly be avoided.
- News, Fake News and Not News. The mass communication media. are effective and powerful ideological institutions that carry out a system-supportive propaganda function, by reliance on market forces, internalised assumptions, and self-censorship, and without overt coercionver constructing consent and majority rule.
- Press Patterns. Often there is a silent coalition between politicians and media reporters. In exchange for providing news, a scoop, or granting an interview, a journalist will write “friendly” (non-critical) about the politician. Journalists are in competition with each other for access to news sources, reputation, scoops, and jobs. A deadly embrace with those in power. At the same time, politicians are dependent on journalists to get heard by their voters. They are in competition for media attention, mainly with their party colleagues.
- Framing – to lure into deception. Most of the time framing is a technique used by politicians or their advisers to favor a wished representation of the facts, usually when things went wrong. The reproduction of political framing is usually a conscious choice by journalists – in this case, a frame refers to the way media as gatekeepers organize and present the ideas, events, and topics they cover.