For the last 30 or so years, it has not mattered whether you tune into the televised news in Kansas City or Khartoum or Denver or Dar es Salaam, a few seconds of viewing and hearing news introductions have had the same effect: you are mesmerized by techniques developed by psychiatrists, psychologists, and psychological warfare experts to keep your attention and lure you into the trance-like state. Once you are hypnotized, you will have the tendency to believe whatever is being transmitted to you by news readers who are merely following what they are seeing on teleprompters.
Using various forms of technology to control or subjugate populations was termed “biopower” by French philosopher and social theorist Michel Foucault. Modern television, including large- and small-screen displays relying on high-definition clarity, computer-generated graphics, and surround-sound audio have been manipulated by social control engineers, in conjunction with broadcasters, to achieve the maximum in phantasmatic media impact, which is a fancy phrase for “brainwashing.”
The use of captivating screens, mixed with photo and video montages, are designed to fixate the viewer, through illusory perception, as the deictic center of the temporal few seconds it takes to mesmerize the target.
Convincing the viewer that he or she is the deictic center is achieved by the use of slick graphics such as a spinning globe. Over 80 percent of all news intros rely on some form of a spinning globe. Known as “cartographic stimulation,” this technique helps to place the viewer in his or her own deictic center based on geo-tagging. Other techniques use a virtual maze, for example, within a familiar city, to mesmerize the target. The viewer, briefly disoriented, focuses in on where he or she is at the moment. Everything else on or off screen becomes a blur.
The spinning globe has the same effect on the viewer as the hypnotic wheel or “hypno spiral. The viewer gazes intently on the point of fixation, the center of the vortex. The center might be the East Coast of the United States, the greater Paris region, the Qatar peninsula, or the island of Sri Lanka. Foucault would call this technique a biopower tool for mass hypnosis.
Fox News was the first major network to rely on such psychological gimmickry in its coverage of Desert Storm, the first Gulf War. Some psychologists and graphics experts believe that such news intro mental manipulation, for example, by West Germany’s ARD and ZDF and Austria’s ORF networks, has been in effect since as early as 1955. After the September 11, 2001, attacks and the U.S. military interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as the “Global War on Terror,” the technological mesmerizing of television viewers was adopted by all major networks, including CNN and MS-NBC. Today, hypnotic effect intros are available at a nominal cost or as freeware to the most obscure Internet-based television programs, including those that constantly spout extreme far-right propaganda.
Few people understand that television news and what purports to be news programs in broadcast, cable, and web formats are using hypnotic intros to spread their messages.
When it comes to major catastrophic weather events arising from global climate change, the COVID pandemic becoming endemic, and the breakdown of democratic rule by fascist political movements, this combination of graphics, lights, video and auditory stimuli is intended to brainwash large sectors of the population. The fact that the viewing masses become complacent with regard to corporate polluters and environmentally-destructive corporations, who are teamed up with political fascists, cannot be understated.
Previously published in the Wayne Madsen Report.
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Wayne Madsen is a Washington, DC-based investigative journalist, author and nationally-distributed columnist. A member of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) and the National Press Club. He is the editor and publisher of the Wayne Madsen Report (subscription required).