« Making Sense with Sam Harris

#140 — Burning Down the Fourth Estate

2018-10-17 | 🔗

In this episode of the Making Sense podcast, Sam Harris speaks with Matt Taibbi about the state journalism and the polarization of our politics. They discuss the controversy over Steve Bannon at the New Yorker Festival, monetizing the Trump phenomenon, the Jamal Kashoggi murder, the Kavanaugh hearing, the Rolling Stone reporting on the UVA rape case, the viability of a political center, the 2020 Presidential election, the Russia investigation, our vanishing attention span, and other topics.

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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Welcome to the maids Asthma against SAM Paris. Today I am speaking with men Tybee mad Madame a writer for rolling stone magazine- and he was a winner of the two thousand and eight National Magazine award for columns and commentary. he has written many books, including New York Times best sellers, the great arrangement Griff Tokyo and the divide, and in this episode we focus on the state of journalism. And the vacuousness, in polarization of our politics we discuss the controversy over inviting Steve, Bannon and then DIS, inviting him to the New Yorker Festival
we talk about monetizing. They trump phenomenon that remark. Ok murder. cabin on hearing the rolling stone reporting on the uv rape case, the viability of the political centre, the twenty twenty presidential election The russian investigation, our vanishing attention span. and many other topics Anyway, many of you have requested that I get mad on the pot cast. Please enjoy my conversation with matter baby I'm here with my Tybee math, thanks for coming on the past that you were having me so we haven't met, but I've been a fan of your work for for quite some time and no doubt we have friends in common. So I haven't, figured that out yet, but I'm sure were or in some similar orbit of some large and dangerous object now. Definitely so
how would you people be fairly with you, I think. But how do you describe your interests as a journalist, I would say investigative journalists, usually I'm also manassa commentary. Obviously I kind of my specialty over the years has been the sort of deep dive into and arcane subject is undisputed. Subject, only after the financial services crash, if you does indeed, I did a lot of stories about how the how Wall Street works and basically translating all that for ordinary,
readers and an employer, humorists kind of an absurd as that taken absurdest point of view, and things is as often as I can and yet it's I think people are probably classify me as legal. You know on the left, but I don't really think of myself. There aware that I am sort of. Moreover, a writer than I am polemicist. I guess you I I I want to touch the financial crisis at some point, but those to start with the the current state of journalism and health or or state of disease. You have an interesting perspective on this because you are a grew up in a journalist family. I wasn't my how the worthy reporter he started in the business when he was seventeen. He was a student at rockers University and when I was born
and he started working very early on and became a television poorer in his early twenties and Boston and summarily MA am I checked my childhood Actually a lot like the movie anchor man, spend one time around those goofy seventies, Billiards and my dad was was sort of one of those characterise he had the bad facial hair and he was in it big colleague, early collar shirts funny ties and he had many jobs in
all that cool stuff. But now I grew up around the business. My earliest memories are all: are all journalists, my father's, my my family friends, rural reporters. So this is it's been my life's and sows, probably three or four years old, I would say- and so I have ever do while perspective on it. It's it's not totally unique, but it's been it's a big part of my life, sir washing changes in the business yeah. I won't talk about how it has changed and- and maybe changing just by the hour now because we have this. This discovers horrible integration that we have all witnessed of journalism and social media and politics that the politics sides since trumps for seems unrecognizable too many of us So I am just wondering the thing that many of us when you get a handle on here is how we can have a same discussion about facts and values.
