Mainstream Media Slain in Canada

In a wild and oddly nasty standoff, author Douglas Murray and I steamrolled Malcolm Gladwell and Michelle Goldberg in the most decisive win in the history of Canada’s Munk debates

Expanding upon my previous four thoughts about Matt Taibbi and the fifties…

Wednesday night I had the privilege of taking part in the prestigious Munk debates in Toronto, Ontario. Along with The War on the West author and reporter Douglas Murray, we took on New York Times columnist Michelle Goldberg and New Yorker writer Malcolm Gladwell, arguing: “Be it resolved: Don’t trust mainstream media.”

A pre-event vote of attendees and listeners showed 48% support for our “side,” versus 52% for theirs. 82% of thousands of audience members claimed to be willing to change their minds. They were telling the truth, as it turned out. In a bitter slugfest that featured tense confrontations, impassioned oratory (especially from Douglas), and several almost unbelievably petty exchanges, Douglas and I swung the vote 39% in our favor, ending with a 67%-33% win, the most decisive rout in the history of the event.

I’m on the road and not able to post the full transcript yet, but will when I can. In the meantime I wanted to comment on a few highlights and lowlights.

Sadly it’s not false modesty on my part when I say Douglas’s quick wit and eloquence carried the day — he was incredible, captivating the audience throughout — but it’s also true that on the substance, we were essentially unopposed. Despite repeated attempts on our part to engage on the core question, the event disintegrated almost from the start into a weirdly personal affair that at one point mid-debate had me remembering the famous fist-fighting girl scout scene in Airplane!

The luck of the draw had me giving the opening remarks. One offhand passage needs highlighting because it somehow turned out to be the debate’s main battlefield:


Categories: Media

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