What is media gaslighting?


Have you ever ever discovered your self confused by steering from a newspaper? Listened to a politician repeatedly deny a reality when science says in any other case? Learn a information story with scary well being info that don’t add up elsewhere?

The sort of reporting really has a reputation: media gaslighting. Gaslighting is a type of psychological manipulation that seeks to sow seeds of doubt in an individual’s thoughts, making them query their very own actuality, reminiscence, or beliefs. A gaslighter goals to realize management over one other particular person, group, or nation by attempting to persuade them they’re improper, reinforcing their most well-liked narrative by repetition, no matter reality.

“The time period is derived from the play Gaslight (1938) which includes a husband’s systematic psychological manipulation of his spouse,” says Nikki Emerton, a life coach and hypnotherapist. “This finally results in her questioning her personal sanity.”

So how does this translate to the media? “In media and societal phrases, ‘gaslighting’ could also be seen as propaganda, indoctrination, or mass brainwashing. Telling individuals what to assume to slot in. Making a ‘gang tradition’ in order that if you wish to ‘slot in’ and be a part of the gang, you need to assume a sure approach, irrespective of how inaccurate it’s,” Nikki explains.

It isn’t nearly spreading misinformation, however extends to the deliberate act of trying to rewrite the narrative to regulate public opinion, and refusing to acknowledge data that tarnishes stated narrative.


Basic examples of media gaslighting embody the portrayal of susceptible ladies. When Britney Spears, Paris Hilton, and Lindsay Lohan got here into the limelight, social media didn’t exist, they didn’t get to decide on how they wished to current to the world. The paparazzi made the selection for them, and the media ran with that persona.

For Britney, that persona concerned a sexualised childhood, vilification when she embraced that sexualisation, and her public mental health deterioration. Lindsay was heralded as a baby star earlier than being blacklisted by Hollywood, as we witnessed her a number of mugshots being bandied round. In different phrases, their solely narrative was one in all broken items.

Docs and scientists are sometimes additionally on the mercy of media gaslighting once they supply an alternate opinion or indisputable fact that doesn’t match with mainstream media. They’re vilified, dismissed as ‘radical’, and even their stage of stability comes into query.

So with unending scope to distribute ‘pretend information’, how do you type reality from fiction?

How one can spot gaslighting within the media

Nikki shares 5 methods you’ll be able to establish when the media is utilizing gaslighting strategies to inform the specified narrative…

1. You possibly can’t cross-reference the info

Typically, you could hear a report and go surfing to supply additional data. When you discover it’s troublesome to achieve further or unbiased info about it, gaslighting techniques may very well be at play.

2. Info is imprecise, unclear, or contradictory

The info you’ve learn usually don’t add up, leaving you questioning what the precise message is and, importantly, what the specified final result of the piece was. How did you count on to really feel upon studying the headline vs how you are feeling now? Typically it’s confused, and even fearful.

3. Info is altered

Have you ever ever learn a narrative, gone again to point out a pal a number of days later, and the data shouldn’t be as you bear in mind? Did you query should you had learn it appropriately? With media gaslighting, data is modified and altered as time goes by with out factual proof to assist it, or signposts to notice the modifications.

4. A major bias is current

What’s reported is revealed for optimistic beneficial properties biased in the direction of a person, group, or organisation, and never the larger image. That is usually seen in politics, notably round elections.

5. You’re urged to assist the story on social media

Once you learn a narrative on social media, are you immediately bombarded with messages asking you to ‘present your assist’ by sharing the piece? Media gaslighting usually calls on readers to advocate for his or her narratives; asking you to share their story suggesting you could have subscribed to an official suggestion, which will or might not be true.

Whether or not you’re aware of the gossip columns or it’s strictly enterprise solely, we hope the following pointers will put media gaslighting in your radar, and assist you to query the unquestionable.

To attach with a life coach, like Nikki, who may also help you navigate manipulation, go to


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