High risk of cognitive dissonance.
If I were to allege that a particular article of news was propaganda, it would not cause even the faintest stir. For it has come to be accepted by everyone that the nature of all reporting is to advance a political agenda in one way or another - for instance, to produce sympathy for refugees by telling a story from their own wretched perspective, or to encourage antipathy for 'migrants' by detailing their attempts to enter a nation illegally. But if I was to allege that a news article in support of vaccines was propaganda, it would be treated as a scandal about me that I would say such a thing. Why should this be...?
There is perhaps no-one left who believes that the news media is in the business of establishing the truth. It is therefore no surprise that we choose a source of news that conforms to our political commitments - only when we are looking at the news for those others that are not like us does the news becomes filthy propaganda. Our own news is appropriate and proportionate, it is, shall we say, properganda.
What, then, is the point in complaining about the behaviour of reporters if all we are doing is assessing whether the stories align with our prior beliefs...? Intuitively, we should like there to be some criticism we can bring to bear against those writing the news that cuts deeper than the merely trivial assessment of whether they are in line with (or opposed to) our politics. Clearly, these kinds of judgements are external to the art of reporting, such as it is. In other words, we feel that there must be some way that something can be judged as improperganda.
However, in order for this accusation to bear fruit, it cannot simply be that the opposing political positions produce improperganda and our political allies write properganda. This would be a vacuous way of making an assessment, since it would merely be reiterating our political judgements. It follows, therefore, that if there is such a thing as improperganda, it must be something that our own journalists can be found guilty of. Thus our very desire to impugn the media of the opposing camps must be set aside if we are to establish any viable criteria by which the delivery of news can be judged proper or improper.
What constitutes improperganda, then, must be either internal to the logic of the story told, or entail a comparison between the story and the available facts that exceeds anything that can be made to fit by creative interpretation. Improperganda must mark a flaw in the story that breaks its purpose - for if the tale being told was fit for its intended purpose, it would then be suitable to be called properganda. We can say that what constitutes improperganda is akin to a flaw in a gem. However we cut or polish it, that imperfection cannot be removed or hidden. Only if the uncut gem was without flaw can we finish up with a perfect jewel. Likewise, to end up with properganda, we must have raw material without a flaw, to which no imperfections are added by the writing.
Now we are getting somewhere! And it leads also to a distinction that might be made between a journalist, who exercises an art and a craft through their writing, and a mere reporter, who reiterates claims they have heard, and is largely just a paid gossip. The journalist writes about people, while the reporter presumes to be merely writing facts - which means that the journalist, in shaping the story, can produce properganda by finding how their political commitments are reflected in the events being conveyed, or improperganda when they misrepresent the events beyond plausibility.
The reporter on the other hand produces properganda solely if they somehow manage to get all the facts correct. This is rather beyond their control on most topics, since the reporter has little knowledge of their own on which to judge what they are repeating. Thus a great deal of reporting is likely to end up as improperganda. There is also the 'fact checker', which is a kind of reporter who exploits the widespread decline of trust in the news in order to masquerade as an authoritative expert. Specialising in counter-propaganda, 'fact checkers' redirect both proper and improperganda according to the political dictates of their paymasters. This is a whole new low for the news media - their very name is improperganda, for it implies an impartiality that is the exact opposite of their true motivation.
Whenever news providers make political commitments on matters of fact (whether as reporters or as 'fact checkers'), it leads to trouble. It is particularly troubling when such pledges are made behind closed doors, but even when they are made in public they can be extremely dangerous. Thus when Google, the BBC, Reuters, the Associated Press and so forth formed the Trusted News Initiative and vowed to prevent 'misinformation' about vaccination circulating, how could they possibly hope that they could then remain factual in covering this topic...? In choosing to take solely one possible line of interpretation in advance ('every negative thing spoken about vaccines is necessarily misinformation'), this reckless censorship alliance could only grossly increase their risk of circulating vaccine improperganda.
Of course, there's plenty of improperganda to go around when it comes to vaccination! For instance, you will find people pathologically committed to conspiratorial tales about how the World Economic Forum contrived to purposefully unleash a killer drug in order to intentionally depopulate the world. As much as it amuses me to think of the one-percenter club as the villains in a second-rate Bond movie, such tales strain credulity. But then, the deployment of dubious computer models in a widely parroted Bill Gates-funded paper that claims that millions of lives have been saved by COVID-19 vaccinations is an equally preposterous example of improperganda. It might be decades before any plausible scientific conclusion can be reached about how many lives were saved by these medical treatments - and at this point, we still cannot rule out the possibility that this was not at all what actually happened...
The entire situation is as embarrassing as it is tragic, and even without the full facts at our disposal the news media's behaviour with regard to the COVID-19 debacle has been unforgivably reckless. It could never have been sensible to assume an equivalence between those twentieth century vaccines that underwent ten years of rigorous testing before being widely deployed, and these newer treatments that were enthusiastically forced onto everyone despite zero years of data and no long-term control group. It was equally foolhardy to cheerlead national lockdowns on the basis of little more than the blind hope they would help rather than causing even greater harms, as many people tried to warn us at the time.
What slips between the cracks of the media's willingness to report seems to become more and more alarming with every passing day. There is no doubt that Pfizer conducted fraud in its vaccine trials, for instance - not only did the British Medical Journal break this story in November 2021, but Pfizer bizarrely admitted to fraud in an attempt to get an embarrassing whistleblower case thrown out of court! Not entirely surprising given that this is the company that was forced to pay out the largest ever fine for fraudulent behaviour ($2.3 billion)... But it's not just the pharmaceutical companies who are riding roughshod over adequate safety procedures - as Vinay Prasad accuses, the fact that the FDA and CDC "have to rely on a Thailand preprint for the first prospective study of cardiac biomarkers is mind-boggling negligence." According to independent media reports, the FDA and the CDC are now in disarray. One senior FDA official was quoted as saying: "It's like a horror movie I'm being forced to watch and I can't close my eyes... people are getting bad advice and we can’t say anything." Likewise, a CDC scientist was quoted as saying "I used to be proud to tell people I work at the CDC. Now I'm embarrassed." Yet still, the mainstream reporters say nothing.
The most generous interpretation of the news media's behaviour in this regard is that they believe they are acting in everyone's best interests. Perhaps they opted not to report upon the ever-growing evidence of problems with both the safety and the efficacy of Pfizer and Moderna's mRNA-based treatments for fear of reducing people's trust in traditional vaccines or (equivalently) out of a dogged refusal to lend support to those demoniacal 'anti-vaxxer' scapegoats. It is a bit late for that, though, since the lockdowns these reporters previously championed have already significantly undermined childhood vaccinations - a colossal blunder for which our governments and media are both unapologetic and unrepentant. We seem to have a choice between understanding this refusal to report on these topics either as a bizarre form of principled censorship, or else as an improperganda of silence... and neither option is particularly encouraging.
This disaster has made billions of dollars for Pfizer, aided and abetted by the CDC, the FDA, and an increasingly compromised WHO. And still, the majority of news media remain staunchly unwilling to undermine their messianic vaccine improperganda by calling anyone to account for everything that has gone so disastrously wrong. It now seems unavoidable that whether by reckless lockdown or fraudulently-justified injections, a disturbing number of people tragically damaged their own health after being promised with unwarranted certainty that they were helping to save lives. Until journalists are able to tell these forbidden stories and uncover the truth of what has happened, the news media are complicit in something far, far worse than mere improperganda.