Manufacturing the Success of Corona-Chan: The Economics of Clickbait and Panic-mongering of the Mainstream Media

I’m not done with covering the Covid-19 mainstream media bullshit campaign. As I previously argued, it’s a giant hoax. Covid-19 is a PsyOps operation that has been fueled by political correctness. There is another aspect of it that keeps it in the media: clickbait journalism.

If you have grown up in a time before the Internet had fully penetrated society, you may have a dim recollection that mainstream media once attempted to inform you. True, the Overton window was an issue back then as it is today, but I can vividly remember reading debate articles in large newspapers where you had, for instance, an industry expert on one side with his opinion on some issue, and on the other a journalist or academic or some other useless eater with an opposing opinion on the same issue. Today, the Overton window has shrunk a lot. If you’re not completely on-board with the mainstream agenda, your voice won’t get heard, which is precisely why alternative media are an existential threat to the mainstream. They have lost control of the narrative and are now desperately trying to regain it, which is the reason behind the massive censorship campaigns that are waged online on Google, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, and other sites.

The Internet has turned into some kind of perversion in which seeming popularity is the most important metric. This is why we have click-bait. A site needs to get your clicks because it increases the number of ads they show, which in turn increases their revenues. Consequently, headlines are getting more and more alarmist because, apparently, nothing drives readership numbers as outrage porn does. Once the realm of scammy online marketers, clickbait headlines have become a mainstay of the mainstream. No longer is the purpose to inform you. It’s only about click-driven advertising revenue, whereas in earlier times when audience engagement couldn’t be measured, newspapers didn’t need to aim for maximum outrage as advertisers were happy to pay them based on vaguely defined metrics like “reach”.

Covid-19 is an excellent headline because it feeds into fears on both an individual level as well as a societal one. On top, it feeds a greed-based narrative. Those are all very powerful emotions. First Joe is concerned that he may be next in line for the Grim Reaper, then he learns that his country is shutting down non-essential businesses, and later he gets excited because there is “blood in the street” and he may be able to make a killing in the stock market if he buys at the bottom, or get some other assets cheaply.

From an economic perspective, it unfortunately makes more sense to feed the outrage machine than report soberly on contemporary issues. After all, a headline like “1000 new dead in Italy; Country locked down” generates many more clicks than “Flu in Europe milder than last year’s” or — hard to imagine! — not reporting on this at all because it’s a stupid mass hysteria that has nothing to do with reality. Nobody would write a news article with the headline “People die”.

The saddest part of all of this is that the merchants of fear will also benefit from the chaos they create. Right now, we are busy crippling our economies because a minuscule fraction of old people are dying from a flu-like disease. The ramifications are enormous already, with this being another big economic crash. If you’re the billionaire owner of a mainstream newspaper, however, your job is secure. You’ll maximize click revenue by playing your part in driving the economy right into the ground. This kind of thinking is also promoted by the short-sightedness of modern management, which thinks in three-months intervals and commonly ignores long-term effects.

Did you enjoy this article? Great! If you want to read more by Aaron, check out his excellent books, the latest of which is Meditation Without Bullshit. Aaron is available for one-on-one consultation sessions if you want honest advice. Lastly, donations for the upkeep of this site are highly appreciated.

28 thoughts on “Manufacturing the Success of Corona-Chan: The Economics of Clickbait and Panic-mongering of the Mainstream Media

  1. Mr Elias, have you ever considered that maybe all these warnings about the consequences of immigration, maybe it’s just because the people who run the anti-immigration websites want to get donations? They couldn’t get donations if they said everything’s fine, that there’s not this urgent problem they are trying to solve. And maybe the people warning you about feminism, they’re just trying to scare you so that they can get more traffic, more ad revenue. Those blue-hairs actually make very good wives, you should put a ring on one.

    Annoying, huh? That’s how you sound to those of us who know that corona is a real problem. There are places in Italy where 1.3% of the population have died. Not 1.3% of the infected died, but 1.3% of the people, period. Is that what you want for America? 4.35 million deaths.

    Can you explain why Russia, China, and even crazy theocracy Iran are all taking coronavirus seriously? Is it ad revenue for them, too?

