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Well Being: Stoking Rage
Business Models Based on Fear and Rage are bad for your health
This year, Labor Day (yesterday) was far from a holiday for me. Multiple people wrote to me with screenshots from Telegram, demonstrating that a moderately well known podcast personality (formerly a drug company rep) was using quite strong language to attack, demean and demonize me. All while hiding behind the ruse of “just asking questions”. The theme was familiar, it has cropped up a few times during the past two years. The most gentle way to express the nature of the attack is that I was being accused of being controlled opposition; that I am controlled by some version of the Deep State or Pharma. I had been aware of increasingly strident internet-based personal attacks, which began a few weeks ago as critique of the Mass Formation hypothesis of Dr. Mattias Desmet and his recently published book “The Psychology of Totalitarianism”, then were broadened into increasingly strident and shrill direct defamation of me (personally). The level of hate and rage that were being directed towards me had reached critical mass. No longer could I just ignore the heel biters from the right and hope it would go away, as my friend and colleague Dr. Peter McCullough had advised. So many were writing to me about this, from so many sources, that it was clear that I had to respond to the slander and defamation.
This specific attack yesterday was derived from and repeated accusations made about me by a husband-wife author couple who have written a book about the COVIDcrisis which is not selling particularly well. The “personality” launching the attack is an MD (correction, just learned not an MD but a PhD) with Pharmaceutical industry/drug rep experience who often teams to podcast with another “personality” whose business prior to the COVIDcrisis was working as a bounty hunter, and who has no background nor training in infectious disease, medicine, science, or any other discipline to the best of my knowledge. Other colleagues have told me that this podcasting team has made quite a bit of money during the outbreak selling vitamins and supplements to their audience. My point with this brief anonymized summary is that there are business interests at play here, which have the appearance of potential financial conflicts of interest.
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So, reluctantly, I dove into the hate threads on Telegraph. The rage was as overwhelming as it was irrational. This is not my first time dealing with this sort of internet firestorm of directed hate, but this one was particularly nasty. Nooses, death threats, accusations that I was responsible for the death and disability of millions due to my work as a young man creating the mRNA delivery and vaccine platform. Anger that I have not gone back to the bench to try to discover an antidote for the injected genetic vaccine material. As I wrote comment after comment addressing the criticisms, I did my best to keep calm and collected, but just reading all of that directed hate is like drinking soul poison. Suddenly the fever broke, others began posting that the host of the Telegram channel was off base in her attacks on me, some of the most nasty dropped off, and the host pivoted to then using the whole affair to try to market her channel to others (after blocking me from commenting further). Jill was on the road after dropping Dr. Desmet off at IAD airport for his return flight to Belgium, and she was so upset by what I had been dealing with that she called the local Sheriff to alert to the possibility of a SWATting attack (and coincidentally Steve Bannon got SWATted the same day for the fourth(?) time in the last few weeks).
So now, half a day later, after a rather restless night of sleep and bad dreams, I continue to feel the psychological effects of experiencing all of that hate. I guess it was truly a necessary evil that I had to deal with, but it was most definitely a psychological poison. And not the first time.
A while back there was a PhD who was touring with others across the United States selling tickets for rallies in which he would make wild accusations about the motives of both Dr. Peter McCullough and myself which were essentially identical to the accusations of this author husband/wife team. He seems to have burned out; I guess audiences were not supportive, and ticket sales were not sustainable. Earlier still, there was a small non-profit with an internet publication that tried to create an atmosphere of scandal around me with breathless and poorly sourced inaccurate “reporting” coupled with vague innuendo. A letter from the (JD) president of the Unity Project shut that down. And then there was the Alex Berenson attack on Fox, bushwhacking me unexpectedly for being a liar about my claims involving creation of the mRNA vax platform tech, as well as on my support for clinical use of Ivermectin. Many are aware of the corporate media attacks on my reputation and integrity coming from “the left”, fewer are aware of the attacks from “the right”. Not sure where to put Alex on the political spectrum, perhaps he represents those who are “on the spectrum” in a different sense. But all of these actors had commercial interests, all stood to gain some benefit by stoking controversy (and Rage). The small non-profit trying to build subscribers, followers and donors. The PhD-Bounty Hunter duo who have built following and (I am told) a nice cash cow selling vitamins and supplements on line. The former NYT journalist who writes a profitable substack column. The husband-wife team whose book is not selling very well, and appears to see Dr. Desmet and his book as some sort of competition and threat. The PhD seeking to sell tickets to a highly marketed and produced tour, akin to a touring musician show.
As for Jill, myself, and the physicians and medical scientists of www.GlobalCovidSummit.org, we are not making money off of all of this national and international touring. We are lucky to get paid for our travel expenses in most cases. We have been doing this, and in many cases Physicians are taking time away from their patients and practices, because of the demand for our time by people and organizations all over the world. When others ask for help, we are all pretty much wired to ask how, when, where.
Getting back to the core point. FearPorn is a business model. CNN, MSNBC, Washington Post, NYT, Atlantic Monthly, Politico etc. all gets clicks and advertising revenue by broadcasting or printing articles that cause people to be afraid. And third party actors - large corporations including Pharma, political parties, and even transnational organizations both profit from Fear and weaponize it to advance political, financial and social agendas. Hence the classic stereotype of the AM paper and the PM broadcast news; “If it bleeds, it leads”.
