About journalism

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About journalism

Postby davidm on November 25th, 2018, 4:19 pm 

Today we are “treated” to another broadside against the New York Times by the biologist Jerry Coyne.

Finally, ask yourself this: why on earth did the New York Times publish both of these articles in the same op-ed section, despite the fact that they’re both lame and the second actually mendacious and misguided?

You know why: the Times is trying to show that Islam isn’t any worse than any other faith, and that those who oppose it are misguided. I’ve been pointing at this shift in Leftist media this for a long time, but this shows it starkly: mainstream Leftists newspapers and magazines are getting infected with the Authoritarian strain of Leftism as college kids move into journalism.


This is total bullshit. But here’s what’s really amazing: Jerry Coyne, who wants the Times not to publish any sort of defense of Islam, is an outspoken opponent of the idea of deplatforming — that colleges and other institutions sometimes withdraw, under pressure, invitations to people like Steve Bannon to give speeches. According to Coyne, this wrong — we must hear Bannon speak, because otherwise how shall we know what his ideas are, and how to combat them? Never mind that everyone with half a brain already knows exactly what Bannon espouses, and never mind the fact that colleges and other institutions are under no obligation to give a platform to Bannon or anyone else. This is not a free speech issue, as Coyne argues; the First Amendment merely guarantees that the government shall not suppress free speech. It does not mean that I have to invite you into my home and let you spout, without objection, your filthy inanities.

So, according to Coyne, it’s right to let Bannon speak at public institutions and venues, but it’s wrong to let defenders of Islam speak on the pages of the New York Times. Can anything be more hypocritical?

But it’s even worse! At his blog, which has a comments section, Coyne regularly bans (i.e., deplatforms) people who challenge his points of view! I know — I’m one of them! So, incredibly, is his fellow biologist P.Z. Myers.

Speaking of Myers: Some twelve years ago, he totally and irrationally flipped out at a front-page New York Times article on Grand Canyon tours conducted by creationists, who try to “prove” that the Grand Canyon had been carved by Noah’s flood. He claimed that the Times was airing the point of view of creationists!

But it wasn’t. The reporter specifically stated, in the article, that all scientists know that there was no flood, and that the world is 4.6 billion years old, not six thousand years old. The point of the article was not to tout creationism, but to expose it.

I pointed it out in the comments section of his blog, and was immediately swarmed upon by P.Z. and his fanboys, who subjected me to no end of vituperation. Moreover, P.Z, dug up personal information about the reporter, and posted it on his blog — IMO, one can interpret his doing this as an invitation to reprisals (even violence?) against the reporter in question.

And — ten years after the piece was published — P.Z. was still personally attacking the reporter in question, and still caterwauling about the article!

Would P.Z. prefer that no one talk about creationist ideologies? Then why does he talk about them so often on his blog?

At least P.Z., unlike Coyne, isn’t a hypocrite: he doesn’t believe every speaker is owed a platform. Coyne, a secular Jew and staunch defender of Israel, evidently believes that all speakers, except defenders of Islam, and except people who criticize his ideas, are owed a platform.

But both Coyne and P.Z. do not understand what the New York Times does. The defenses of Islam that so antagonize the hypocrite Coyne were opinion pieces on the op-ed page. As such, they do not reflect the views of the editors or reporters of the Times, as Coyne falsely asserts. The op-ed page is designed as an open forum of competing and contrasting views. It reflects the idea, which granted is perhaps naive in today’s troll-driven world, that a clash of ideas is healthy. After all, isn’t this clash of ideas what Coyne claims that he wants, in calling for Steve Bannon and his odious ilk to be given public platforms at taxpayer expense?

I think both Coyne and P.Z. should stick to what the know well — biology — and not spout off about what they don’t know, or least not do so before doing a little research and reflection. Other than this particular matter, I like P.Z., but find the hypocrite Coyne to be utterly insufferable — not just because of his rank hypocrisy, but also for his stupid defense of idiotic hard determinism. After all, Jerry, since The Times editors gave space to defenders of Islam, then by your own lights, they could not have done otherwise, right? :-D
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Re: About journalism

Postby Serpent on November 25th, 2018, 6:03 pm 

I've noticed this quite frequently: the people who most adamantly want to control or suppress the speech of others do so from a podium draped in the first amendment - even when their grievance has nothing to do with government or law-making, to which the amendment refers. It's all part of the Bait & Switch strategy. It has several familiar components. One is speaking as if not giving their side something it has no right to (e.g. a platform) equated to taking away something they did have a right to; conversely, failing to discriminate against their adversary is equated to siding with their adversary.
It's a very effective strategy: it frames the problem in a way that leads discussion into side channels, away from the central issue. It confuses the audience and imprints non-facts into their memory; it places indelible pejorative labels on entities and concepts, which soon become mainstream, unquestioned.
This is how polarization is accomplished.
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Re: About journalism

Postby TheVat on November 25th, 2018, 7:57 pm 

The failure of otherwise smart people to grasp the distinction between the op-ed section and the news section or the editorial page continues to baffle me. Really, once people get to where their focus is just on attacking their perceived opposition, they are all about scoring points rather than finding truth.
Or having a conversation.

It's also weird when people think a major world religion is a completely self-consistent monolith that is the same for all adherents. Rather than a motley collection of sects that are often much at odds with each other. Often with extremist splinter groups whose tenets and mission starkly contradict those of the mainstream.
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Re: About journalism

Postby Serpent on November 25th, 2018, 10:23 pm 

Braininvat » November 25th, 2018, 6:57 pm wrote:The failure of otherwise smart people to grasp the distinction between the op-ed section and the news section or the editorial page continues to baffle me.

It's not failure. He knows exactly what he's doing: accusing the NYT of "printing pro-Islam views". The details - who, what, where, when, why - are meant to get lost in outrage.

Really, once people get to where their focus is just on attacking their perceived opposition, they are all about scoring points rather than finding truth. Or having a conversation.

I believe they view it as winning a war, buy any means necessary.

It's also weird when people think a major world religion is a completely self-consistent monolith that is the same for all adherents.

It doesn't matter to them, any more than factual reporting does. That flag represents the enemy, as well as a convenient bogeyman against whom to rally public opinion.
I don't know how familiar you are with the spokespersons on various forums who post exclusively anti-Islam crap - and it all seems to come from the same bull-factory - under the headings of philosophy, politics or world affairs. Whatever the handle, it's the same MO, same vocabulary, same reference citations, every time. Possibly the same gnome in a basement somewhere, earning $0.01 per word.
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