    1. Read my other articles on Covid-19. I don’t doubt that people have died. However, in most cases people have been dying with Covid-19, not of Covid-19, though. Look into the discrepancy in the death rates of Italy vs Germany. The former records people dying with Covid-19 as having died of it. Germany does the opposite.

      Covid-19 is either the flu or a flu-like virus. It poses little danger. Of course, it is preferable to spare the lives of the elderly, assuming that their overall happiness still outweighs their overall pain. Thus, I find efforts to “flatten the curve” commendable. Note that Russia shut down the borders, which is effective, while our Western moronic leaders used to insist that facemasks not only not help but “may make it more likely” to get infected, and the borders obviously also had to remain open. Germany is still accepting asylum requests, by the way, even after having closed its borders.

      You shouldn’t easily dismiss economic arguments. Funding for science is nowadays highly political as well, so even scientists have an interest in fear-mongering.

      I could of course be wrong in my opinion on Covid-19, but the evidence suggests the opposite. In Italy 99% of those who died had preexisting conditions and their median age was 79.5. How is this a threat to the wider population? It doesn’t justify wrecking the economy.

      1. I did read your other articles. You claimed that obese people are more likely to die of this and didn’t cite any evidence of that. There’s evidence smoking is very bad, where does the obesity claim come from? Here’s a chart of those critically ill, they are only slightly fatter than the general population:

        What it is is the just world fallacy. You ate right, you went to the gym, so it ain’t gonna hurt you, right? But the virus doesn’t care, just like the bolt of lightning doesn’t care, just like the drunk driver on the highway doesn’t care. Just hope you don’t end up like this guy:

        As to the claim that people who become infected with the virus would have died anyway of some other illness, there’s an easy way to account for this: look at the death rate, period, don’t even look at the reported causes of death. There are parts of Italy where it is four times the number it was this time last year.

      2. My claim on obesity was an educated guess. I’m just throwing this out there. The reason is that obesity comes with a whole slew of other health issues. Being “slightly fatter” than the median is quite damning if the median is already overweight.

        Look, I’m questioning that Covid-19 is killing people. Your argument about death rates doesn’t quite work because I did not say that those people would have died without Covid-19 at around the same time. If they had caught the regular flu, they would arguably have died due to the flu. However, without catching anything, they may have lived for a few more years. However, if you are in your 70s, the probaility that you are going to die goes up with every year.

      3. “Thus, I find efforts to “flatten the curve” commendable. ”

        I don’t.
        In fact, I find the expression to be a non-discriminating feel-good narrative aimed at justifying the lock down.
        Here’s why:
        There won’t be a flu shot for this anytime soon, so what’s needed is controlled achievment of herd immunity which is about 60-70% of the population catching Covid19.
        This will happen anyway, but now we’re flattening all the curve indiscriminately vs. flattening the curve of risk groups which hardly represent more than 10% (my guess) of society. In other words, we’re delaying the entire process. In Switzerland, one of the countries hit worst by Covid19 on a per-capita basis, hospitals are empty. I know this first hand, as my girlfriend and her twin sister work in hospitals. Staff is working part time.

        So no, flattening the curve is a fucking waste of time and the US will, even if unvoluntarily, prove that herd immunity is the way to go.
        The solution would’ve been to lock down 65+ yo people and spend a minuscule fraction of all the fiscal stimulus package on making sure they get their groceries. Heck, use the army for it, Switzerland called in the biggest number since WW2. That’s what they are for.

        But let the rest work and make that curve explode for those who aren’t at risk.

      4. Flattening the curve is the one part of the mainstream narrative that seemed plausible to me. If it is indeed generally the case that hospitals are not under any strain, then Covid-19 a hoax of enormous proportions. On that note, some MSM outlet was caught broadcasting chaotic footage from Italy, claiming it shows a hospital in NYC.

