How The Media & Government Manufacture The Pandemic For Profit and Control

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Exactly two years ago, we were in the final days of the pre-COVID era. We had no idea what was about to happen. 

Humanity tripped on hubris and fell down the colossal rabbit hole that we’ve been hurtling through ever since — with only brief periods of relief in-between screams. 

My position on all this?

I am not an anti-vaxxer. I have gratefully taken many vaccines in my life and I will take more. I believe that modern medicine is one of the great pillars of our human civilization.

I am not a “non-believer” in COVID. I know it’s an absolutely real virus and it can be deadly. I’ve had the parents of some people in my network die from COVID and I’ve seen it totally wipe people out. It’s no joke.

Still, to keep it 100% with you: I’m ready to stop talking about COVID now.

I know it’s out there; but I do not believe its existence is a threat to my health or wellbeing. Each individual should assess their risk tolerance based on the facts at hand.

I believe 90% of the concern around this virus and its treatment is related to the politics of countries / powerful groups and outsized financial incentives, not your health and wellbeing. 

Here’s why…

The Media Uses COVID As Vehicle To Sell More Advertisement

“It’s the primary function of the mass media in the United States to mobilize public support for the special interests that dominate the government and private sector.”

– Noam Chomsky in Manufacturing Consent

I don’t watch local or cable news frequently because it makes me feel like I may need to throw up the entire bag of gluten-free Stacy’s pita chips I just ate.

Below is a quick video I took of a cable news segment.

Listen to the language she is using and consider the fact that we’ve been getting hammered with this type of content on every channel for 2 years (and counting).

The ongoing, vaguely numbing fear created by the pandemic is used as a tool to keep consumers plugged into screens of all sizes waiting for a morsel of relief.

All Eyeballs Welcome

Where your eyeballs look, your attention follows. Attention can be monetized via advertising partnerships, direct sales and data harvesting. Therefore, capturing eyeballs is the primary business objective of any media conglomerate.

With regard to COVID: some eyeballs are searching for updates on the virus. This interest can be capitalized on by giving to-the-minute updates that keep people anticipating.

Other eyeballs (mine) want to zone out and watch something to forget the drama. And that’s why Netflix and Hulu exist. Either way, media makes money.

Who exactly do I mean when I say “media?”

Anybody who gets paid for buying or selling your attention (aka data), including (but not limited to):

  • Local and cable news companies

  • International publishing and media companies

  • Digital ad tech platforms such as Google, Facebook, etc

  • Entertainment media (Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, HBO etc)

  • Multi-billion dollar consumer brands

These types of companies benefit tremendously from anything that keeps you locked in and on the edge of your seat.

The more we watch, the more our attention is worth to advertisers. Time spent on the platform (website, app, video) is one of the primary ways media companies judge their value.

According to Statista, the advertising revenue generated by Facebook worldwide has increased every single year since 2009 from $764MM to $84.2B in 2020 alone.

Facebook Worldwide Ad Revenue |

And I’m not hating on Zuck.

You can only create results like this by consistently maximizing for profits above everything. It’s pretty gangster of them.

The problems arise when moral and ethical lines are crossed.

Fundamentally: keeping the consumer’s attention locked so that they have a higher probability of buying shit via advertisement is the primary way the pandemic benefits major media.

If you haven’t checked out The Social Dilemma on Netflix, I highly recommend it. Lots of great illustrations on the effect social networking has on our brains.

From a purely profit-driven perspective, the companies that run these media outlets look at the data (aka people) and optimize their content for what performs — not necessarily what is useful or healthy for you.

Sometimes their needs overlap with yours. Often, they do not.

But you already knew that, right?

Mistaking Popularity For Truth

Every time we turn our attention to a screen, it’s like eating our way through a conveyor belt of bite-sized advertisements, disguised as entertainment.

We are data hogs being fattened with ads and slaughtered by Amazon Prime.  

We are pestered and prodded to consume a non-stop, curated stream of information on a relatively small number of platforms whose main objective is increased profit by way of consumer extraction.

