In a study entitled, “Persuasive Messages for COVID-19 Vaccine Uptake,” researchers have been testing different propaganda messages in order to persuade people to get injected.
The study, which started before COVID-19 vaccines were released to the public, was sponsored by Yale University.
In the study the researchers believed that people would be wary of an experimental gene therapy, and therefore set to work on deciphering the best propaganda campaign to ensure the widespread uptake of the up-coming vaccines.
The study begins with questionable statement, which we now know to be a myth:
“Widespread vaccination remains the best option for controlling the spread of COVID-19 and ending the pandemic.”
However, the authors of the study do not expand on how this is a scientific fact. We now know that those who have been injected are just as likely to pass COVID-19 to their close contacts as the people who did not get a vaccine shot.
The reasons why people may be reluctant to get COVID-19 shots – such as safety and efficacy concerns – have also been ignored in the study. This indicates that the study was only concerned with how to best use psychological propaganda tactics in order to get people in favour of being vaccinated.
What Messages Work Best?
What works best? Messages of guilt, anger, embarrassment or cowardice?
The full study, which was published in the December 3, 2021 issue of Vaccine, involved two experiments. The first tested “treatment messages” designed to affect people’s intentions about whether or not to get the vaccine.
For the control group, subjects were exposed to a message about bird feeding, while others read the baseline vaccine message.
The message was as follows:
“To end the COVID-19 outbreak, it is important for people to get vaccinated against COVID-19 whenever a vaccine becomes available. Getting the COVID-19 vaccine means you are much less likely to get COVID-19 or spread it to others. Vaccines are safe and widely used to prevent diseases and vaccines are estimated to save millions of lives every year.”
For the experiment, the following messages were added to the baseline message:
|Personal freedom message||Economic freedom message|
|Self-interest message||Community interest message|
|Economic benefit message||Guilt message|
|Embarrassment message||Anger message|
|Trust in science message||Not bravery message|
For example, the guilt message, which is designed to work by social pressure, reads:
“The message is about the danger that COVID-19 presents to the health of one’s family and community. The best way to protect them is by getting vaccinated and society must work together to get enough people vaccinated. Then it asks the participant to imagine the guilt they will feel if they don’t get vaccinated and spread the disease.”
The study ignored the fact that this statement is false, since people can still spread the disease even if they’re injected.
Similarly misleading messages were also designed in order to demean, guilt and shame people into getting the shot.
- “If one doesn’t get vaccinated that means that one doesn’t understand how infections are spread or who ignores science.”
- “Those who choose not to get vaccinated against COVID-19 are not brave.”
- “It asks the participant to imagine the embarrassment they will feel if they don’t get vaccinated and spread the disease.”
- “It asks the participant to imagine the anger they will feel if they don’t get vaccinated and spread the disease.”
The researchers explained their reasoning for these messages as follows:
“One subgroup of messages draws on the idea that mass vaccination is a collective action problem and highlighting the prosocial benefit of vaccination or the reputational costs that one might incur if one chooses not to vaccinate. Another subgroup of messages built on contemporary concerns about the pandemic, like issues of restricting personal freedom or economic security.
We find that persuasive messaging that invokes prosocial vaccination and social image concerns is effective at increasing intended uptake and also the willingness to persuade others and judgments of non-vaccinators.”
Propaganda Messages Created With No Scientific Support
Ironically what raises an enormous question is the fact that the study included a “trust in science” message. The messages used in this study were created in early or mid-2020 – this was before any science was available to support a “trust in science” narrative.
Yet, as noted by a Children’s Health Defense (CHD) article:
“The messages tested by the researchers have been woven into mainstream media narratives and public health campaigns throughout the world.”
In the second part of the study, the most effective messages from part one were then tested on a nationally representative sample of U.S. adults.
Part two of the study included the baseline message along with community interest, community interest + embarrassment, not bravery, trust in science and personal freedom messages.
The study then found that, compared to the control group, psychological messages that involved community interest, reciprocity and embarrassment worked best, leading to a 30% increase in intention to get injected, along with a 24% increase in willingness to tell a friend to get injected and a 38% increase in negative opinions of those who declined to get the vaccine.
The messages were designed to not only impact people on an individual level, but also to divide society. This divide and conquer strategy encouraged people to pass negative judgment onto others and bring pressure on them to comply with “social norms.”
