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The Omicron Variant: A Hype or A Real Deal?


On November 29, I posted what seemed like an innocuous message on the pages of Roger & Co. Collaborative Project Group [1], and I cite:

 I never thought I’d say it, but I’m beginning to think that our liberal media’s preoccupation with Covid-19 and all its variants, past, present, and future—is a political act. Indeed,] one can’t turn on a cable news outlet these days without being barraged by doctors, nurses, and health professionals about Covid this and Covid that. What’s your take?

Innocuous or not, my little communique had generated many responses from my somewhat timid FB friends. Some of the responses were supportive, others less so, others yet, full of vitriol. [2] [3] And this tells me that inadvertently perhaps, I may have stumbled on a real hot-button issue.

 Hence this post.


Since I’m already accused of balking at the customary, Covid-related safety protocols by the simple suggestion that our media’s obsession with the new Omicron variant smacks of “the political,” I may as well play the devil’s advocate and up the ante by pushing the envelope [4]


Let’s turn back the clock to 1918, the end of World War I. The UK is the place. And its edifice, the Ministry of Information—or Disinformation to some folks! [5] Thus, a modern-day propaganda apparatus was born, reinforced, and kept alive by all the accouterments such as mass communications, “free” press, and instant access. The rest is history. [6] [7] [8]


In segments to follow, I’ll examine similar developments across the Continent.

If the British experiment with propaganda strikes you as unwholesome, you have another think coming, for, in the US, that experiment was carried to a new level. A brand new industry—the industry of public relations—was the brainchild.[9]

But first, I’ll try to trace the devolution of propaganda from its humble beginnings to its present-day dimensions.  


1. The “group” is a Facebook site that serves as an adjunct to, and its purpose is to keep the participants abreast of recent developments related to the primary site.

2. Gordon Miller’s reaction deserves a special mention. Lisa McAllister’s use of “assert” served as a green light. I won’t bother you with the gory details—a word-for-word transcript of the ensuing exchange. It’s a matter of record, and you may access it with a Facebook account.

3. Gordon is an old FB friend and colleague from the good ole’ BC. While Blogcritics was still a relevant site, he was a Film Editor under the rather forbidding pseudonym of “El Bicho.”

4. I never intended to downplay the value of those protocols, each of which I support, or the invaluable public service provided by the media to keep us informed and up to date!

5. It’s a safe bet that the Ministry of Information served as a prototype for George Orwell’s tongue-in-cheek’s “Ministry of Truth.” Because of salient characteristics of Nineteen Eighty-Four, Orwell’s depiction of “the ministry” is straightforward, all black ‘n white, compared to the Ministry of Information. The latter was far more insidious in its outreach and intended effects (and, therefore, far more believable).

6. Before its formation on February 10, 1918, there were several departments or agencies in the UK, each devoted to matters of publicity and propaganda. The Admiralty, War Office and Press Committee (AWOPC), a purely “advisory body” founded in 1912, was a starter. Since the outbreak of World War I, other agencies have followed suit. These included the British Board of Film Censors (for films), the Propaganda Bureau (for overseas information and propaganda), the National War Aims Committee (for internal information and propaganda), the Neutral Press Committee (with neutral countries in mind), and the Press Bureau. And so, although the organizational purpose was to coordinate the activities of the disparate intelligence-gathering agencies by putting them under one roof, the express purpose was to control the dissemination of information in times of adversity. And the Ministry of Information was it!

7. The 1918 Ministry of Information was short-lived. It was dissolved within a year, two months after the official end of the Great War (November 1, 1918), only to be reinstated on September 4, 1939, the day after Britain’s declaration of war. (The express purpose was “to promote the national case to the public at home and abroad in time of war” by issuing ‘National Propaganda’ and controlling news and information.”) And once again, in March 1946, within months of the end of World War II in both theaters, the MOI was dissolved with its residual functions passing to the Central Office of Information (COI), a central organization providing common and specialist information services.

8. The Soviets’ concerted effort at propaganda in the immediate aftermath of the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution has a long and checkered history. Since its origins are indeterminable, let’s say that the Soviets followed the same script. Even more interesting is the German post-World War I effort. For indeed, since Mein Kampf’s publication in 1925 and 1926, we may regard Hitler’s magnum opus as a foreshadow of things to come. And so, it wasn’t until Herr Goebbels, Hitler’s Minister of Propaganda once Hitler was in near-full control of the Third Reich, that we’re seeing a full-scale attack on Jews and other “inferior races” which, according to script, contaminated the Aryan ideal. Mind you, though, that Herr Goebbels edicts date back to 1938. Thus, the Brits and the Russians were ahead of the Germans in the propaganda game, so it’d seem. 

9. Just as censorship, a simplistic means of social control, gave way to a far more sophisticated method inherent in a full-blown propaganda machine, the latter had progressed further yet—beyond mere advertising!—to culminate in a benign-sounding “public relations” enterprise. All told, I think it’s fair to say that “advertising,” though delimited to business and business-related concerns, is a form of “propaganda.” Well, “public relations” encompasses virtually every aspect of public life — from politics to business and what have you. Lobbying is one example of the former. And as regards business, it’d become fair game all ‘round—from “entertainment, technology, music, travel, television, food, consumer electronics and more,” much more. Nothing was beyond its purview!

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Adrien Rain Burke


Cindy Foltyn