The ERA Of Big NOISE!!
By Stephen Doherty
July 17th, 2022
“Noise proves nothing. Often a hen who has merely laid an egg cackles as if she laid an asteroid. …” -Mark Twain
America is living through an unprecedented paradox of fallacy, concoction, and misinformation masquerading as news and truth. I have been struggling greatly with the dissemination of a societal and cultural narrative that is so at odds with the actual reality of our times – that it’s actually becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy – triggering the inevitable decline and demise of a culture and society that has become so addicted and dependent on such a flawed and distorted narrative.
For reasons I’ll explore in a moment, the American people share a tortured and convoluted perception of the times they live in as “horrifically polarizing” and on the verge of a new “Civil War!” Virtually every article and news story seems an attempt to “one-up” the last one for outrageously apocalyptic content. The “news” as we’ve come to know it seems long on proselytizing and increasingly short on facts and truth. The question then becomes “WHY?”
By virtually any historical measure – America’s last few decades have been rife with success, peace, and prosperity that the vast majority of citizens have enjoyed. Any knowledge of American history nearly renders the use of the word “hardship” as trite, compared to those that came before us. Previous generations of Americans endured unspeakable suffering and hardship to deliver to us what Ronald Reagan correctly referred to as “A shining city on the hill!”
The American dream is alive and well as evidenced by the parade of successful companies and their owners feasting on the bounties of these success stories. There isn’t anything unavailable to anyone willing to work hard enough for it. And yet – suicides are at record highs, a majority of Americans are “very unhappy” according to polls, and fewer Americans are proud of their heritage than at any time in history! What is going on? Why is the national perception so at odds with the prevailing reality?
I’ll tell you why. It’s a fairly simple explanation although one you’ll rarely hear from those charged with delivering it because they have the most to gain by diminishing and obscuring it. Our media hasn’t just “evolved” it has completely “transcended” into a medium that values noise over substance – disruption over accuracy – and ideology over substance. They have monetized internet “clicks” to such a degree that it’s become it’s own objective with sensationalism it’s chief vehicle.
Everyone on the planet now has a megaphone and a WiFi connection, which is fine, but it has also engendered media laziness and bias that borders on media-malpractice. The media routinely takes a magnifying glass to the deafening periphery of public opinion and discourse, thus drawing its headlines and conclusions from but a wisp of the populace, and then attempts to portray it as our cultural and societal norms. I can think of few greater harms to our Republic – at the hands of those entrusted to as guardians of the First Amendment.
No country or era is or ever will be perfect. Such is the nature of the natural stress and tension of millions of co-inhabitants, but America is and always has been vastly different than any other country in the world. The opportunities, freedoms, and liberties still available here – make us the destination of people all over the globe seeking a better life.
Too often today – the people who relentlessly criticize and diminish this great nation have an incentive to do so. Recognizing and understanding what those incentives are provides the first meaningful filtration to people seeking the truth. Believing our eyes over an increasingly deafening variety of noise – is the second.
The Founders believed so strongly in the necessity of a meaningful and truthful national discussion – that they forever enshrined it in the First Amendment. In so many ways, the national caricature of what their original vision was – now borders on toxic satire. It saddles us with the additional obligation of working harder to seek the truth.
Given the almost infinite sources of information available to us today – I think that pursuit, while troublesome and burdensome, has become a crucial and necessary component of our citizenship. Now, more than ever, the famous words of Winston Churchill ring true. “A lie will travel halfway around the world before the truth gets its britches on!” Truer words have never been spoken …
“Thus, we see that one of the obvious origins of human disagreement lies in the use of noises for words.” –Alfred Korzbski