There is news and there is noise. There are newsmakers and there are noisemakers. There are contrary opinions amongst individuals and groups, and then there are people who just want to be contrary.
In our weekly Torah reading the last few weeks, we have been introduced to two individuals, Pinchas and Korach. In introducing Pinchas to us, the Torah traces his genealogy all the way back to the high priest, none other than Moshe Rabbeinu’s brother, Aharon HaKohen.
One would expect, therefore, that, in a similar fashion, in introducing Korach to us the Torah would list his genealogy all the way back to his most illustrious relative, our forefather Yaakov. But the Torah does not, and we are left to wonder why.
Why does the Torah tell us that Pinchas descends from the righteous Aharon HaKohen, which is an obvious effort to elevate Pinchas, but does not seek to elevate Korach in a similar fashion by tracing his lineage all the way back to his most holy relative, our forefather Yaakov?
By tracing Pinchas’s lineage to the saintly Aharon, the Torah is giving us insight into Pinchas’s motivation. Just as Aharon was the ambassador and emissary of peace, so was Pinchas. Even when Pinchas engaged in a questionable activity of warfare and revenge, the Torah was telling us that his motives were as pure as those of his grandfather Aharon.
Aharon was a newsmaker, not a noisemaker, and that was true of Pinchas as well.
Korach was different. He found fault in everything and in everyone. His attacks were not principled; they were motivated by jealousy. Had the Torah traced his genealogy all the way back to his great-great-grandfather Yaakov, one might conclude that Korach’s actions in challenging the authority and legitimacy of the ruling power of Moshe and Aharon were pure like all of the actions of his ancestor Yaakov. By stopping the genealogical tracing short of Yaakov, the Torah was exposing that Korach’s motives were not pure. Korach was the ultimate noisemaker, not a newsmaker. Korach was the originator of fake news.
If President Trump would discover the cure for cancer through research on mice, the headline on most news outlets would be that the president is a mouse-killer. When one objects to everything, he stands for nothing. The incessant attack and spin and selective reporting by the left, leftists, and liberal supporters and leaders have rendered them noisemakers rather than newsmakers. The news services have rendered themselves unwatchable and therefore irrelevant. One has to hope that the average American can sense the difference between policy and jealousy, between news and noise, between a Korach and a Pinchas.
Yet the country is almost evenly divided. It is frightening to reckon that almost half the country opts for noise over news, which renders our job of supporting newsmakers and exposing such noisemakers so much more of an imperative.
Iran’s economy has been brought to its knees and the worst deal of the century has been scrapped. North Korea hasn’t fired off a missile in months, and Russia and the United States have proven a singular commitment to Israel’s security on the northern front. Check the history books for the last time that has happened.
Black unemployment is at its lowest rate ever and the stock market is booming. The United States has rid itself of terrible trade deals that created an economic imbalance. The list goes on, and any serious person can complete it.
And yet the media reporting is dominated by reports of election meddling (probably true) and of Trump colluding with the Russians which, after two years, has not been proven and will probably never be proven. The media reports and the news are not news at all. It is noise that aims to deafen the voter to the truth.
In such an environment, where noise is left to fester in place of news, startup politicians with zero experience and even less knowledge get elected. This is true for the very liberals that are creating the noise in the first place. Democrats like Joe Crowley are losing to absolute know-nothings in their own primaries. “Just keep moving left” is their own mantra — and they are losing their own jobs.
There is a lot of work to be done by the right to get their house in order. All is not well with the conservatives. But the left is teetering on destroying civility and accuracy in the political debate and, in the process, placing its own positions in jeopardy.
It is difficult to break old alliances, but those of you out there who still believe that liberal American politics is still good for our country, for Jews in our country, and for the state of Israel should spend just one news cycle listening to the rhetoric from the old guard of the Democratic Party which is being pushed to the left by the new-age new wave of upstarts in the Democratic Party. It is frightening. It is noise. It is loud noise devoid of any real news. It is taking a page from the story of Korach, who was the ultimate rabble-rouser.
It is not too early to sound the alarm; it is not too early to expose the hypocrisy and bias of the left. It is not too early — in fact, it is getting late — to expose the utter lack of knowledge of world affairs of some of the upstarts who now hold positions of power in the Democrat party.
Our future as Americans, as Jewish Americans, and as lovers and defenders of Israel, hangs in the balance.
It is time to embrace news and reject noise.
David Seidemann is a partner with the law firm of Seidemann and Mermelstein and serves as a professor of business law at Touro College. He can be reached at 718-692-1013 or firstname.lastname@example.org.