An astonishing Munk debate in Toronto, Matt Taibbi and Douglas Murray's landslide, Malcolm Gladwell and Michelle Goldberg's mendacity - and five reasons why trust in the mainstream media is so low
Munk debate is available online now https://vimeo.com/munkdebates/review/775853977/85003a644c
I'm mentally steeling myself for the sheer volume of cringe I expect to see emanating from Gladwell and Goldberg.
Apparently, Taibbi struggled to keep a straight face when Gladwell brought up the Hunter Biden laptop. For those who missed Taibbi's twitter thread, here are the highlights:
- Twitter was engaging in Calvinball censorship. First they censor, then they work backwards to try to find a rule violation they can use to justify an action they've already taken. In this case, they were hoping a policy about hacked materials would do the trick, even though several voices inside Twitter pointed out that excuse wouldn't hold up to scrutiny
- Even before Biden won the election, his campaign team was coordinating with Twitter to have accounts censored. A Trump admin official asked Twitter execs to "at least pretend to care" about political neutrality
- Twitter pre-Musk was rife with factionalism; the content moderation team would make decisions that the PR team highly disapproved of, and often Jack Dorsey was the last guy to find out about controversial decisions being made
- American jurisprudence explicitly prohibits jawboning, where a government engages in indirect/proxy censorship by pressuring a private company to act as a middleman/front. There seems to now be hard evidence that the American federal government engaged in jawboned censorship of citizens, in violation of the First Amendment
A disturbing facet of this is their indifference to not being trusted. As if they feel untouchable or invincible. That's the power of hegemony.
"Simply put: Gladwell and Goldberg weren’t very strong debaters. Their arguments were weak and badly articulated. They seemed unprepared. They didn’t listen. They misread the crowd. The pair’s thinking wasn’t particularly sophisticated. And they didn’t make attempts to grapple with the issues in any deep or meaningful way. All told, they performed poorly. "
My observation here with respect to the genesis of the woke movement, and this comes from my life experience and my long corporate career from the supply room to CEO, is that woke is basically a an attempt to transform western society away from its common meritocracy to become a super-duper affirmative action system where the less capable get boosted and those that demonstrate the highest capability are cut down.
I was thinking about Gladwell's tired woke meme against the concept of "Making _______ Great Again".... that it would predate civil rights (civil right that, by the way, was passed by Republicans no thanks to the Democrats against it), and maybe even back to slavery (again, than the Republicans for fixing that). That is like saying an opinion that we should return to regulation of the air travel industry includes going back to all prop planes.
What most of us really want to see in recapturing our historical values and system is to keep what is good and throw out the "progress" that sucks... but not the progress that is truly progress.
And a key in that return is to get back to a more pure meritocracy.
Having started my corporate career in IT in the 70s and 80s where the office was a complete diverse blend of gender and races (although homosexuality was certainly still in the closet), and everyone was competing for raises and promotions and the business of IT was more concerned about getting the best people in the right roles, and not discriminating on stupid physical traits, I noted a couple of explanation for why males, and usually white males, were more likely to be promoted.
First there were more of them. Second, they more likely were born and raised in a family circumstance that modeled ambition, self-confidence and general work behavior that demonstrated capability for increased responsibility. Third, and this is most important, they had earlier lessons in emotional control... also helped by their biology as male (emotional control is generally a key requirement for management roles). And forth, they had not been served any "I am a victim" crap from their family, teachers, and society in general and so when they failed, they did not give up and blame someone else... they learned from it and got better. They are the "functionals".
Now, I am generalizing here. But the point I am making is that the world was already doing a post civil-rights shift to a more pure gender-blind and color-blind meritocracy. But some people just either would not, or had more struggles, doing the self-work needed to the mastery of a manager. They were people with emotional control issues. Or people with such a strong victim mindset that they could only rage in resentment that it was always someone else holding them back. I call them the "dysfunctionals"
Gladwell and Goldberg are the dysfunctionals (and also probably rent-seeking business types... milking the woke virtue signaling) and Taibbi and Murray are the functionals. The woke project is a giant affirmative action party to promote the dysfunctional to places on the social dominance hierarchy. They have used the motivational energy, mostly driven by feminists, of their malcontentedness to craft this marvelous plan to infest institutions and push their low-capability promotion model on the rest of society.
This is why they should never debate... they should be like Joe Biden and Katie Hobbs... hide in the basement as much as possible and allow the infested MSM to weave a protective shroud to help make the complete lack of qualification for the job.
I think this plan is unraveling. It is unraveling because people like Gladwell, Goldberg, Biden and Hobbs have made the mistake in adopting an opinion of their own selves as being qualified and entitled to the position they hold. They are really all second and third-string players in their fields that have managed to be in the right place at the right time... but their positions are houses of cards because their abilities are at the low end of what their professions used to require.
