Television and War

The following piece is reprinted with the author’s permission from the Wayne Madsen Report, where it was posted on Sept. 7-8. — MCM

The Hypnotic Effects of TV News Intros

By Wayne Madsen*

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 has 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, is 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” [readers may find examples online]. 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 purport 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.

Below [in the version of this article on the WMR website] are compilations of news intros from around the world. A note of caution is in order. Since all of these intros rely on the aforementioned methods, view them only if you are free of other tasks or do not suffer from flashing light-inducing seizures, including epilepsy. Most people will find themselves falling victim to the disorienting hypnotic effects of the following intro segments. That is, of course, the desired effect.

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* Wayne Madsen is Washington, D.C.-based investigative journalist, author and columnist. Among his books are The Star and the Sword (2014), in which he describes intimate involvement by both Israel and Saudi Arabia in the planning and carrying out of the September 2001 terror attacks on the United States.

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