      5. Hospitals are far from being under strain.
        They had three Covid19 departments open, which were taken from the regular chirurgical departments (space wise) at Triemli Spital Zürich.
        The hospital has now closed 1.5 of those three departments, as there is more staff than patients. Triemli Spital is now losing money because of all the scheduled operations that were cancelled because of the Covid19 cases that never came.
        At Unispital there were 17 doctors at on “Station” and there was hardly work for two. Doctors (Hausärzte) go out of business:

        St Anna Spital in Luzern has declared “Kurzarbeit”, which can be a drop all the way down to 20% of weekly working hours, so are others:

        Re “flattening the curve” vs. “kontrollierte Durchseuchung” – if you can, watch this (might be behind a paywall):

      6. @Neutral

        Hospital strain is largely a myth. I’ve been called off from work 3 times in the last month. Elective surgeries are on hold. More patients than would have been before are being treated in the ER and then sent home. You could say this is artificial, but we’ve literally only had one confirmed case of coronavirus. That one case is a 90 year old woman and is doing extremely well, relative to the doom and gloom you here in the media about this super contagious virus that is wiping out the youth. I expect her to make a full recovery. They were only even tested because the nursing home would not take them back unless screened, otherwise no one would have even known they were infected as they were being treated for something unrelated to respiratory complications. It’s possible that the test yielded a false positive, however. Or it could be that an asymptomatic mutation is spreading throughout the community.

        Also, about the news we are now hearing about the virus lying dormant and reactivating at a later date, I think that’s not a big surprise. Many viruses infect humans and never find an opportunity to manifest into an illness, effectively lying dormant. Yet, sometimes it does happen that someone becomes malnourished or significantly stressed, for example, and a virus can essentially activate and wreak havoc. Think Epstein-Barr virus. Extremely common, like herpes in general, yet many people never manifest symptoms.

        An older obese lady I work with has recurring laryngitis, probably viral. She usually has a flare up once every season, yet none of us ever have an issue with it. I’ve noted her to munch down on deep fried french fries and gravy on the regular. Her BMI is no doubt in the 40’s and she is around 55 years old.

      7. @Pickernanny
        Thanks for this insight. Are you US-based? If so, which state? (don’t share your location if you don’t feel like it ofc.)

      8. @Neutral

        I just listened to an interview of a retired Swedish epidemiologist, Professor Johan Giesecke. He talks about Sweden’s herd immunity approach and contrasts it to lockdowns everywhere else in Europe. What he said pretty much concurs with what you think about not flattening the curve. A summary of this guy’s views, which I’m copying from the video description:
        – UK policy on lockdown and other European countries are not evidence-based
        – The correct policy is to protect the old and the frail only
        – This will eventually lead to herd immunity as a “by-product”
        – The initial UK response, before the “180 degree U-turn”, was better
        – The Imperial College paper was “not very good” and he has never seen an unpublished paper have so much policy impact
        – The paper was very much too pessimistic
        – Any such models are a dubious basis for public policy anyway
        – The flattening of the curve is due to the most vulnerable dying first as much as the lockdown
        – The results will eventually be similar for all countries
        – Covid-19 is a “mild disease” and similar to the flu, and it was the novelty of the disease that scared people.
        – The actual fatality rate of Covid-19 is the region of 0.1%
        – At least 50% of the population of both the UK and Sweden will be shown to have already had the disease when mass antibody testing becomes available

        So it seems like there’s more sanity and reason guiding Sweden’s approach than the world’s giving credit for, even if ongoing PR by the Swedish authorities doesn’t inspire much confidence (Giesecke advises the Swedish government). I would hate for Sweden to emerge from this pandemic feeling even more superior to everyone else though. Yucks.


      9. Isolating only the vulnerable is a major point, I think. The point of shutting the global economy down was mostly either knee jerk or insidious in nature.

    2. Another view on my stance is that I’m very consistent: my default assumption is that whatever the mainstream pushes is fucking bullshit. It could of course be a complete coincidence that I was right on mass immigration, diversity, man-made global warming, and feminism and now, with the latest topic du jour, I’m wrong, and Covid-19 is indeed going to wipe all of us out. True, I might be wrong, but with the track record of the mainstream media, a much more plausible question to ask is why they would suddenly be right this time and not just lie to us like they so habitually do.

      Have you ever spoken to a journalist? If so, you would know how incredibly stupid those people are. They have blinders on that make the Great Wall of China look minuscule in comparison.

