A crash course in changing the world.
I read the article "Covering risk". I was kind of surprised about what I read. I mean, after I read it, it all seemed logical and comprehensible to me, but I never really was conscious about how "easily" people's perception of something is influenceable by journalists and the media in general. For example, the words you choose to describe the current situation make a huge difference and are from enormous importance. Here is a classic example:
If you say a pandemic could kill as many as two to seven million, people will kind of shrug off the two to seven, but they’ll focus on the “as many as” as evidence that it’s a bad number. They’ll say, “Oh, it could kill as many as two to seven million people!”
If, on the other hand, you said it would only kill two to seven million people, people use “only” as their signal and say, “Oh, it’s only two to seven million people.” So the number matters less than the signals you put around the number. Those tell people whether you’re trying to freak them out or you’re trying to help them.
This means, just by using special key words one (respectively journalists) is capable of influencing the mood and perception of hundreds, thousands or even millions of people. The media know of this advantage and know how to use this to their own profit.