A Dictated Media Message Fosters Dictatorship

What happens when our public institutions decide what “truth” you will see and hear, to the exclusion of all others? The pandemic has already told us. “If you don’t get […]

What happens when our public institutions decide what “truth” you will see and hear, to the exclusion of all others? The pandemic has already told us.

“If you don’t get it, you don’t get it,” ran a long-running ad tagline for the Washington Post, not unlike its current slogan: “Democracy dies in darkness.”Unfortunately, most people don’t realize the darkness of most media coverage in the recent pandemic. Alas, if you don’t get it, you don’t get it.

Just weeks ago, ex-CBC journalist Rodney Palmer told the National Citizens’ Inquiry on COVID- 19 that his former employer abandoned news gathering for propaganda during the pandemic. In 1928, author and public relations pioneer Edward Bernays explained the process in his book Propaganda.

“This practice of creating circumstances and of creating pictures in the minds of millions of persons is very common. Virtually no important undertaking is now carried on without it,” Bernays wrote.

“The important thing is that it is universal and continuous; and in its sum total it is regimenting the public mind every bit as much as an army regiments the bodies of its soldiers.”

Laying “creating circumstances” aside, the media was entirely responsible for its created pictures: a non-stop tally of case counts, deaths, and patients on ventilators.

In May 2021, Liberal MP Wayne Easter told Politico, “We’ve done a pretty good job of creating fear on the Canadian side,” the goal being to keep people at home.

“If you were ever to watch [the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation] for a 16-hour period, you’d be depressed.”

Bernays put it this way: “The group mind does not think…In place of thoughts it has impulses, habits and emotions. In making up its mind its first impulse is usually to follow the example of a trusted leader. This is one of the most firmly established principles of mass psychology…

“If you can influence the leaders, either with or without their conscious cooperation, you automatically influence the group which they sway…Because man is by nature gregarious, he feels himself to be a member of a herd.”

Without question, medical authorities and media led the stampede against eminent scientists and brave doctors who tried to defy medical orthodoxy. A look back shows us how and why.

“Follow the money” on pandemic management and your journey will end at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which gave billions of dollars to the World Health Organization and to the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization. In 2017, Politico called Bill Gates “the world’s most powerful doctor.”

The foundation influenced both pandemic response and media management as it co-sponsored Event 201 with the World Economic Forum on October 18, 2019. The scenario, run by the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, “illuminated the need for cooperation among industry, national governments, key international institutions, and civil society, to avoid the catastrophic consequences that could arise from a large-scale pandemic.”

Participants, who received a coronavirus plush toy if they booked early, emphasized “flooding the zone” with their message after a pandemic broke out. The Gates Foundation had given 30,000 grants to media worth $319 million through the end of 2019.

Censorship collusion followed. At the July 2019 Global Conference for Media Freedom in London, BBC Director-General Tony Hall announced, “Last month I convened, behind closed doors, a Trusted News Summit at the BBC, which brought together global tech platforms and publishers. The goal was to arrive at a practical set of actions we can take together, right now, to tackle the rise of misinformation and bias.”

By September 9, 2019 the CBC announced its own participation in the global “Trusted News Charter”. By then, Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter, AFP, Reuters, Financial Times, Wall Street Journal, and the European Broadcasting Union were already on board.

On March 27, 2020, and shortly into the pandemic, the CBC announced, “Starting today, partners in the Trusted News Initiative will alert each other to disinformation about coronavirus, including ‘imposter content’ purporting to come from trusted sources. Such content will be reviewed promptly to ensure that disinformation is not republished.”

In 2018, Canada’s Liberal government promised $595 million in tax breaks to big media and $50 million to the Local Journalism Initiative, to be doled out over the next five years. Such figures ignore subsidies to CBC and dollars paid for government advertising.

Recent legislation threatens more shackles as it hands out taxpayer shekels. On April 27, 2023 the Senate passed Bill C-11 which allows the federal government to regulate social media posts the same way it does radio and television. Bill C-18, if passed, would place $329 million in fees on search engines and social media companies, but 70% of it would go to the CBC and Bell Media, leaving $80 million for everyone else.

When the government picks winners and losers, the general public is usually among the latter. And when the government chooses what truth is, truth is often the first casualty. If our democracy dies in darkness, how will anyone see well enough to restore it?


Lee Harding is Research Fellow for the Frontier Centre for Public Policy.

Featured News

Transformers: More than Meets the Eye

The path to net zero, based on the much disputed belief that carbon dioxide is a pollution, is more steep and impractical than most people realize. Replacing fossil fuels with clean electricity will require much more power generation and a greatly upgraded grid to...


Sacrificing Success on the ‘Altar of Equity’

Sacrificing Success on the ‘Altar of Equity’

Somewhere around the mid-1960s the conventional conservative model of the English grammar school was finally over-turned by a new-age, liberal-progressive intellectual alliance of “progressive educators.” This shift of power and influence to the left led to changes in...