May 27Liked by Christine Axsmith

Clearly, that slickly edited video is a form of propaganda. But, so are public health messaging campaigns. Remember "this is your brain on drugs," smoking kills, and my favorite - the driver's ed films. Hey, Ralph Nader vaulted into fame on "Unsafe at Any Speed," a book which targeted one model of one auto brand, the Chevrolet Corvair.

Propaganda was invented by the Germans to rally their populace in WWI, a war in which nobody had the moral high ground. But, when you know who and his gang of incels appeared in der Vaterland they propagandized so malevolently and for such horrible outcomes that the term is now only a pejorative.

Fast forward to 2020 and another loudmouth appears on the other side of the Atlantic and wrongly decides to politicize and propagandize a global health crisis for his own re-election chances. He refuses to where a mask, holds rallies among the unmasked and un-vaccinated, catches Covid and is air evacced to the best hospital in America, is attended by 12 physicians, and then tells everyone that they to need not worry if they catch Covid, as he rips of his mask while standing on the White House balcony ala Mussolini. That's nefarious propaganda. What would I have done? Easy, the situation was tailor made for benevolent propaganda.

By presenting it to the public as a war against this horrible virus, Americans love to rally for a war, vaccinations would never have become controversial and opened the door for the Internet and broadcast BS that followed. Plus, and I say this with very mixed emotions, it would have guaranteed that buffoon's re-election. Americans do not change horses in the middle of a war. Even when the horse they are riding wears pancake makeup, dyes his triple comb over, has a volatile temper, and despite a Wharton MBA is less articulate than the average high school sophomore.

Expand full comment
May 29Liked by Christine Axsmith

When people “do their own research” they fall risk to misinformation. As a scholar or medical professional that works at an academic institution, I have access to information that has at least a pretence of being verified. However, that information is not free to access. I followed Facebook groups that had epistemic mistrust of medical advice to see how people could justify their beliefs and claims. Most information was accurate so I trusted the source... until the end of long articles where the poorly reasoned argument was added and then summarized along with the accurate info in the closing paragraphs. I did not interact (except to ask non-accusatory questions to prompt awareness of contradictory statements, etc.) but did not see where people could go to get referenced information (academic) to verify or contradict the accurate or inaccurate information.

As a health care professional, it was painful to watch people’s decisions to not get vaccinated be touted as righteous, but I can’t assume they realized the implications of their beliefs. I framed my belief as a personal statement, that I learned of epidemiological studies of hospitals that allowed unvaccinated (flu) workers who inevitably had asymptomatic but contagious workers & several patients die from an unrelated admission diagnoses, namely heart attacks. I’d ask how they would feel if Granny came in for hip replacement and ended up dead in ICU from heart attack because the nurse didn’t have the vaccine, I personally would be devastated to know I had caused someone’s illness that led to their death, especially because it was someone I was trying to help. Also causes spontaneous abortions (miscarriages) if I unknowingly gave the virus to early term coworker or family member. After reading those studies, I felt personally responsible to protect the patients. Would also say ‘remember Typhoid Mary!’ (healthcare kitchen worker who was asymptomatic but contagious and responsible for thousands of deaths but it was the only work she knew and didn’t believe healthy people could transmit so assumed aliases to continue her professional role with pride).

Emotions inhibit the prefrontal cortex, so I try to keep things calm.

Expand full comment
May 27Liked by Christine Axsmith


A natural distrust of the profit motive??? I don't think so. I think that humans are turned off by poor messaging. Coca Cola, Budweiser, Pringles, Chevy Trucks, Army service.. the list goes on of unhealthy profit driven, bad for you products that we consumers suck up interveinously and pay trillions to do so, because they are sold through the strongest propaganda of the all - advertising.

Expand full comment

no screaming needed. indeed words to live by

Expand full comment
May 26·edited May 26Liked by Christine Axsmith

The conclusion I came to amidst all of the controversy created by radio, press, television, and social media was fairly straightforward. It took some doing to get there. I finally relaxed (somewhat) and came to the conclusion that I was better off sticking to the basic facts.

It became clear to me that I could trust my own eyes and utilize my own thoughts to come to my own conclusions.

Rule of thumb during complex and frightening circumstances — pay attention, rely on your own instincts, think for yourself and try to find like-minded people to (if possible) to reinforce this ideology.

Easier said than done, but entirely possible.

Expand full comment