about what actually going on in the world and what we should do about it when our a pistol ology appears to have been shattered by partisan politics and new technologies and new perverse incentives in media which appear to be driving ourselves crazy. How do you view it as a somebody who's who had at least as some distant memory of pre internet journalism and and whose now working as a journalist, fulltime yeah? I'm actually writing a book about this right now? and it's called the fair way. It's like a rethink of manufacturing consent and it's a lot about her. What's going on in the last three or four decades with the business, and I think you hit on a really important word when he talked about incentives. The finance sounds and our business have really gone haywire and with the collision of the internet, endless this business,
were now more or less all completely. As you know, at the at the upper levels in the media and the big corporate outlets were basically in the business of telling arm our audiences, what they want to hear and their best a very driving pressure on journalists to make audiences happy in a way that didn't exist. Probably a generation ago. almost everybody now almost all journalists have a social media presence there, all whether they do so in their day job or not. There are bad writers through to a degree, and this is really filtered into the way. We cover everything and it's gotten dramatically. Worsened Trump arrived because he's you're polarizing figure that now there's really only two kinds of media in in big media others through pro
RO, Trot, media and theirs is anti trust, media and weep. We basically market those two brands and it's it's very difficult to write about Elsa Numa. I've heard I've really struggled with it because in my career, I really did a lot of things that we're not about partisan politics that were about bipartisan issues. There are four things that had by partisan causes like financial crisis or military contracting or whatever it is, but you can't do that today. It's is it's very hard to market your work. If you don't have an over trump angle on it and that's as you say, it's becoming more more pronounced, I think by the minute- and that's that's difficult- is hard not to be part of the problem in the act of responding the problem, however constructively. You think you're doing that, because it is there something so demeaning about
What is now normal, an interest to beat me covering Trump all the time, Miss politically journalist glee on social media that the status quo is so eclipsing of deeper possibilities and at its yourselves magnifying of what's petty and and superficial, and yet to try to make sense of it or improve. It is to be dragged into the same Swann. Then say it reminds me of the fears many people had of the large. drawn collider that it was a fear that some future high energy experiment in physics might rip a hole in the fabric of space time and and destroy the world. Languages might open up an many black all that would swallow everything writer or nuclear explosion when ignite the atmosphere or something like that, ray. I envy you, however, physically plausible those fears have been at any point. I actually feel something similar
every time I turn on the news. What I'm afraid of and responding to it is not. the threat of nuclear war or cyber terrorism or climate change any mean a real problem. Is this high energy experiment of our own banality and childishness in the face of these real challenges that eclipses any prospect of? Thinking about these challenges intelligently, I mail you like yesterday, you know we're recording the day after we had Kanye West and Trump in the oval office. You know where Trump got to like the same one, four minutes at a stretch and has just or
moment where human history is an episode of reality. Television and it's it's so appalling, and yet to even talk about it is to be in some ways. Just participating in this circus is very hard to see how, as a journalist, you thread this needle. Were you again you you have to choose how much time to spend on this freak show which is the place that is either deterred. In the course of human events or just preventing us from dealing with problems that we are just not gonna go away on their own magically. I spent a lot of time set of warning about this in the last twelve years. One of the things that do a lot of rolling stone there. Be covering the campaigns every four years I'm not gonna start. My faith in a few few months are unfortunately,
there is starting this early. I know, of course, as one of the one of the problems that it starts earlier in earlier, each each cycle, but at but I've been saying for a couple of election cycles. Now that we were turning the electoral process into a reality Joe and we were making it more more vacuous with each progressive cycle and the media was sort of celebrating its role, as essentially judges and
kind of beauty pageant arena? We had all these terms and code words that we use to identify people who we thought were appropriate presidential candidates. So if, if you saw somebody described as pointed out in a campaign, sorry that was Abe, that was a bad sign. That was the press is where things this person is going to be offensive or difficult for Middle America to swallow. If we use the word new wants, that was a good word. you know. Of course there is the whole contest over who, which Canada will you most one have a beer with that we know we invented all of these little ridiculous kind of reality shows suitors events which ones the most tough. On the fence, which one is the most, is the warmest and the vacuousness of it. I think people started to rebel against it.