By absorbing this commercial information continuously, we reaffirm our position to the worldview it represents1 — we’re either “for” the popular opinion, or “against” it. The key is, having an opinion keeps us involved and that’s how we stay hooked into the machine.

It’s no problem to have an opinion about what’s going on in the world. The problem is, sometimes, we mistake what’s “popular” for what’s true.

The worldwide response to COVID has been a great opportunity to observe the effects of mass programming on society in real time.

If you’re paying attention, you can see the unhealthy level of fear that’s being created by politicians and the press. You can see how that fear creates panic, and how that panic is being capitalized on to make money and grab power.

Social media exacerbates the issue, though media manipulation is nothing new.

Huge corporations inside of bigger conglomerates

One of my favorite academics in the areas of communication, economics and linguistics is Noam Chomsky. In 1988 (the glorious year of my birth), he published Manufacturing Consent. 

In the book, he explains that the elite news media (The New York Times, CNN, etc) and local news media create the majority of the information you consume. These outlets have the ability to determine what is “true” and what is not. 

The New York Times is so highly regarded as a trustworthy outlet that their opinions are often treated as fact and their archives frequently used as a historical record of events.

The power to make, shape and shade history. That’s an enormous responsibility, if you think about it.

Elite media outlets create the framework for national and international news. This means that they determine what’s important enough to pay attention to. The local news takes their talking points from elite media.

“People don’t trust the media because they know that the media are not telling the truth. The media are relaying a set of principles and ideas that are usually not beneficial to the recipient of the information, but to the media partners who corporately sponsor them.”

– Russell Brand  

When you break it down, the elite news media are only a few companies, and those companies have an even smaller number of owners.

The industry is comprised of big corporations inside of even bigger conglomerates.

For instance, look at how much influence a conglomerate like Walt Disney can have:

Disney has hundreds (thousands?) of parent companies and subsidiaries across all major forms of media and consumer entertainment:

  • Film

  • Television

  • Music/radio

  • Gaming

  • Finance

  • Theater

  • Consumer goods

  • Property/parks

  • Publishing

  • Digital/misc

Between Disney, NBCUniveral and Time Warner, 80% of the media, communication and entertainment of the United States (and a large chunk of the world) are represented.

That’s just 3 gigantic companies. Aka conglomerates.

How Conglomerates Shape The Truth

These conglomerates have a tiny number of decision-makers at the very top who use their power to create the national and international conversation in the following ways:

» Selection of topics: they choose what/who deserves media coverage. Even more importantly, what/who does not.

» Distribution of concerns: they determine what/whose material to prioritize and where the placement is.

» Emphasis: they determine what content deserves repetition, more air time or call-to-action.

» Framing of issues: they determine if issues of national importance will be framed positively or negatively.

» Filtering of information: they determine what information is important for viewers to know and what doesn’t need to be mentioned at all. 

When you take these factors into account, you have no choice but to begin looking at the way the news is reported differently.

Perceived Urgency

I have no problem with the news covering COVID or reporting relevant public health updates. I have absolutely no problem with people choosing whether or not the vaccine is right for them.

However, I am also acutely aware that fear and uncertainty can be used to create perceived2 urgency. Perceived urgency from an imminent threat is used to lock viewers into a platform and create conformity through fear of collective peril.

The better the lock-in, the more media companies can charge to place advertisements in front of viewers. The more viewers/browsers are plugged in, more consumer goods companies can make from their captive attention.

Notice how 3 of 5 biggest winners during the pandemic deal with information and attention. The other two certainly have a stake in it.

Billionaires Are Getting Fat Off That COVID Dough

I’m sure you’ve heard that there’s a huge wealth transfer happening right now.

On the one hand, we have tools like DeFi in the crypto space creating a more level playing field for the next generation. That’s the type of wealth transfer I love to see.

On the other hand, a large portion of the new wealth being created is flowing up towards the top 1%. And most of that is going to the top .1%. According to this Statista article, US billionaires have already gained over $1T in new wealth since the beginning of the pandemic.

Jeff Bezos and Mark Zuckerberg (both top 5) operate their core businesses by selling your eyeballs to advertisers, sending goods to your door and running the platforms all of that happens on.

