In a rather astonishing admission, media COVID-panic merchants are admitting that they’re lying to us.

The admission is astonishing not so much for what it is – we’ve known for over a year that they’re lying through their teeth – but for its unabashed chutzpah. This is the media straight-up admitting, “Yes, we’re lying, but it’s for your own good, peasant”.

The ad has been fairly criticised because some executional elements are not factually accurate, but ultimately, persuasive advertising isn’t about showing the truth, it’s about being selective in the truth you show and dramatising that to get people to do what they wouldn’t before.

This is a blatant statement of what’s known as “Nudge Economics”. This idea, that people have to be “nudged” into doing what’s best for them, has become the dominant method of the new ruling classes.

After all, it appeals directly to their vanity and arrogance: these are a class of people who are better than you, and they know it. They have Arts-Law degrees, and you don’t. They vote Green and “care about the planet”, and you don’t. This is why Plato’s idea of a “Guardian” class has such appeal for the left.

We see “nudge economics” around us, everyday: from tobacco bans and sugar taxes, to subsidies for electric cars and solar panels. We are ruled by an “eat your greens” class of nannies.

Consider, for example, the stunning conceit of the following paragraphs:

If you’ve seen or read about the Sydney shock tactic ad in The Sydney Morning Herald, then the reality is you probably aren’t the target audience for it. That campaign is speaking to an audience that in the advertising industry we’d call “complacents” – that is, people who don’t follow any news channels, don’t consider COVID-19 much of a threat, and even when it’s in the community, have a “she’ll be right” mentality about potentially catching it and sharing it with their friends and family.

Going down the messaging strategies that might work for you or me about community protection won’t cut through. Instead, it needs to go for a base human value – physical comfort, and our drive to protect it.

And saying “COVID is painful and you won’t like it” might be what it takes for people who aren’t taking this health crisis seriously to do so.

This is the media acting as the bootlickers of the political-bureaucratic class and appointing themselves “Your sole source of truth”.

Their role model for this ad is the notorious “Grim Reaper” AIDS ad of the 1980s. Advertising types worship this ad, because they like to flatter themselves that it “changed Australia”. But the ad was a blatant lie, shrieking that AIDS was going to kill us all.

But its really grim effect was to ramp up the AIDS hysteria to fever pitch.

But it’s the scare ad that is garnering the most attention. And while it may finally get people to take things seriously, it also has some big risks: the worst side effect of this pandemic is hysteria – we’ve seen how that plays out with punch ups in supermarkets over toilet paper.

The Age

Once again, the media are admitting that they’re fuelling hysteria – but they don’t care.

They’re doing it for your own good, after all, you peasant.

Which has been the excuse of every tyrant in history.

The NSW government shouts “Boogedy-boogedy-boo!” The BFD. Photoshop by Lushington Brady.

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Media Admit COVID Ad Is Misleading — And They Don’t Care

Lushington D. Brady

Punk rock philosopher. Liberalist contrarian. Grumpy old bastard. I grew up in a generational-Labor-voting family. I kept the faith long after the political left had abandoned it. In last decade or...