Monday Memo: Disinformation, the New Disco | TALKERS magazine : TALKERS magazine – “The bible of talk media.”

Monday Memo: Disinformation, the New Disco

| August 16, 2021

By Holland Cooke


BLOCK ISLAND, RI — Next month we will be noting that “It’s been TWENTY years!” We’ll invite callers’ where-were-you-when-you-heard stories. They will recall how — in the days following 9/11 – we were all…Americans, actually being nice to each other. And we were angry enough at whoever-did-this that we bungled into Iraq. Cue Lee Greenwood.

We were galvanized by a human enemy. Yet now, as we’re under attack by a super-human enemy – a virus that has killed over a half million in the USA, and is now resurging – we argue.

How did we get here?

Misinformation. Translation: literal ignorance, denial of data. Because too many Americans use social media as a news feed, two senators have introduced “The Health Misinformation Act” which would attempt to issue guidelines about what’s misinformation. Lotsa luck. Now everyone’s a broadcaster, utterly unedited.

And there’s disinformation, willful untruth, profiteering in pessimism, the vaccine resistance narrative that has demonized Dr. Fauci and begat those Walmart shouting matches on YouTube. Now the continued existence of FOX News Channel could be at stake in multi-billion dollar lawsuits by election equipment vendors Dominion Voting Systems and Smartmatic, suing for, aggregate, roughly a fifth of FOX’s total valuation. FOX is accused of reporting conspiracy theories that these companies stole 2020 votes from Donald Trump. Attorney and Trump advocate Sidney Powell and laughingstock Rudolph Giuliani are also in hot water.

Scared Straight

In a CNN interview, Dr. Priscilla Frase at Ozarks Healthcare in Missouri describes patients she’s vaccinating, who – like then-President Trump – don’t want anyone to know: “They’ve had some experience that’s sort of changed their mind from the viewpoint of those in their family, those in their friendship circles or their work circles. But even though they were able to make that decision themselves, they didn’t want to have to deal with the peer pressure or the outbursts from other people about them ‘giving in to everything.’”

As school bells ring – or don’t – angst is amplified. For working parents, school is de facto daycare (and many of those parents are, themselves, teachers). Employers’ vaccine mandates and returned mask mandates echo a 2020 we’d like to forget, red meat for talk radio shock jocks.

Another prediction?

The LAST person I expected to – a me-too cable conservative — congratulated me (in person, not on-air) on last week’s column, which included my prediction: “Soreheads’ face-saving pivot will be FDA Final Approval for vaccines previously dissed as ‘experimental.’”

Here’s another. Print this out and hold me to it: Data denial will be to 2021 what disco was to 1978; white-hot present-day, scoffed-at in retrospect.

Meantime, be conspicuously useful:

  • Webmaster: Install a graphic button, up-top on the station site. Link to pre-existing local public health resources that tell where/when to get the jab.
  • Remaining local news people: Tag every COVID-related story “To see where and when you can get vaccinated…”

 Not buying it?

Yes, you can continue to affirm holdouts’ angry delusions. Be unequivocal and they’ll cling to you ‘til the day they die.

Holland Cooke is the author of the E-book “Multiply Your Podcast Subscribers, Without Buying Clicks,” available from Talkers books (click the banner on this page). He is a consultant working at the intersection of broadcasting and the Internet.  And HC hosts “The Big Picture” TV show Friday nights at 7ET on RT America.  Follow him on Twitter @HollandCooke

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Category: Advice