I sort of notice, I think, in the Romany Obama election, that people were just really impatient with that kind of coverage and when Trump came along I recognise right away that this is going to your problem because he was, in a way that the cap it was a bad reality show with bad actors, and here was a inexperience reality. Tv performer who was gonna come in and make a
sweet circus out of it and the problem. I knew I knew from the very start at the problem was going to be that the commercial press is not going to be able to resist that narrative, and I wrote about this from the start that that Trump was perfectly designed to walk through the front door of a process that had already been deeply flawed before he even got in the scene, and that's exactly what happened. You know how I lost a little bit of faith throughout the course of the election that, I initially thought that he had that he was going to win the against all odds, but then I lost a little bit of confidence and I didn't want to win. Of course, but, but I saw it right away that that that he was going to fit like a glove into what we created. Yeah yeah. I've been thinking of him. and talking about him as an evil, Chauncey Gardiner right where
have been rather than being based on his own talent. an ingenious and strategy and vision is the perfect person to exploit a very flawed system and situation were his own. Personal flaws has narcissism his crash knows everything. That's wrong with him as eight as a human fit like a perfect key into the lock of the present moment maybe I'm not giving him quite as much credit is as it should be for DNA, a talented demagogue, but I really do think that just being the right ugly character at the right moment explains a lot of his success O. Absolutely I mean he enough. what about this? Actually, oddly enough with pro wrestlers, because one of the first things I'd, I noticed
in the last election was tromp was basically doing a heel act. If you, if you watch any rustling, he was casting all of his opponents as the b We face, you, know the good guy and if you watch any debate that we know the audience is always cheer when the sort of gorgeous George Character gets chair across the face, and that's what trumpeted with people like a bush, he made them offended, He attacked their families, their mothers, their wives, and they are, they didn't know how to handle it and responded in many ways as just basically any sane person would new sort of acting upset, an outrage that but Trot made a mockery of it, and he understood that the the spectacle was more important than what he was actually the actual words that he was saying and the cameras will Would be drawn more to him than they would be to his opponents and that
why he got so much more coverage and everybody else would be if you watch the debate, especially on me, the report, consign early on he just sort of looked physically, but her than everybody else on the stage, because he just had such a dominating media. Prep media presence Any new exactly how to control that w we dynamic and each of these events, and he did it with us in the press to me not not to drawn on about this, but I remember being in New Hampshire, and he would point to us we were in a whirl standing behind the rope line with our note books and he would say things like look at them. Look at those blood suckers they in that I could, when they know their elite is day they doubted, they d hate you and the crowd would physically turn in our direction and start hissing and
We in europe- and I realized Trump trumpets, taking this incredibly boring, stultifying some speech format and is turning into his intimate menacing television event and that that that was gonna fly and it did and that's why everybody just given so much attention. He crushed the ratings, and it was just a perfect confluence of all these factors that made him his is celebrity grow during that time. I don't want to get fully pulled body. They tractor beam that has tromp and I'm sure he'll come up again and I think what when we talk about, it is no secret that you- and I are about- is critical of trumpets as any to people that can be found, but I think in talking about this phenomenon and that the underlying politics, I think we should
b? We try to bend over backwards to be sympathetic to the millions of people who voted for him. A minister put the best possible steel man control on the reasons why I do yet definitely gun. Yet I am sensitive to the charge that at least on this topic in particular I am in an echo chamber or amplifying one and amid the truth is, I think, they're really is truly zero partisanship. In my criticism of trombone aid, I think very carefully. Everyone I've had on this pipe cast to talk about Trump is a Republican who whose criticising trump- and I have very uncharitable things to say about the Clinton's as well, so it there's a unique problem with him as a person. Witches motive, animator rail, about him it as much as I do, but so, let's just back up for second and talk about how we got here, journalists
quickly, because he saw a couple days before this theatrical event in the oval office with Kenya. West we have the intergovernmental panel on Climate change, releasing a fairly dire report, which gets perhaps predictably now very little oxygen in the press and in a half of America, probably thinks climate change at a hoax, and we have a president who will say that it's a hoax, journalistic early, how did we get to a situation where it is so difficult to define fake news? Clearly enough? Do you