The same is true with Rage. Promoting Rage is also a business model. We use phrases like “Shock Jock” to characterize those who employ this business model. Another one is “conspiracy theorists”. I am sure you are aware of others. But what it comes down to is that playing to base emotions such as Fear, Rage (and also Sex) can be very profitable business models in the media and information sector - which includes books and publishing as well as broadcast and “new” alternative (social) media. By manipulating your emotions, profit and other benefits can be squeezed out of any and all of us.
And of these emotions, the most dangerous and perhaps most powerful involves intentionally stoked Rage. Fear is inwardly directed, and generally causes people to want to seek shelter, but can also drive fight/flight. A case can be made that the migration from “blue” to “red” states is driven by fear, which is triggering a flight response. But those who promote Rage fan the fires of Mordor, of riot, of war, and of violent attacks on others. Whatever your political persuasion, I suspect that you will look back on the infamous political speech delivered by Joe Biden in front of Philadelphia's Independence Hall on 01 September 2022 as designed to promote Rage in his core constituency, and to channel that rage towards what he tried to label as a political “out group”, a demonized and stereotyped opponent. This was Rage directed for political advantage. And those who promote unfounded and poorly researched conspiracy theories to stoke internet Rage are often doing so for some financial benefit, because Rage also drives clicks, likes, followers, all of which can be converted into profit.
To prevent accusations that Jill and I are also guilty of buying into the Rage and Fear business models, we publish this substack free of charge, with the caveat that only paid subscribers can participate in the comment section of each article. This strategy has multiple advantages. The overall objective is to provide information (and in some cases a bit of teaching) to any who have interest in reading the content. Check. But in today’s social media ecosystem, there are trolls and bots who actively work to disrupt constructive dialog between those interested in sincere discussion. Generally, bots and trolls are not particularly motivated to pay five dollars per month for a subscription. Check. This goes a long way to helping foster a more civilized discussion environment where people can feel safe from personal attacks, and Jill and I can curate any who are uncivil or just unduly seeking self-promotion by dominating others. And we strive to adhere to old-school journalistic standards, although sometimes veer to the “right” from time to time. But by making the actual content of our daily work product available for free, we reduce potential financial conflict of interest. And all of the teaching we have received about conflict of interest over the many years of our training has instructed that we all have conflicts of interest in virtually all aspects of our interactions (as human beings), and the key issue is how to manage those. Check.
But there is no question that Stoking Rage can be profitable. Politically, in terms of social media ecosystems, and also financially. And that there are forces at play which can drive people (even including some of my valued colleagues) to become more strident in their statements and commentary, and in the words that they choose to use. Which can drive Rage responses in listeners and readers. There is a lot to be angry about in what we have all been subjected to over the last couple of years, as well as the last couple of decades. I guess the main point of this article is that directing Rage towards individuals can truly be dangerous and destructive to all concerned.
Returning to the core theme of “Well Being”, I leave you with an extended quote from a Psychology Today article titled “Rage Is the Rage. Is rage ruining your day? Learn effective responses.”
You post a perspective on something that has happened in your life or something you care about, and you receive a litany of insults and debates from people who take issue with your perspective. You try to explain yourself, but the insults only get more heated. You wonder if you should even engage online with people whom you once considered friends. Does anyone win in this scenario? Did you post something looking for a fight, or just wanting to express an opinion?
The answer in all of these different scenarios is of course not. No one ever deserves anger, vitriol, and emotional and physical threats from others… No one ever deserves emotional or physical violence in their lives from someone they care about.
It can be hard to take a step back and refuse to engage, but the more drawn in you become to an angry person, the more your physical responses are negative and harmful to you. That’s the problem with such rage; it hurts the person who is full of rage and the person who might respond in an angry manner, too.
Angry responses can affect us by sending a flood of stress chemicals and metabolic changes, and can eventually wear away at our physical well-being, resulting in immediate problems, and longer-term issues when anger goes unchecked:
digestion problems, such as abdominal pain
high blood pressure
skin problems, such as eczema
It’s important to first recognize that when someone is unnecessarily angry toward you, for some people it is a natural reaction to respond defensively and with anger right back. This sets off a cycle where you waste emotional energy being negative rather than become objective and allow the other person to churn with their anger.
The next time someone lashes out at you, take an objective and ‘interested observer’ view of their actions. Ask yourself, “What makes a person want to hurl such harmful things at another person?” “What could be happening in this person’s life to make them so angry and hateful?” If you can adopt an air of curiosity, this can help defuse the response to the angry person. It’s not that you allow for the bad behavior, and it’s not that you forgive it or ignore it; you just become more curious about it. Becoming detached and quiet as you observe can sometimes calm your own inner upset and response.
If you do think a response is required, and sometimes it is, consider the most objective and calm manner in which to respond. Sometimes.. it might be the healthiest thing to ignore it... Other times, like with a friend who has written a hateful response to your post on social media, you might want to pen a thoughtful and calm response. Becoming detached in the face of an angry person gives you choices and helps you to determine what is best – for you.
Responding to rage with rage never serves anyone. No one wins and everyone loses. The best response is one that is delivered with a calm and thoughtful message, or sometimes with none at all. Consider what’s best for you, in each and every interaction.
Thanks for allowing me to discuss this with you. I hope it was as helpful to you as it has been for me. Sometimes it is necessary and therapeutic to tell the story a few times to “get over it”.
Be well, my friends. And try to avoid those who peddle Rage for any reason. They are just toxic. Poison for your soul. Don’t drink it unless you have to, and if you do, try to have the antidote clutched in your hand while you do.
Who is Robert Malone is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.