Studies show that people are gullible enough to believe anything if it appears on TV and sounds authoritative. If this is really true, upper-echelon pharmaceutical companies may be using the media to bend the public’s perception.
Giant corporations—and other entities that act as though they own the entire galaxy—have a tendency toward the chameleonic behavior of astroturfing because it works so well.
Astroturfing can involve a deceptive or purposely controversial method of selling products all the way up to overthrowing governments with color revolutions. All of those goals can involve the use of online comments, blogs, studies, and social media to give the appearance of an organic effort with widespread support or to create confusion that lulls the audience into belief.
How far does it really go with Big Pharma?
Investigative journalist Sharyl Attkisson explains how to keep from getting duped by the newest in expertly deceptive propaganda techniques. She calls the prevalence of astroturfing and media manipulation a “Truman Show–esque alternate reality all around you.” With a probing, astute mind like hers, is it any wonder she was essentially shut down by CBS? Check out her new book: Stonewalled: My Fight for Truth Against the Forces of Obstruction, Intimidation, and Harassment in Obama’s Washington.
The TEDx Talk description explains that
“In this eye-opening talk, veteran investigative journalist Sharyl Attkisson shows how astroturf, or fake grassroots movements funded by political, corporate, or other special interests effectively manipulate and distort media messages.”
Remember to look for these four astroturfing techniques as you encounter health-related information online:
- Inflammatory and charged language – i.e., “quacks,” “kooks,” “pseudo,” or “conspiracy theorist”
- Made up myths that are “debunked,” which can wind up on Snopes (I call them Inception stories)
- Attacking the character of people or organizations instead of addressing the facts
- Those that reserve all of their public skepticism and criticism for those exposing the wrong-doers instead of directing that skepticism to the wrongdoers themselves. A prime example Attkisson mentions is those “skeptics” who, instead of questioning authority, question those that question the authority.
After watching this, you will never again read Wikipedia, Snopes, the news, blogs, Facebook comments, or Google results without a major guard. With just ten minutes and the tips above, you, too will be better at researching and spotting hidden propaganda and bots and not falling for the appearance of skeptics—which could actually be pharma-funded attackers on legitimate exposé.
This article (4 Ways to Spot Big Pharma’s Media Manipulation) originally appeared in Natural Blaze and was used with permission. Tune in! Anti-Media Radio airs Monday through Friday @ 11pm Eastern/8pm Pacific. Image credit: Carl Birrane. Help us fix our typos: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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