addressed the problem, and we are now living in a ambient level of conspiracy theories and an unwillingness to engage in the case of climate change, a fairly impressive scientific consensus about the basic problem and yet journalism can't seem to get a purchase on it. But how is this where we are? I think that in that case, it's almost entirely of financial issue here back in the day, maybe during the fairness doctrine
When there was more attention paid to go to the public interest standard, we were raising a whole generation that doesn't know some of the history here that the press originally was serve. A grand bargain, Wright, the the government would least the public airwaves to radio and television stations and, as part of the the Serna Goshi Ation, the private media companies were obligated to create programming that was in the public
Preston, convenience and for a long time there was an unwritten rule that the news could be up a loss leader right that you could make your money on sports and sitcoms entertainment and whatever else- and you know the news didn't have to make money and that change that began to change an o with some very profitable programs. I think sixty minutes is one of the first news magazine programs to actually make money and then in the 80s and 90s, we start to see this phenomenon of of companies like
starting to actually make a significant amounts of money in ways that they didn't ask you before, because because they were being more or overly commercial than they used to, and so this it it's it's hard for people to understand. But I watch this. The Tina Turner was just throw up with this idea of what what is and what isn't a story. It's something that's more by smells and by discussion and back in the day, I think reporters would have placed more emphasis on how how important the story is and in deciding whether or not something is newsworthy. Now we probably are whether consciously or not, consciously thinking more about, what's going to sell more when we talk about what stores are going to cover, what we're going to pitch to our editors and that sort of thing, and so climate change is just it's just a tough sell. I've done a very few stories on that, but I've done stories on topics that are like that
better, better difficult cells, and it's really hard to get traction. I think that the hardest part is it. You might be able to get your own. It audience interested for a little while, but the hard part is getting everybody else to pick it up and an that's. That's really. The difficult part is right. Now you in order to effect anything, you need the new cycling and everybody piling on, and that doesn't really happen with that kind of story. Very very often, and unless there are powerful interests behind trying to get something alot of ink. It's just won't happen and mother earth doesn't have that kind of pull on fourchan yeah my work with climate change. You sort of every variable working against it, because it is
the slow moving problem, which is in each specific instance, something that you can't be, at least from a scientific point of view. Confidently say, is happening as theorize. He can say this hurricane is the result of climate change. You can to say that this is a general trend of worsening storms that we would expect, but you can ever point two of the devastation from last week and say very go climate change, or at least, if you do, you will have the all caveats of scientists working in the background took an undercut you. So it's a hard problem because to make it journalist sickly sexy enough, it certainly tempting to distort the underline science and then, when scientists or people like Al Gore, get caught for doing that. Then it sets the whole conversation back yeah. It's very easy to hook right to sell any new story, so people are going to look for
some kind of event, something historic, maybe one or levels arising to a certain degree that never reach before a temperature is getting hotter than they ever had before. I live in Uzbekistan and I remember walking in what used to be the Aral Sea, and it's not bear any more and so people people look for hoax like that to do environmental stories, but there you know, if you're, trying to compete against Scania West, giving trumpet hugging the White House. That's just not uneasy pitch. You know it's. It's not gonna get the same kind of quicksand eyeballs, even from people who claimed to be interested in the topic we are not so that's one of the reasons why, in my own, work of I've had to resort to some pretty weird tactics to try to get people interested in things like the financial crisis or of the Iraq war.
You, storytelling techniques, humor. You know I can't make black cats white. Hats may characters out of the main people who figure in the story, and you know you feel not so great about that sometimes, but that's necessary in order to get people eyeballs trained on on importance checks, so it seemed a journalism, has now essentially mean monetize domestic political conflict. More than anything else, measures that were were especially when you add they get started. There are few runs on the ladder here, which I know you you ve written about me. I think that the first is probably conservative, talk, radio and Fox NEWS and twenty four hour cable news cycles, which just demand a kind of endless polarizing conversation about politics.
