Clearly, the media manipulates the population’s worldview. But less obvious is that this altered perception manifests itself into reality.
It is the old, which came first, the chicken or the egg? To what extent does the media encourage the negative events they love to report on?
Suicide is the perfect example of this phenomenon: suicides increase when reported in the media. According to Robert C. Cialdini in his book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, there is a psychological condition know as the “Werther Effect”, named after the protagonist in a famous German book who kills himself. When the book came out two centuries ago, an epidemic of young suicides hit Europe everywhere the book was read.
The same thing happens today:
…immediately following a front page suicide story, the suicide rate increases dramatically in those geographical areas where the story has been highly publicized.
…within two months after every front page suicide story, an average of 58 more people than usual kill themselves.
This is a form of social proof, and social proof is one of the main tactics the media uses to sell their stories. People decide suicide is an appropriate response to their troubles when they see others taking the same route.
The suicides encouraged by the Werther effect even match the demographics of the original person who committed suicide; a story of a young man killing himself means more young men will end it all, older women copy older women’s publicized suicides, etc. Even increases in single suicides versus murder suicides match the headlines.
Suicide rates are now the highest they have been in decades. And unfortunately this effect does not only apply to suicide, reports of murder also increase murders in the areas they are publicized.
So the media is not simply reporting on the world around us, they are influencing the world around us to match their gloomy worldview.
The Human Mind Simulates
Basically, the human brain is designed to run simulations. We simulate possible future situations based on past experiences, and other external stimuli.
In a world without the internet, tv, or radio, those stimuli would be severely limited focusing lives on immediate surroundings and local social interactions.
We judge the world based on our surroundings. But the media inserts itself into our lives, and clearly has too much control over the actions people take with the propaganda they are treated to.
So if all the inputs from the media are crazy negative, what is the simulation our brain comes up with going to be? And will we not then move forward with actions that accommodate that possibility?
The media is creating a terrible world by inducing mass imaginings of horror which humans translate into reality.
This is the truth behind the idea that we create the reality around us.
A physical action is always first taken in the mind. Without the simulation, it won’t happen. The media has far too much control over what ideas are inserted into our minds, leading to the proliferation of those actions.
So where has decades of reporting on war and violence gotten us? What effect does the rampant corruption from the politicians, reported daily, have on our world?
Psychological principles would suggest that the more these events enter our psyche, the more they will enter our reality.
Why Does the Media Promote Such a Negative Worldview?
We are creating the world the media portrays, just by having the idea seeded in our brains in the first place. But why would the media want us to be scared, sad, and ready to give up? Perhaps because it makes people easier to control. And then they can use the same principles to induce behavior which works for governments and elites to control the population.
It is the self fulfilling prophecy. Social proof in action.
It is like how Muslim extremists who control media circulated among Muslim countries are using Trump’s rhetoric against Islam to prove that America is hell bent on destroying all Muslims.
“No! They started it!” Americans shout. Or did our own leaders do the exact same thing to us? How can we even tell if the picture we have of Muslims is really an accurate picture, or one created to manipulate us?
Many of them may be thinking right now, why does America hate us so much?
It is obvious to “our side” why many Americans harbor distrust of Muslims; those damn terrorists keep attacking us!
But on the other hand, we see nothing wrong with our troops in the middle east. Can’t they see we are promoting freedom and fighting terrorism?
But many of the views of Muslims are more based on first hand evidence than our own. They don’t have to listen to the media if their family members were blown up; they have first hand experience of America’s actions.
How many of us, on the other hand, have first, or even second hand direct knowledge or a terrorist attack?
In fact, how many things reported in the media can we actually verify are even real?
The media manipulators on both Muslim and American platforms are both selling this idea that we should hate each other and fight, while very little first hand knowledge about the world around us would support that dichotomy.
Do we really know that what has been reported is the truth, or how much falsity is mixed with the facts?
This is pretty much the theme of a novella I wrote called “Flight Grounded.” The government and media create the entire narrative of the world to the point where the people inhabiting the most oppressive country with the lowest standard of living on earth, actually think they have the highest quality of life, and most freedom.
The media can increase murder and suicide by reporting more of them. They could even target certain demographics for the rash of violence, since social proof is the mechanism which creates this phenomenon.
So the big question is, just how far does this go? When the media uses camera angles to make a protesting crowd seem bigger, this likely makes more people follow suit, due to the social proof. But it is a manipulation; they are basing their actions off fake news, or at least news that is severely edited.
The media inputs all sorts of negatives into the public psyche, which causes people to simulate a dark and dreary future, and then act on those simulations. They offer social proof on how we should all act, which creates the sick sad world they envision.
The solution is to not let them get inside our heads. Turn off the tv, slap a smile on your face, and let that spring in your step infect others, instead of playing into a contagion of negativity.
Tackle the local issues you can affect, and don’t let whatever sketchy things the CIA is doing throughout the world bring you down. Yes, we should do what we can to end the horrible things that do happen in the world, but for the things that are out of our control, we should just let go.
I have always found that grassroots approaches to happiness and good will are exponential. Make your own community the epicenter of positivity and progress, and you will have done your part to make the world match your worldview of peace and prosperity.