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Media Virus

The Shining (Elevator scene in 3D Model) – CK

Just like in Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining, where it was used to signify danger, or something terrible to come, red is definitely the most recurrent color in the news narrative for over two months.

Beyond the confusing strategies of doctors, scientists and governments from all over the world, the clash between poor people at the supermarket, and the more theoretical one between “conspiracy theorists” and “doomsayers”, the suspicion is that the first not to give up the pandemic narrative will be media and newspapers. Their crisis was a known thing now, so what more heavenly windfall than a chaos of statistics to move up and down as you like, according to the orders of their buyers, to regain a role of social importance? Hence why, today they seem to be the only recipients of the truth, while independent realities are increasing silenced by censorship and labelled as fake news spreaders.

In Italy, where every timid attempt to return to normal is told like an unending youthful rave, the last countries to be targeted by the media for their much less restrictive choices — and where there seem to be no cases like the last Italian job, the Mask Gate — are Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Finland or the Netherlands. So, behold, the number of Covid deaths rises in a worrying way, overnight. Many people who emigrated over there tried to calm down and deny through their comments to the “real news”, but at the moment it seems not to be enough. People have their hearts in their throats again and comment “And there it is, I just knew it, as predictable, these unconscious people, these stupid youngsters, your freedom ends where mine begins, I’m afraid.”

Left: Wendy Torrance (Shelley Duvall) from The Shining, Right: Covid-19 data update from Open
World Map of Covid-19 cases (used by various newspapers)
Coronavirus – Photo: Enrique Lopez Garre (used by various newspapers)

Titles such as “Mortality in Sweden is through the roof, Finland towards the closure of borders” or covers in which some graduating seniors’ headshots outside an American school are passed off as sequences of corpses, continue to break through the minds of a fragile people seeking to find serenity and hope. After the rainbows to keep everyone at home, serenely in front of the news, the sworn enemy of the media could only be a return to normal which would see them resink back into a sad oblivion of credibility. In one of its Kafkian-style articles the Italian la Repubblica seems to clearly express this fear by titling “Contagions are falling, vaccine at risk. The Oxford scientist: ‘If the epidemic goes away, we won’t be able to test it’”.

Just before the wave of the pandemic, the News-Italy research, conducted by the Communication Sciences department of the University of Urbino, had shown how people had a greater trust in the network’s ability to inform in a “complete, accurate and balanced” way — 62% —, compared to traditional media, newspapers, TV and radio — 49%. And even if these statistics, based on over a thousand interviews, refer only to the Italian territory, it is not so complicated to assume that they are applicable worldwide.

Title from a report in la Repubblica (“Contagions are falling, vaccine at risk. The Oxford scientist: ‘If the epidemic goes away, we won’t be able to test it’”)
Left: Title from a report in il Fatto Quotidiano (“Lombardy unabated. More infected with less tests”), Right: Title from a report in Il Messaggero (“Mass contagion in church in Frankfurt am Main: the positive after the mass rise to 107”)
Clockwise from top: Title from a report in Il Messaggero, Italy (“Mortality in Sweden is through the roof, Finland towards the closure of borders”), Preview of an Open report posted on Facebook by its founder Enrico Mentana (“Coronavirus, all the night news: In the USA 1500 victims in one day, new projection…”), Two guys proudly pose in front of the 750 graduating seniors’ headshots at James Madison High School in Brooklyn, used by Open as cover

To support this kind of desperate narrative, many of the Facebook pages in which a large part of those Italian journalist Mario Giordano defined “simple persons” flows, riding in turn the wave of the old generational conflict — through “simple posts” where young people enjoy their drinks next to operating rooms and intubated patients — and bringing it to the levels of an old tavern’s fistfight — what really matters in this case are likes and comments.

And just to throw a little of white on red, the government chooses to enlist 60 thousand volunteers among the unemployed “to supervise Phase 2”, calling them “civic assistants”. But it is a white that evokes that of the uniforms of Alex DeLarge and his “droogs” in Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange, more than the candor of an accommodating solution.

Left: Title from a report in la Repubblica (“Civic assistants arrive, 60 thousand volunteers to supervise Phase 2”), Right: Alex DeLarge (Malcolm McDowell) and his “droogs” in Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange
Left: Title from a report in Il Messaggero (“Summer 2020: forbidden to play, the bitter holidays for children — and parents”), Right: Little Danny from The Shining poster by DirtyGreatPixels
Left: Title from a report in Il Messaggero (“Pavia, he embraces his girlfriend on the street (with a mask): fined 400 euros”), Right: Open prides itself on not having deliberately given the news of Silvia Romano — the international aid worker kidnapped in Kenya on 20 November 2018 and returned to Italy with an Islamic veil — who goes to the beautician, by practically giving the news itself (“Here’s why we are proud not to have given the news of Silvia Romano who leaves the house to go to the beautician”). The founder of the newspaper Enrico Mentana accompanies the sharing of the article on his Facebook page with a “Leave her alone”
Left: Title from a report in Il Mattino (“Movida in Naples, Saturday night of madness: traffic on tilt until 4 on the waterfront”), Right: Title from a report in Il Messaggero (“Movida in Milan, the anesthesiologist: “I don’t want to relive the last three months because of the idiots”)
Measures envisaged for restaurants and public places in Italy

In the meantime, while the spy work from windows and balconies continues as at the time of Fascism — now also to the detriment of small business owners who have escaped the new wave of suicides for bankruptcy and try to restart in a “too human” way —, a team of researchers from the Federal Polytechnic University of Zurich, led by Professor Didier Sornette defined lockdown as a “brutal and ineffective measure” which had relatively low effects on population mortality.

“To have an objective comparison, we should understand how many more deaths we had instead due to the consequences of the lockdown. Failure to diagnose, treatment not carried out on seriously ill, feminicidal, suicidal. This, at the moment, is not known,” said Sornette — far from the red atmospheares.

“Great Party, Isn’t It?” Scene from The Shining
Men of the Guardia di Finanza warned by unknown persons, for a supposed gathering in a restaurant in Naples

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