According to the researchers:
“Viewing vaccination through the lens of a collective action problem suggests that in addition to increasing individuals’ intentions to receive a vaccine, effective public health messages would also increase people’s willingness to encourage those close to them to vaccinate and to hold negative judgments of those who do not vaccinate.
By encouraging those close to them to vaccinate, people are both promoting compliance with social norms and increasing their own level of protection against the disease. Also, by judging those who do not vaccinate more negatively, they apply social pressure to others to promote cooperative behavior.”
Vaccinations are ‘Morally Right Choice’
Since the beginning of the pandemic conforming to what have become both confusing and questionable public health mandates has been made an issue of moral superiority.
An example of this can be seen for those who questioned mask mandates. They were labeled as “grandma killers.”
In an article published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in 2020, it’s also noted that “vaccination is a social contract in which cooperation is the morally right choice.”
The article further suggests that, under this social contract, people should change their behaviours toward those who choose not to get vaccinated. This tried to persuade people who were “especially compliant,” i.e., vaccinated, to be less generous to those who were unvaccinated.
The publication went further:
“If so, vaccinated individuals should reciprocate by being more generous to a vaccinated other. On the contrary, if the other doesn’t vaccinate and violates the social contract, generosity should decline.”
Propaganda Aimed at Making People Feel ‘Disgusting’
It should be noted that the CHD have pointed out that one of the authors of the Yale study, Saad Omer, “has an extensive interest in public health messaging” and was behind the “Building Vaccine Confidence Through Tailored Messaging Campaigns” in 2020.
This campaign used social media to convince people to get COVID-19 vaccinations and other shots.
Working with the World Health Organisation’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts Working Group on COVID-19 Vaccines, Omer has detailed what propaganda messages worked in the past to increase the uptake of the HPV vaccine, and suggested similar messages could work for COVID-19 vaccination program.
Omer has also stated that the solution involves appealing to core human values by stooping so low as to make a person feel disgusting while presenting the vaccines as a form of purity.
The CHD have even quoted Omer as saying:
“We wanted to test out, can we have a purity-based message? So we showed them pictures of genital warts and described a vignette, a narrative, a story, talking about how someone got genital warts and how disgusting they were and how pure vaccines are that sort of restore the sanctity of the body.
So we just analyzed these data. This was a randomized control trial with apriori outcomes. We found approximately 20 percentage point effect on people’s likelihood of getting an HPV vaccine in the next 6 months … We are trying out liberty-based messages or liberty-mediated messaging around this behavior related to COVID-19 outbreak.
That wearing a mask or taking precautions eventually make you free, regain your autonomy. Because if the disease rates are low, your activities can resume.”
Propaganda Is the Real Misinformation
Carefully crafted messages that play on your emotions and moral compass are just one part of the campaign to ensure public compliance with the mainstream narrative.
Fact checking is another tool now being used in order to control virtually everything we see and hear online, in order to serve a greater agenda.
Take the term “conspiracy theory,” which is now being used to dismiss any narratives that goes against the ‘official narrative’.
According to investigative journalist Sharyl Attkisson this is intentional, as the term itself was first created by the CIA as a response to theories about the assassination of JFK.
Debunked, quackery and anti-vaccine are all terms that are similarly being used as propaganda tools.
“There’s a whole cast of propaganda phrases that I’ve outlined that are cues. When you hear them, they should make you think, I need to find out more about it,”
Likewise, the CHD explained:
“The efforts to eliminate ‘misinformation’ resulted in unprecedented censorship of virtually anything that steps outside of state-sanctioned consensus and the creation of a captive audience primed to accept a singular narrative.”
And more concernedly the CHD continued:
“And thanks to a multibillion-dollar budget from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, we are under the influence of the best messages money can buy – whether or not those messages are true.”
A similar propaganda campaign is now being used to promote vaccine passports with many people now willingly giving up their freedom that, once gone, may be impossible to get back.
It’s also important to remain aware that government propaganda messages are being carefully crafted not only to mould human behaviour in order to comply with COVID-19 shots but much much more. Socials points may be coming next.
Watch the Black Mirror Nosedive episode for a clue on what this social nightmare will look like.
We must also recognise that the use of government sponsored propaganda is not restricted to the likes of China and Russia. It is also a perfectly legal tactic used in both the U.S and the U.K.
You can see the details of the Yale study –> HERE
RiP thanks you for reading. We leave you now Concrete Blondie with a Leonard Cohen tune – Everybody Knows.