And when you add the internet and social media and the micro targeting of groups with Facebook ads and were now monetizing every individual's confirmation, bias and addiction to outrage. Do you see a way of breaking the spell? What is what's this the exit from this- I don't know- I mean I'm in the middle of the night in that book- that writing the fair way right now I D just wrote this thing called the ten rules of hate which are its explicitly about how how we monetize political derision, how we train audiences to bees have pre pre angry and get them addicted, conflict. We re angry here, very angry, the great phrase I mean it's, it's a mean. Everybody knows that we do it and we and we know that we do it on an ethical back along wave? First working people have to realise that you think about the logistical challenge,
filling all those hours on twenty four hour, cable and when what, when credit first happened, the news had a very, very difficult time: making all those hours work. You know what they basically did as they would do a news cas and have it all loop every hour or so, but that doesn't work in modern Day media union, anything new, pretty much constantly, and so what what works and what they found over the years in terms of what works to fill all the hours in what gets people's attention, the most it's either an ongoing crash kind of a story like you know that the curse
disaster or a baby down the well or as a storm, or something like that were they can updated every minute or it's something like the presidential campaign that has eighteen months as scheduled conflicts and you can create lots and lots of sort of graphic do dad's to talk about the year prediction then you can turn it into a kind of sports format where people argue constantly, but the easiest way to fill all that time is this. To do this, their crossfire format. Were you have won one person, a one sided one on the other side in the argue and the show doesn't really work if they try to reach an accommodation during the show it has to be conflict right, if you think about what cross fire does and an Saturn alive was lamp, ruining this way back in the seventies, with point counterpoint, the idea that people would set a dress up and church and ties in and scream insults at each other
over things that had nothing to do with their lives with their lives is totally crazy, but we do. it constantly and that format so well as a way to fill the hours that it went from being a variety show that we turn into occasionally to being the entire news landscape, and we have some channels that are from the left and some channels at her from the right and they're just loving grenades at each other constantly and the additional factor. But you talk about the internet, now means that all those algorithms are gonna be searching for audiences, who were already a pre selected to agree with with certain topics. So when you create a story, you know about how you just say: Trump is awful to ten thousand two hundred and ten, two hundred and one ways Trump is off or whatever right, there's going to be an alchemist going to identify all the people who are
like that story or or likely to like that story ends going to feed it to them through the Facebook feed and through various other social media methods, and so there's all these commercial poles that that push us to try to create that kind of content which is just about feeding people hate reflexes. And it's really unfortunate, because what ends up happening is that people like me who when we come across a topic that is in part a sinner, isn't gonna make you angry, but, as you know, few diffuse cover a correctly. It's gonna make. You need anything but your own culpability or it's gonna, make your readers not so pleased with the politicians that they vote for their kind of an internal
nourishment from doing that kind of material, and I'm sure I've heard you talk about how the certain segment of your audience turned out to be trump supporters. It's difficult right went to to do content that, maybe you know, is gonna turn those people off and that's, I think, that's unconscious- that something that's unconscious in going on at the unconscious level, with a lot of reporters these days is one of situations where incentives are more powerful than what most people at least can consciously will themselves to do You can keep your eye on me, the public good, a fair amount, but if all of your incentives, especially your Vienna incentives for being able to pay your ranten,
cancer career are running the other way. It's not hard to guess. What's going to win there at least for most people, I noticed you were fairly critical of the the New Yorker Festival will be on there, just just inviting Steve Bannon. I wish we can talk about. I think you and I had some for some more take on that, but you seemed much more critical than I would tend to be in this environment. Just around their their business model, there are somehow prostituting journalism by creating events that people would pay a fair amount of money to attend, but get it at one of the main problems from my point of view is we're in a an invite. Now, where virtually everyone expects to get their new free. So if, if any, if any worker can create a you know, a yearly conference, that's expensive that people actually want to pay for it
see. You know their favorite writers are who or whoever get upon stage in and talk. Why be skeptical of that project? Given the financial exigencies now it with journalism, just trying to figure out how to stay in business you're right I mean I was probably unfair about that. I just kind of reacted to the whole thing as somebody is. This should have been in the business for a long time It would be tough for me to do that kind of a van, and I don't know I just have instead of an old old school, take on that. It just feels kind of odd to me for some reason, but but I understand I mean you know, that's that serve its away too, to make money now and it Sir, it's prevent, I guess to be pretty successful, and people do want to meet their their favorite writers and and pundits in that sort of thing. So I guess it's analogous