      1. I didn’t learn about coronavirus from the mainstream media. I first heard about it on Zerohedge and the Unz Review. You seem to think just because YOU first learned about the story from CNN then that means it originated at CNN. It didn’t. You didn’t address my point about Russia, China, and Iran. And also Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, etc. EVERYONE is taking coronavirus seriously.

        Do you also believe in creationism and the flat earth theory? You ought to, because the mainstream media is condemning those, so they must be true. Sure, almost everyone else in the world also believes in evolution and the round earth, but don’t let stop you. CNN is the arbiter of truth. Whatever they say cannot be true.

      2. Do you want to impress me with how edgy you are? ZH is fully into pushing the mainstream end-of-days propaganda. There even worse than the MSM in that regard because they openly embrace click-bait. I only irregularly check the Unz review. The last time I scanned the front page, it seems they were more concerned about the economic fallout of Covid-19, curtailing of civil liberties, and questioning the Wuhan origin myth.

        The issue is not whether Covid-19 is real nor not. Instead, the issue is what this virus is. To me, all evidence seems to point this being a mass hysteria over essentially the flu. We’ve had mass hysterias before. To normies, it’s perfectly obvious in hindsight just like they never really bought into it in the first place.

        You seem to have some reading comprehension issues. I wrote about issues the MSM are actively pushing. I can’t recall any big cover stories on the flat earth theory, whereas the issues I’ve mentioned have been enjoying the main stage for years or even decades. As a sophisticated reader, you should also know that exaggeration is a stylistic element. In addition, my wording was a lot more careful than you seem willing (or able) to give it credit for. I spoke of a default assumption. Those can of course change.

      3. “ZH is fully into pushing the mainstream end-of-days propaganda.”

        ZH was saying it BEFORE the MSM was. It’s possible that they have a portal to the future, saw CNN, and that’s where it’s all coming from, because it’s “the MSM’s” narrative.

      4. You are not arguing in good faith. I don’t question that Covid-19 exists. Instead, my argument is that this is a manufacured mass hysteria. As I previously wrote, ZH engages in alarmist clickbait journalism.

    3. East coast USA. Red state. Split up from a blue state back when the country was at odds with itself. Definitely not a ‘hot zone.’ But literally not being affected at all by this pandemic. Other than people panic buying and everything being closed down, of course. Are you from the US?

      1. Gotcha. Good place to be.

        No, I’m living in Switzerland, originally from Germany, though.
        Trying to get my ass over to your country. It’s either the diversity lottery or an EB5 visa (investor visa) when the Fed prints the dollar into oblivion and my cryptos eventually go to the moon. Need a million for the EB5 alone, so go ahead, Mnuchin, make my day 🙂

      2. Lol well best of luck, friend. I’m looking at relocating to an eastern city in TN at some point. Lmk where you end up.

      3. Thanks man, will do.
        This is a multi-year project. Aiming for Montana, Kalispell/Whitefish area.

        Anyway… one can dream. That being said, the odds seem to be at 1:25 for winning the DV, so it ain’t that bad.

  2. General question to readers – has any trend happened that you predicted would happen? Or anything that happened that took you by surprise?

    For example:
    1) I thought ‘woke’ culture (including feminism crap) would die off or womyn-power would be overwritten by corona-this, corona that. But I see headlines about how, gush gush, there are all these fine female leaders coralling corona-chan. Such as Teresa Tam (Canada’s health expert who has flip flopped on borders and face masks, it causes whiplash)…or I’m guessing Finland’s all-female government. In the same breath, I see headlines about how women are the primary victims of corona-chan since they are the majority of front-line workers (ignoring the fact that men seem to have higher mortality rates from corona-virus).

    2) Stock markets still romping and humping up. So those “FIRE” bloggers have not been rendered impotent and bankrupt. I suppose I should have foreseen quantitative easing (QE) to infinity. I guess that hyperinflation during 1930s Germany was an isolated incident; I mean history doesn’t repeat itself, right??