As a culture, I believe our media capacity is at an all-time high and still trending up. At the same time, I absolutely believe that media quality by volume is at an all-time low. Meaning we have the capability of producing so much — yet most of what we make is shit.

That feeling when u realize the media controls human consciousness

But it doesn’t matter where your soul’s a’going as long as the ad dollars keep a’flowing.

The immense value of your attention is why left-leaning news outlets like CNN who continuously lambasted Donald Trump had their best ratings ever while he was in office. That creates a real conflict of interest, don’t you think?

The media is less concerned about what is true and more concerned about what will keep you watching.

When you look at the quality of the journalism on most national and local outlets these days, there’s a lot to be desired. Much of the “coverage” these programs give to nuanced issues are simply the same 5 bullet points, repeated over and over again with emphasis by different guests. Often with the same 10 grainy images flashed on the screen.

The COVID-19 Pandemic Is The First War Of The 2020’s.

And it may not be the last, according to people smarter than me3.

Remember, nations have historically used war as an economic lever. Our 3 most recent wars haven’t been traditional military wars on foreign theaters, though. These have been wars of technology, culture and ideology.

The pandemic is a war on a virus.

Before that, there was a war on terror.

And before that, a war on drugs.

What do these wars have in common?

  • All three are fighting the response to an existing problem, not the root cause of the problem itself.

  • All three created a reason for the United States government to subcontract trillions of dollars of taxpayer money to a select number of influential corporations and individuals.

  • All three took advantage of dominant media outlets to help the government push a strong agenda and execute it through new, more restrictive legislation.

  • All 3 have no clear beginning or end dates. They’re are like subscriptions you can’t cancel. The wars on drugs and terror have both been around for decades. The pandemic just started in 2020. I hope the same won’t be true.

Honestly, it’s all kinda gross. When you really look into the dirty details of government spending, your stomach might start to churn a bit.

War Makes It Rain

A good war is like firing up the money printer.

When you consider the fact that…

The war on drugs has cost taxpayers $9.2 MILLION PER DAY since 1971 (and we still haven’t “won” yet)…

Or the fact that the war in Afghanistan cost taxpayers $300 MILLION PER DAY for 20 years and that stock prices for the top 5 defense contractors has 10x’d in that same timeframe…

You can’t help but wonder if the money that you’re being morally, ethically and legally compelled to contribute in the form of taxes is actually going into the betterment of your country and community.

You hope everything is being accounted for properly, since we’re all one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all…

But let’s ask the one question everybody wants to know:

Where the hell did all that money go?

Then you read about the Pentagon’s $35 trillion accounting black hole that was uncovered after an internal audit (lol) — yet still somehow remains unaccounted for.

Or you read that the government has already spent $3.5 trillion in response to COVID (aka vaccines are not free)…

And you see that prominent congressional figures are playing “inside baseball” with the same stock markets they are regulating, and getting away with it…

And yes, I’m posting a Joe Rogan clip below 👇🏽


That’s when the lightbulb goes on for most people.

It did for me, anyway…

Members of the “elite” profit off catastrophe and take advantage of the system wherever possible. In fact, the system is designed to let them do so.

The Problems Are Systemic

COVID exposed and exacerbated systemic weaknesses in the American healthcare system and rattled our smug approach to “medicine over wellness.”

I believe that we’d much rather numb a pain than address the source of it.

I believe we want to feel healthy but aren’t concerned with being healthy.

I believe that the traditional American healthcare system is quick to recommend a prescription drug for any symptom you might have, because there are multiple parties who get a cut of the dough for every pill you swallow.

Billions have already been spent on the rollout of the COVID vaccine. That contract is guaranteed money between the federal government and big pharma like Pfizer or Moderna.

First, they use taxpayer money to subsidize the research and development of the COVID vaccine. Then, they charge you exorbitant rates to purchase the drug you just paid to develop.

And after an exclusive period in which the government has rights to the patent, a company like Pfizer can go back onto the market and sell that vaccine to whoever wants to purchase it — using all the R&D money you were forced to give them via taxes, plus all the money you just overpaid to get vaccinated yourself.

