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No Food for Thought

The toll of medical wars and propaganda

admin Monday October 31, 2022

The height of the COVID-19 pandemic was an interesting social experiment, for a middle-aged adult like myself who has never lived through a major war. Watching even high quality mass media like CBC's televised news made me realize what propaganda really means. In terms of crisis, with extreme polarization and a sense of "war against the virus", the same journalists which usually provide quite critical information, perhaps by fear of being labelled as anti-war, reached the point of providing exaggerated news which could almost be qualified as misinformation.

The pandemic and sanitary measures themselves caused important mental distress and increased misinformation. But could the excesses of mass media not have had a toll on their own? This evening's Tout le monde en parle featured an interesting interview with David Morin and Marie-Ève Carignan which answered that question. Propaganda from mass media pushed away many, which ended up into the arms of conspiracism. Repairing the damage will be a long and painful process.

Most importantly, as co-author David Morin mentions in the same interview, we are already forecasting major crises (some have already started). If even state media doesn't get enough resources, independence and nuance to remain reliable in times of even moderate crises, the future of information—and the societies who now depend on it—will be bleak.

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