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OPINION

The Gaslighting of the American People

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
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AP Photo/Ron Harris

This week, Project Veritas released a video of Charlie Chester, a CNN technical director, talking to a woman who recorded him during what he thought were "dates"; she had purposely targeted him and videoed him surreptitiously. While you might not agree with her tactics, her videos reveal that CNN was involved in what proved to be a successful media campaign to control the political process.

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"Look what we did, we got Trump out. I am 100% going to say it, and I 100% believe that, if it wasn't for CNN, I don't know that Trump would have got voted out," Chester said. "Our focus was to get Trump out of office, right? Without saying it, that's what it was."

Part of the process within CNN, according to the tapes, was to highlight anything negative against then-President Donald Trump. If Trump's "hand was shaking or whatever, I think. We brought in so many medical people to all tell a story that was all speculation -- that he was neurologically damaged, and he was losing it," said Chester. "We were creating a story there that we didn't know anything about. That's what -- I think, that's propaganda."

The opposite tactic was taken with Biden, according to Chester. "We would always show shots of him jogging and that 'I'm healthy,' you know... and him in his aviator shades," he said. "Like you paint him as a young geriatric." Looking at the coverage during the campaign, it was clear that Trump was treated poorly while Biden and his team were covered in glowing terms. The same is true in many other media outlets in different political environments.

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For over a year, we have been told that the number of COVID-19 deaths is astronomical; this information has led to policy decisions including lockdowns, vaccines and social isolation. This week, the National News in the United Kingdom published a story written by Brodie Owen that said, "One in four 'Covid-19 deaths' in UK not caused by the disease." The story revealed that COVID-19 deaths in the United Kingdom have been grossly over-reported.

"The latest Office for National Statistics data shows that 23 per cent of coronavirus deaths registered in the UK were among those who died with the virus rather than from the illness," Owen wrote, "meaning Covid-19 was not the primary cause of death." This should be a front-page story everywhere, with the follow-up question of: How much are the numbers overinflated in other countries?

But we all know that fear sells news and empowers other people to control our actions by making us afraid and unsure -- even when the facts might not justify those feelings.

There is always a quest by media to cover something fearful. "I think there's a COVID fatigue," said Chester. Referring to CNN, he said that "So, like whenever a new story comes up, they're going to latch onto it. They've already announced in our office that once the public is -- will be open to it -- we're going to start focusing mainly on climate... Climate change can take years, so they'll probably be able to milk that quite a bit."

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According to Psychology Today, "Gaslighting is an insidious form of manipulation and psychological control. Victims of gaslighting are deliberately and systematically fed false information that leads them to question what they know to be true, often about themselves. They may end up doubting their memory, their perception, and even their sanity. Over time, a gaslighter's manipulations can grow more complex and potent, making it increasingly difficult for the victim to see the truth."

If this definition makes you think that the American people are being gaslit, you might be right. The next campaign? Climate change.

This Monday, Scientific American published "We Are Living in a Climate Emergency, and We're Going to Say So," by senior editor Mark Fischetti. "Why 'emergency'? Because words matter," Fischetti wrote. "To preserve a livable planet, humanity must take action immediately. Failure to slash the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will make the extraordinary heat, storms, wildfires and ice melt of 2020 routine. ...The media's response to COVID-19 provides a useful model," he added. "Guided by science, journalists have described the pandemic as an emergency, chronicled its devastating impacts, called out disinformation and told audiences how to protect themselves (with masks and social distancing, for example)."

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We know now that, at least in the UK (and probably everywhere), the COVID-19 death numbers were vastly over-reported. What the media does is focus on churning out stories that create fear and controversy, which feels an awful lot like the gaslighting of the American people in order to control the political process.

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