Covid-19 News Fatigue, Strategic Ambiguity, and Breaking Resolve

Marie Trout
5 min readApr 18, 2020

These days, social media lights up with claims that Covid-19 is a lie; that it is no worse than the flu; that social distancing measures are attempts at enforcing “socialism,” etc.

Holding tension between our thoughts, feelings, and our actions (or lack of ability to act) in times of such uncertainty is extremely difficult. It is difficult for everyone.

It is difficult for those who have to put their lives at risk every day to go to work.

It is difficult for those of us who have lost our ability to work and generate an income.

It is difficult for those who are losing their health insurance along with being fired.

It is difficult for those who never had access to healthcare.

It is difficult for those who are unable to pay the bills.

It is difficult for those who are older or have pre-existing health conditions.

It is difficult for those who love someone who is older or have pre-existing health conditions.

The situation sucks and makes for a perfect growing surface for anxiety and fear festering in our socially isolated petri dishes of sequestered loneliness.

Such a situation requires transparent, inspiring, and informed leadership to help hold society together. Some countries and states have such leadership.

The messages coming from the White House however, utilize strategic ambiguity as a communication tool. This way of communicating largely allows for people to believe what they want to believe and for the President to remain the focus of attention.

His way of communicating is lauded by some as a tool to confuse, divert, portray (perceived) strength, and persuade. However, the consequences are unethical when used as a default strategy to cover up mistakes, hide facts, and confuse, deflect, and divide. Particularly in a time of national and international crisis.

As a result, we now have people defying local leadership and local ordinances, and protesting in the streets.

They want the uncertainty to end. Encouraged by a President’s twitter call to “liberate” states with Democratic…

Marie Trout

Author “The Blues — Why it Still Hurts so Good,” artist manager. PhD Wisdom Studies. Contributor: The Daily Beast, The Bern Report, Classic Rock Blues Magazine.