© 2024 Blaze Media LLC. All rights reserved.
Media are desperately distracting us with an agenda of hysterical noise
ra2studio/Getty Images

Media are desperately distracting us with an agenda of hysterical noise

We have too many real problems to fix to spend time on made-up future hypothetical media-generated emergencies.

You’re dead now, but don’t worry. We all are.

The civil war began a few weeks ago, and it absolutely murdered us all. As Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Will Bunch explained on January 25, “Eagle Pass is today’s Fort Sumter,” the place where the war starts. The first shots of a national conflagration were imminent last month. Texas Governor Greg Abbott, Bunch wrote, was “channeling the Confederate spirit,” and Joe Biden had “only two choices,” immediate military confrontation or sniveling weakness. The president must seize control of the Texas National Guard and “order Abbott’s confederates to retreat,” Bunch concluded.

We live in state of inflicted hysteria, with a news media that has no setting “but diaper-soiling panic.”

Posting on the site formerly known as Twitter the very next day, the important Pentagon-funded scholarCaroline Orr Bueno added terrifying new information: Trump’s deadly army of personal stormtroopers was on the march, locked and loaded and headed for the border.

“They heeded Trump’s call to start an insurrection on Jan. 6th,” she wrote. “If you think they won’t heed his call to arms in Texas, you’re not understanding what’s happening here.”

So, you know, insurrection and civil war are obviously well under way now, and the federal government is fighting on the battlefield for the total control of Texas, because the only other option is to conclude that a bunch of journalists and scholars are hysterical ninnies who are always wrong.

We live in state of inflicted hysteria, with a news media that has no setting “but diaper-soiling panic,” which is one past 10 on the amplifier volume dial. Orange Man Bad is obsolete. We’re now in the time of Orange Man Literally Hitler Mass Slaughter Civil War Insurrection Putin Putin Putin. Be sure to scream that last non-sentence, by the way, while punching yourself in the face, urine trickling down your pantleg. Do it just right and you may get hired as a mainstream journalist.

In a recent speech, Donald Trump said that he told the leaders of NATO countries that he wouldn’t bother to defend them if they don’t spend more money on their militaries to defend themselves. Forbes explained his comments under a headline about babies being murdered, then went on to explain that Trump means he wants Europeans to be raped and to have their genitals mutilated while their infants are slaughtered. Think I’m exaggerating? See for yourself.

I propose four explanations.

First, this caterwauling is the noise people make when they know no one is listening. They’re shouting because you’re walking away. Every major news media organization is in crisis, descending into mass layoffs. If things get worse, they may have to stop subsidizing reportorial prescriptions for anti-anxiety medications, which is the end of the road for professional mainstream journalism.

Second, the manufactured hysteria also gives journalists cover to escape self-examination over the trajectory of their business. The Los Angeles Times lost nearly a quarter of its newsroom to layoffs in January, then ran a post-layoff opinion piece about the deep importance of throwing soup on paintings to stop climate change. They scream to stop themselves from thinking. About themselves.

Third, it’s a covering noise, a hysteria to shift your attention, because real things are happening that merit close engagement. The liberal journalists Michael Shellenberger, Matt Taibbi, and Alex Gutentag have been breaking one important story after another on Public, a Substack newsletter. Sample headline and a must-read story: “CIA Had Foreign Allies Spy On Trump Team, Triggering Russia Collusion Hoax, Sources Say.” And so …

Oh no! Look over there! “Insurrection” is a shiny object flashed at you, with considerable desperation, to divert your eye.

And finally, hysterical news is a product of hysterical minds, a natural tendency based in personal psychology.

There is, let’s put this very gently, a certain kind of mind that catastrophizes as a matter of habit. I find myself frequently thinking lately about the former Ottawa City Council Member Diane Deans, who famously exploded in a rage over police failures to crush the Freedom Convoy — and expressed particular fury over the convoy’s use of “that damn bouncy castle.” Many ragey killjoys go into politics and journalism.

Dehystericize. Get manufactured panic out of your life. Look, in particular, for news that pretends to tell you what’s going to happen: We’re going to have a civil war over Eagle Pass!

News about the future isn’t invariably written in bad faith, but news about things that have really happened has the advantage of being grounded in provable reality rather than speculation.

We have too many real problems to fix to spend time on made-up future hypothetical media emergencies. Find some reality to deal with, and for crying out loud don’t ever read anything from Will Bunch. You’ll thank me for that sentence. DURING THE WORST DAYS OF THE UPCOMING CIVIL WAR, I mean.

Want to leave a tip?

We answer to you. Help keep our content free of advertisers and big tech censorship by leaving a tip today.
Want to join the conversation?
Already a subscriber?
Chris Bray

Chris Bray

Chris Bray is a former infantry soldier who earned his Ph.D. in history at UCLA. He writes at Tell Me How This Ends on Substack.
@a_chrisbray →