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Don’t panic, Mr. Mainwairing!

There seems to be a lot of panic in the air—at least, if you’re someone who regularly watches/reads the news.

Diane Hall


Don't panic written on an empty toilet roll

Covid gave the mainstream media a golden egg of a topic last year, and they spent many months frightening the living daylights out of the public.

Fast forward eighteen months, and though Covid hasn’t disappeared, we have become better at treating it, at keeping ourselves safe, and we’re generally better at putting the virus in perspective with everything else that’s going on for us.

But the media doesn’t like this. FEAR sells papers, not people making sensible decisions and families generally getting on with their lives.

The mainstream media, therefore, needs to report things that will keep us in a perpetual state of panic, to serve their business model.

Research also shows that we buy more, particularly things we don’t actually need, when in a state of confusion and uncertainty. This panic buying benefits companies, who put out huge adverts in newspapers and on news sites. The mainstream media hasn’t been a public service for a very long time, it’s a commercial outfit.

One recent example was the apparent petrol shortage that had people driving around for hours (oh, the irony!) in a bid to find a petrol station that was both open and stocked with fuel. The news told people that there was no shortage if people simply filled their cars as normal, then they reported—extensively—on the huge queues that formed outside petrol stations across the UK…which only made people panic more. The fuel crisis headlined every news bulletin, too, it wasn’t hidden in the middle of their programmes.

So, which came first? No, not the chicken and egg scenario…in the petrol versus crisis dilemma? Did the media create the panic, or did the panic come first and the media just did their job and reported it? Did the media (pardon the pun) fuel the issue?

man sat watching tv in a darkened room wearing a tin foil hat

man sat watching tv in a darkened room wearing a tin foil hat

Conspiracy theorists have an opinion on most things. Their speculation of this subject doesn’t appear that far-fetched to me, however, but something I can very well imagine. They suggest that the lack of people driving during lockdowns caused a back-up, an oversupply, of fuel. Like most products, fuel, apparently, has a shelf life, before it becomes less effective. When the oversupply’s expiry date approached, the fuel companies had the option of doing what most retailers do when something is about to ‘go off’, i.e. sell it at a reduced price. But the people running the UK’s mainstream media have their fingers in lots of pies, and fuel and energy companies are likely prominent in their investment portfolios. The profitable solution for the fuel companies, therefore, was to simply increase demand to meet the supply—not by putting more cars on the road, but by instilling fear in the public that fuel was running out. The media did its job so well that fuel companies not only got rid of their overstock, they even increased the price per litre, knowing that the people desperately queuing to get into a petrol station would pay the inflated price.

Canny, eh?

The same goes for the drama around HGV drivers in the UK. As we talked about in this article, a serious shortage of drivers has been brewing for the last decade or so. Brexit saw a few thousand European drivers return home, but this was at the beginning of 2020. The lack of facilities across the country for drivers of HGVs, which was a factor in some of their decisions to retire or retrain, has been a problem for years. The media didn’t cover any of these issues at the time, but once they needed to ramp up fear, the lack of HGV drivers suddenly became big news. ‘You won’t be able to get Christmas presents for the kids!’ ‘Supermarket shelves are empty!’ ‘No Christmas dinner this year!’

You can’t rely on the media to tell the truth. It’s interesting to read the testimonies of people who don’t read/view the news…these people had no idea the petrol crisis was happening or why some things weren’t available when they did their weekly shop. They aren’t alarmed about the current situation nor prepping for a global disaster. They know that the news is controlled by some very rich men who have a personal interest in the messages they feed to us.

Last Christmas, when Covid was rife, we were only concerned about whether we could see our families. It wouldn’t have mattered what we ate or what we gave to each other—just that we were together. Keep this in mind when the media urges you to go out and spend, spend, spend…

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