When President Joe Biden appeared in the state dining hall on Tuesday to deliver a nationally televised speech on the Omicron variant, he spoke with two groups of Americans: the vaccinated and the unvaccinated. But Biden also delivered a brief (and compelling) message to a third group of Americans: those who are benefiting by promoting lies about the pandemic and vaccines.
“Look, the unvaccinated are responsible for their own choices,” Biden said. “But these elections have been fueled by dangerous misinformation on cable TV and social media. You know, these companies and personalities are making money by selling lies and allowing misinformation that can kill their own customers and their own followers. “.
“It’s wrong, it’s immoral and I ask the providers of these lies and misinformation to stop it,” Biden added. “Stop it now.”
This is not the first time Biden has called in the wrong information. In his inaugural address, he vowed to work for “defending the truth and defeating the lies.” And his administration has repeatedly warned of the dangers of misinformation ever since. But identifying a problem is one thing, solving it is another. And Biden’s requests for dishonest people to act in good faith have not yielded any significant results …
The needle does not move
As the hours of programming on Fox that followed the speech showed, Biden’s words had no effect. Tucker Carlson opened his trafficking program with more vaccine rhetoric and mocked the threat posed by the Omicron variant. And elsewhere in the right-wing media, Biden’s demand that outlets stop pushing anti-fax rhetoric was ridiculed and used to generate more eyeballs and therefore more profits. I noticed that the stories about Biden calling for the right-wing media were at the top of right-wing media sites like The Pundit Gateway.
Fox laughs at Fauci
A failure of imagination?
The marketing campaign is not great
Speaking of a failure of imagination: one thing that has caught my attention is how bad the marketing of vaccines has been. Most messages seem to be aimed at people who are already attentive to the news and have decided in one way or another. Whether it’s Biden giving an address to the White House or Fauci doing the cable news round, it’s hard to see how these efforts are reaching persuasive, non-informative audiences.
I may not be reasonable, but it baffles me that I can sign in to an app like Instagram and not be immediately bombarded with athletes, musicians, actors, and other influencers by encouraging their followers to get vaccinated and empowered. And it baffles me why public vaccine PSAs are boring and lack a drop of creativity. These ads could be powerful and evoke all sorts of emotions, but at least here in New York, they simply present the health commissioner reading dry a script to encourage people to get vaccinated.
The pro-vaccine message, for lack of better words, is boring! This is not to say that there were no exceptions to this rule. But overall, the marketing has not been impressive. And I can’t imagine these local PSAs, another Biden speech, or Fauci appearing on a Sunday show for the umpteenth time being effective at convincing anyone to come along. It’s really time for government officials to think outside the box about how to reach new audiences …
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