What happens in what happened in the music industry, where you know what musicians can't make nearly as much money is actually selling their music, so they have to tour and the problem for writers has always been that there is no No real analogue for touring from most writers me some can have careers speakers, but it seems like this new Yorker festival which I've never attended. So I M just guessing, but it seems like this is a a micro example of a magazine, figuring out some touring component to its business model, which are not obviously not every magazine can do, but that part seems good to me, provided there is actually a market for it. I what
really was objectively. Not good was how they handled the Steve Bannon situation. I don't you want to give your. I have already spoken about that briefly podcast, but if you want to give me your take on what happened there well, I I do think that interviewing Steve bad and is totally legitimate thing to do, and when I first heard about the controversy I I guess I didn't understand what the new Yorker vessel was, and I should protest back up and say again. I grew up in with with people who, in an era when the same those people, the add people- were literally not allowed in the same newsroom as reporters like there was a Chinese while be preparing between the press and the business side, and we just didn't have to think about it, and so the idea, the first of all you know, I think, from an old school perspective, which is here,
little weird to me? But if you add the component of we're going to charge an actress special high amount of money to sue Bring Steve banning answer that everybody can talk at the public spectacle of him on stage- I don't know, if that's you know, that's that's basically monetary, the Trump phenomenon in a way, that's just a little bit too direct for my taste. I mean I understand why they did it and I, and in some of the things that they would run the editor of the New Yorker said about you know, we need to challenge people who our full in all that is in fact one of the things the robot was that if you watch the there, if you read the Michael of broken, there's all these amazing questions that I would like to ask somebody like the abandoned like what did he always he talking about when he was
during the nomination of a money laundering prosecutor to your nurse team and also you know about his search strategic decisions during the campaign. All itself is interesting in its worth exploring, but in the context of that of that, first of all, it felt like a little bit to commercial ass. For me, I don't know it would put it you think about that, but leaders, products too interesting. Points that are bigger than fast want. One is just that the general phenomenon of wondering who is worth talking too, is something I have struggled with openly on the palm cast. Is it ok to, as its said, give a platform to person acts when there? is interesting differences of opinion to be aired. In that conversation, the other thing you brought up is just monetizing the trump phenomenon in general. It was just take that peace first seems me the journey
listen in general must have benefited from Trump right. I wonder if there's a kind of a perverse incentive. Now that has crept in where this is the best, thing that ever happened to see an end or any these other outlets his at has anyone quantified just how good Trump has been for journalism? Yes, there I mean they're been lots of reports of others. The numbers are historic, typically, the networks in the year after a presidential election, the cable networks anyway cease significant drops and ratings. That didn't happen with CNN Tiananmen best. I think in the first,
of the trunk presidency made a billion dollars profit, and there was a really interesting phenomenon for me about that, which was Paul after poll showed that there was less truss of the media than ever and including on both sides. The spectrum among Republicans and Democrats, but particularly among conservatives but were they demean, has been consume more than ever so. Does that mean that means that we are starting to eat into the entertainment worlds budget? Basically, because people are really consuming us is a product that they trust. there are consuming us as some other kind of product that sir some other kind of purpose and that's pretty weird and then all of all the networks have been here just amazing ratings ever since trick Trump has been in office, and that that's one of the reasons why I have this queasy feeling about a lot of trump coverage. It's in all this were originally when he first came on the scene. There was a lot of serve
snickering, and let's give this this clown a little air time to to because we know it's gonna get ratings and then, when people thought that about and they realize that they were helping him get get to the presidency. They just ages. The visitor started to add this Did you know, instead of a million hours of trumpets and million hours of trumpets, bad? I think it's basically the same thing in I really worry about that. I think that's, not that's not a positive phenomenon for the for the press, physicists oh easy now to make money with tramp tramp content and that's give that's a bad habit for the press to break yeah. So back to when the woman thing I'd love to talk about yet and at the other end of nefarious, Podcast Gaster Interview guessed what I have described this on my part ass. I have talked about in terms This uncanny valley phenomenon, where, if someone is
bad enough. That is just. Do you just a straightforward decision makers, the clearest cases of you you could sit down and talk to Hitler. That would be interesting, but to talk to Richard Spencer is to give a platform to an awful person with his awful ideas, and I just wonder how you I'm a freer again. I totally agree with you about Steve Ban and he's not he's not Richard Spencer. I think he's is unfairly slime. As being that sort of right wing whose uniform or racist and he's he someone who already has a platform and is already used it to great effect. So he somebody who is who is made the news and in in large measure, is responsible for whose currently in the oval office, so he seems worth talking to end the idea that David Remnant could not have performed his side of that interview in a way