    3) I figured simps would still help out thots online. I heard about how this platform called “OnlyFans” had a surge in sign-ups in March. I can’t believe there are people paying these amateurs…there’s pornhub, man! I even heard of people doing dates on Zoom. WHAT THE F–K?!

    How about you guys?

    1. “2) Stock markets still romping and humping up. So those “FIRE” bloggers have not been rendered impotent and bankrupt. I suppose I should have foreseen quantitative easing (QE) to infinity. I guess that hyperinflation during 1930s Germany was an isolated incident; I mean history doesn’t repeat itself, right??”

      Excellent point!

      Let me make a ranting comment on this one.

      The FIRE bloggers are stupid bunch of dumbass motherfuckers with their retarded “safe withdrawal rates” (SWR) of fucking 4%. Ya gotta be kidding me.
      According to the world bank, the USD broad money base has been inflated by 7.42% PER YEAR from 1960 to 2015 and specifically by 5.45% p.a. from 1990 to 2015. So basically them fucktards withdrawing 4% per year and inflation eating away 5.45%, pretty much exactly leaves these dreaming idiots at 0% return in terms of purchasing power (S&P500 returns an average of 9% or so per year).

      Here is some good inputs regarding SWR

      Now, let’s look at their most stupid bias ever: Recency bias.
      I strongly recommend reading Chris Cole’s piece. Just punch in any email address, can be a fake one and the doc will open.

      Essentially, FIRE idiots fail to understand that a bunch of baby boomers, technological progress, globalization, rates going down from 1984 at 14ish % to zero in 2007, shittons of money going into retirement savings from a huge workforce, the abandoning of the “kinda gold standard” called Bretton Woods in 1971 is what made stocks go “stonks” in the last 30+ years.
      Chris Cole asks the question: Do you think this is repeatable?
      US Corporate debt to GDP is the highest it has ever been in history, the freaking boomers are retiring, hence withdrawing money from pension schemes (read: they are selling their stupid 60/40 portfolio) and productivity gain is being killed regulation after regulation.
      Further, the typical US pension fund is underfunded and has a ridiculous return expectation of 7.x% p.a. but at the same time is holding bonds to a large degree, believing the mantra of bonds being anti-correlated to stocks, which can be demonstrated to be absolutely false over the last 150 years (it’s only over the last few decades of unprecedented easy monetary policy that this was the case).
      Should returns plummet to 3ish percent p.a. then the funding ratios drop to 70% or even less.

      Check this out. This is the S&P500 performance expressed in Gold from 2000 until today:

      And this is what the fucking FIRE idiots are looking at. The S&P500 in USD:

      Looks pretty shitty, no? I don’t think I have to add a Bitcoin chart next to that. Y’all know how it looks like.
      See, anybody could’ve made money over the last 30-40 years, when you have all the above listed factors covering your ass. This time it is different. We can only deleverage through deflation or inflation. And given boomers and millennials represent together about 50% of the (US?) population, they will not vote for any deflationary politics (although this would be the right thing). They will all vote for inflation, meaning more and more QE. The Fed is already buying ETFs (yes, junk bond ETFs and Corporate Investment Grade ones, too). Soon they will be buying stocks and then you’ll have the full blown japanification of the US and the world.

      Fortunately, there are ways to “hedge” against this, but it’s not a 60/40 portfolio and it’s not risk parity, lol.

      Anyway. Thanks for making that comment. Great place for me to dump those few links.

  3. What does “outrage” mean? I know outrageous as an adjective, outrage as a noun, but outrage in this case seems to be an adjective, as in “outrage machine”. Is this a word? But then “outrage porn” indicates that outrage modifies a noun.

    I still don’t know what is “outrage machine” or call-out culture. According to this site, “call-out” culture is. This article suggests that it is a term in the context of customer service. It seems call-out culture in this bustle article is this:

    ” An ordinary person missteps or speaks out of turn, the online community catches wind of the story, and suddenly someone finds themselves the focus of the collective outrage of thousands of strangers.”

    1. Outrage is anger. Thus, an “outrage machine” produces outrage. Call-out culture sounds like a euphemism. It’s probably a reference to the widespread silencing of non-mainstream voices online, and that kind of censorship is relabelled as “calling out”.

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