It’s Called Diversion

We have all witnessed it on television. One person starts to talk and another one immediately starts to speak louder – drowning out the words, creating a jumble of noise. (I’ve even switched away from the channel because it is so annoying.)

But beyond noting the rudeness of the situation, we need to pay attention to what was blocked by the noise. What was the first speaker trying to say? Why doesn’t the interrupter want us to hear that information or that perspective?

We see this tactic in one-on-one exchanges, but it also plays out in a larger form. Watch how serious news – but news uncomfortable for the White House – gets drowned out by inflammatory personal arguments. Recently, we were pulled away from thoughtful examination of a significant military incident in Niger by a barrage of insults leveled at individuals.

That manipulation of the news is called diversion.

As citizens, we need to be savvy and not fall for this ploy. Let’s keep our eyes on the real stories. Let’s listen for what the shouters don’t want us to hear.

Martha McGovern