This morning I saw a video online of Robert Stephens, protesting in front of Chase Bank in New York and screaming his story of how this bank is the one that took his parent’s home. It’s quite convincing as the poor man is distraught enough to allow himself to be arrested for refusing to move from the street. It appears the video was posted only a day or so ago and has become quite popular in the anti-business movement.
Also this morning, I read a post on The Blaze.com that pointed out that Mr. Stephens’ story is created from fiction. His parents still live in their home, Chase Bank has not foreclosed, and in fact all of the family members are doing pretty well thank you very much. One of my favorite user comments related to the video on Youtube was from a viewer who said, “Many people call this guy a fraud, but does it really matter? Does his lie change the fact that banks are taking people’s homes?”
Well, yes it matters and no it doesn’t change the fact that banks are foreclosing on homes.
While it is true that the media brings us these sensationalized stories as icons of a larger truth (Big business doesn’t care about you), the media also brings us the revelation of fraud, unhidden facts behind the situation, and yet opposing icons of truth (the Liberal media is lying to you). Often both extremes appear in a very short period of time and the debate begins.
This is what free speech and a free media is all about. In my opinion, neither of these extremes is likely to represent “truth” as a reasonable person might interpret it. Which means that it is our responsibility to determine what is real and what is not. Sorting through the cacophony of voices can be difficult and confusing at times since the messages are often diametrically opposed. But as frustrating as these extremes can sometimes be, the alternative is worse.
To censor the conservative message is to censor the liberal response and vice versa. It might not always be the most productive dialogue, but it is one we need to hear at times in order to determine for ourselves what the truth of a matter really is. I would much rather struggle with determining my own opinion than to have some system in place that quietens the noise, but that does so by telling me what to think. To me, the freedom of the "mess" is part of what makes America great.