that would have credibly undercut barons. Bad ideas in so far as they are bad is just to put so little faith in in remnant as a journalist and interest the possibility sharing sunlight on bad ideas that addition it made everyone on the Disan right side of the the ledger- look Craven and saw him it was. It was the worst possible outcome because it ban and gets to say that he destroyed the left without even showing up right yeah. I I don't know the deep lad. Forming movement on campuses is something that I've. Never. covered. I never had any reason to really look at it, but in journalism I don't see that it really has a place, because this the standard is just, is the person newsworthy or not? they have something that we want to know or not to talk about an the case abandoned. You know he is equally true. That is newsworthy there are a million things that I would want. Ask Steve Bannon and I understood
the objections, and then I heard a lot of them. When I wrote about this, that there isn't nothing. You're gonna learn from steed bad in his is a racist and avoid supremacy that's all you need to know. Well, you know, I don't think that's true, I think they're Donald Trump would not be present. Right now of a war for banning and his tactics were very successful. Among other things, in calling a whole lot of journalists like myself, and I would love to learn from him what his thinking was throughout that process. In this dinner in the summer of two thousand six I'm sure there are a million things that have happened in the White House that, if he were inclined to talk about, I would love to hear about the He'S- a newsworthy person, real Spencer, that's a little bit different because in others. There is no doesnt Israel news value in what he's Doin Epicure. If you're a big,
corporate media outlets and your covering Spencer, your basically just giving him free advertising I love that, but what you actually write it in you, We interview all kinds of crazy people and we dont think about whether there are good people are bad people have not least, I never have a register. I just think about whether there there news. Were there not a mean? Would you interview Bin Laden? Of course you would sooner I don't I don't understand. I found that whole thing really troubling And I worry about it creeping into reporting, because if you add the requirement that reporters now have two sanitized the content, for audience is an and add all these indicators that Ireland is no that this or that idea is bad offers for that's showing a remarkable love like were lack of an of confidence in your audiences ability to understand things
and secondly, that just now are we do. Where were the businesses that are finding out what happened and understanding things and letting me the world do with that information. What it will we're, not we're not in the business of making political judgments about people that you know and in the in the same way that you know what campus administrator would have might have to take into consideration when there are two sides, they're, not to invite somebody or something like would you interview Alex Jones yeah. I probably would what do you think about? I have written about this, but when you think about that this censorship of him, by the various social media channels that have centred him? What was it all of them are wounded? What is he still on Twitter? I know he was pulled down from from Youtube, and I'm not sure I know that he's gone for most of them. How do you view
at phenomenon, and would he be someone you would certainly get alot of grief for speaking to him, but what you think about the merits of speaking to him well on this. On the censorship angle, I felt it was really interesting because I think people didn't understand that moment. all that. Well, we have had in this country for a long time since the early sixties, a way of dealing with bad speech, and you understood there has been a New York Times, we Sullivan right, we, we ve, decided what's what's libel, what slander and the courts sort that out and it's been a very effective system for peace. hunting people from lying or a publishing damaging information. The court's typically react pretty swiftly and that that private system has a sum has been a great shield to people like.
me, because when I enough, I want to write about a company like Goldman Sachs, or something like that, I know that I, in order for them to successfully soon that I have to get things wrong, that it's gonna to go to. You know a court room and not some private executive somewhere to make that decision, and so the idea that we're which we now have a new standard. Where the decision
how we deal with bad speech is gonna be dealt with behind closed doors in visa, gigantic transnational companies. And it's not going to public and it's gonna, be you know, you're not going to really have a say in it if they decide to remove from the platform. I really worry about that and I think, as I said in and when I wrote about this to me, it looks like Jones in falls under the category of somebody who could have been successfully soon and a number of occasions and probably would be out of business any in the old days, but instead it beak because he was he was so unpopular any and he so noxious to a lot of people when when they were moved him from all those platforms of rebate, cheered- and I thought that was really dangerous moment.
because we're serve formerly switching from one enforcement mechanism to another, and this other enforcement mechanisms is cut a scary to me, you know, so I worry about that a lot for sure what do with the argument that these are private platforms amid these essentially publishers that, by this argument, would be forced to publish ideas that are noxious false and damaging in the case of Jones, in a damaging to the bereaved parents of murdered. Children is part of the problem here that Facebook and Youtube, and these other platforms are so big now as to be not best thought of as private companies but they're. Essentially your public utilities, or you know common space that Christmas card, if you'd like to continue listening to this podcast you'll need to subscribe, it Samharris, DOT, org you'll, get access to all
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Transcript generated on 2020-10-07.