Excellent summary and outline of 5 top reasons the public are distrustful and disenchanted with the mainstream media. Self-absorbed indeed. And to think I once, from time to time, gave $ to Friends of the CBC. No more.
Brilliant analysis Ms Henley, note perfect and so, so deeply embarrassing for the Canadian-born journalism icon, Malcolm Gladwell.
I watched the recorded debate on Vimeo and while Taibbi and Murray performed to the level I am used to hearing, I was amazed by Michelle Goldberg's seemingly witless partisan ramblings, and I was absolutely astonished by Gladwell's constant race baiting and tone deaf pronouncements.
I used to be a loyal listener to Gladwell's Revisionist History podcast: the shaggy dog structure with the inevitable reversal that characterized Gladwell's formula at least entertained, if it didn't inform. And then a couple of seasons back, Gladwell became bewitched by race for an entire series, sometimes gratuitously so, in the fashion of academic grievance studies. At the same time he hired Henry Rogers (Ibram X. Kendi) to do a podcast for Pushkin Industries, Gladwell's media company.
I stopped listening. Of all of the media "personalities" to lose their minds following the summer of 2020 this was the most shocking, at least to me. Equally shocking was Gladwell's squalid performance on the stage at Roy Thomson Hall. It actually angered me.
I'm afraid too many people are looking at the 90 minute length of the debate and are hard pressed to put the time aside, especially in December. What a shame. As Tara dramatically points out, the progressive left cannot even debate the lack of trust in media without being untrustworthy. That's something everyone needs to hear.
Thanks Tara. I am now a paying subscriber.
As an aside what bothers me most is how the term Neo Nazi/White supremist/far right is thrown around with abandon. To be clear a Nazi is someone who participated in the murder of 6 million jews not someone who uses cream rather than oat milk.
A white supremist is someone who would gladly put a noose around a black persons neck not someone who tweets transwomen aren't women
The far right is a group who would overthrow the government while jailing and murdering people without due process.
This is incredibly good, Tara. So much so that it finally triggered me to subscribe after freeloading for months. There is no really excuse for my delay in subscribing. The work had been fantastic since day one and you deserve a form of reparations for enduring life at the CBC for as long as you did. All I can say is better late than never.
I was fortunate enough to attend this event and cannot imagine someone writing a better summary. But another tactic of Gladwell's which struck me and which Tara did not mention herein was this weird attempt, well into the debate, to suddenly claim Matt and Douglas had not defined "mainstream media". This was absurd as the definition, while somewhat elastic/vague had, it seemed to me, been sufficiently well understood throughout the debate. To raise it as late as Gladwell did (and he came back to it even after being provided a definition from Matt) was incredibly disingenuous, albeit in keeping with Gladwell's performance the entire night. The timing of his "objection" made it so, not to mention the fact that neither he nor Goldberg provided a definition themselves!
Anyway, Matt and Douglas were magnificent and hopefully the debate moved the needle with those who were in attendance that night and went in unaware of just how despicable the mainstream media is.
This was a terrific read! Great work Tara.
Thanks Tara. This was a terrific piece. I listened to the debate and found myself shaking my head in places. If you need more Douglas Murray, this mature conversation is worth a listen.
Jordan Peterson and Douglas Murray
Thanks so much for this. 1. The mainstream "press" has for years just been the propaganda wing of the Democrat party. This isn't the biggest problem. 2. That fact is obvious to the most casual observer. This also isn't the biggest problem. 3. They absolutely do not care that it's obvious. *This* is the biggest problem - it implies that the Democrat party has enough raw power (in many institutions) that it doesn't matter. They can do whatever their handlers dictate knowing that there will be no consequences. This column and the one from Bari are the best money I've spent in many years.
Second point none of this matters as woke culture is here to stay, to paraphrase David Lat
It’s fine to be economically or fiscally conservative (less so a member of the Conservative party) but there is increasingly no place for social conservatives in society at large. This is more and more true.
Thanks again Tara. Keep up the good work. Would love to here more about independent media landscape here in Canada. As, after all, all the interesting developments of our modern time are happening in Canada! Cheers.
I'm so glad that I read this before I watched the debate. I love Gladwell and think he has some insightful views. However, he just seemed out classed by Taibbi and Murray. Even Michelle had some reasonable points, but Gladwell just couldn't get past (ironically? purposely?) the talking points of the main stream media. And, insulting Douglas by misusing his name just made him seem childish.
I paid close attention to the students reactions in the background and was surprised at how many clapped for Taibbi and Murray despite their being nary a white male in sight.
Wow, what a read. Thank you.
Gladwell writes silly books that don't stand up to fact-checking.
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Bio – JONATHAN TURLEY