It’s a loop that has you on the receiving end of the bill twice!

Not to mention the fact that these huge pharmaceutical companies have zero liability to keep you alive.

Read this carefully….

From a recap on CNBC:


Under the PREP Act, companies like Pfizer and Moderna have total immunity from liability if something unintentionally goes wrong with their vaccines. A little-known government program provides benefits to people who can prove they suffered serious injury from a vaccine. That program rarely pays, covering just 29 claims over the last decade.

If that’s not ‘“yikes,” I don’t know what is!

Hopefully, this pandemic has forced us to confront the fact that we are largely out of shape as a population — the highest co-morbidities are related to lifestyle. Including: cardiovascular disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and diabetes (PubMed).

In reality, the best method for staying healthy from COVID-19 is to keep your body and mind as healthy as possible, year round. Diet, exercise and lifestyle need to be on point.

The vaccine should be looked at as an optional bonus, not the deciding factor between living and dying. Full stop.

They Don’t Care About Your Health.

The main thing you need to remember is that the government doesn’t care about your individual health. They never have. They care exclusively about maintaining the power and authority of themselves and the small group of stakeholders they represent.

Most of the messaging we get from the government isn’t about your overall wellness, it’s about directing you to take a specific action: get vaccinated.

Let’s not forget: Biden initially stated he would not make vaccines mandatory.

Then, he ended up doubling back on his word by rolling out nationwide mandates.

If you’d like to get vaccinated, I think you should — and I have no qualms with that! My main problem here is that the scope of power to impose authority creeps up over time and never recedes.

Whenever an authority assumes a higher level of control over a population in an “emergency situation,” they never give it up willingly. The mechanism of control persists long after the crisis has passed.

Just like Caesar would not willingly relinquish the empire, power is never vacated easily.

We’ve Seen This One Before

We’ve seen the thirst for power play out within our generation already.

After September 11, 2001, traveling to and from the United States was a more complicated affair. The Patriot Act meant that security lines were much longer, the searches were much more invasive, ID requirements got more annoying and the whole process seemed generally ineffective.

Oh, and one more thing: the government was legally allowed to spy on you.


Twenty years later, the grip of these “emergency measures” is still very tight. From Rueters:

Under the PREP Act, companies like Pfizer and Moderna have total immunity from liability if something unintentionally goes wrong with their vaccines. A little-known government program provides benefits to people who can prove they suffered serious injury from a vaccine. That program rarely pays, covering just 29 claims over the last decade.

Am I the only one snorting my chocolate milk through my nose here?

I think it’s hilariously ironic and highly suspect that for all it’s invasive reach, the Patriot Act somehow couldn’t stop their own American “patriots” on January 6, 2021 from storming the Capitol — when they were literally committing domestic terrorism against the government.

Like, what are we even paying for?

Questions To Ponder:

I can go on and on about this stuff, so I’m going to cap it for today. I’ll finish by posing you a few questions.

Considering the fact that events of national or historical significance set political and cultural precedent…

  1. What dangerous precedents are being set now by the war on COVID that could lead to long-lasting or permanent loss of rights?
  2. What role do you feel the media and advertisement industry play in the perpetuation of pandemic fears
  3. Who are the primary benefactors from the response to the COVID pandemic and who are the stakeholders?
  4. Can you imagine a society 20 years in the future that is still dealing with the COVID pandemic? Is that a society you would want to live in?

Lmk in the comments below 👇🏽

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  1. This is on a subconscious level aka below the perception conscious choice. We may never be consciously aware that by consuming the same info repeatedly, we are helping to solidify that thought pattern in our minds. This is happening subtly, not overtly.
  2. One of the worst things about being continually told to be afraid is that eventually the emotion of fear will lose its potency. This will make it harder to judge whether future warnings are real threats or over reactions.
  3. In fact, I was reading Ray Dalio’s newest book Principles For Dealing With The Changing World Order and he has a very interesting theory about whether or not The United States will end up in a civil war. My analysis of that book can be found here.

We are all creators, but it’s easy to lose touch with that ability in our daily lives.

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