A quick run-down of that bit of the Guardian where ill-informed anonymous authors take cheap pot-shots at easy targets.
Name: Guardian Pass Notes
Age: Launched in 1992, canned in 2005, brought back in 2009. So…either 26 or 22 depending on your math preference.
Purpose: None that I can find.
Where: Down the bottom. Both figuratively and literally. If websites had a back page, it would be around there somewhere. It’s one of the many reasons the Guardian’s banner ads asking for money are getting bigger.
Appearance: A sort of faux questionnaire that’s obviously all been written by the same person.
Well, that sounds like a cheap way to set up your own snide one-liners: Excellent summary, me. That’s exactly what it sounds like and exactly what it is. It’s the journalistic equivalent of cheating at solitaire.
What do they write about? Thankfully they’re mostly confined to the shallow end, everything from Steven Seagal to invisible jeans.
So that’s good right? We don’t want important topics covered so flippantly: No we don’t, which is why it’s so terrible when they’re occasionally allowed out fo their depth to write about Hillary Clinton or Julian Assange.
They cover important intellectual topics this way?!?! You’re right to be shocked, me. This is no format for real serious politics. It’s just cheesy and inappropriate. Like today’s article on the “Intellectual Dark Web”.
…what’s the “intellectual dark web”? It’s a loosely affiliated group of academics and media personalities – from both the left and right – who have been turned away from mainstream venues or no-platformed at universities. It’s essentially a pro-free speech group. Libertarian comedian and podcast host Dave Rubin, a founding member, describes their aim as “fighting for our right to agree to disagree”.
That sounds perfectly reasonable, and an important topic for intellectual debate. I quite agree.
…But is a click-bait fake-interview really the forum to tackle the complex issue of academic censorship? Excellent point, me. And no, no it’s not. When your main concern is pop-culture references and making sure you don’t use words over four syllables long you can accidentally simplify important issues.
So how do they avoid cheap remarks and maintain journalistic integrity? They don’t. They don’t even pretend to respect the ideas of objectivity and neutrality.
How do you mean? Well, in the IWD article, they literally dismiss everyone concerned with “no-platforming” at universities as “just terrible people”, who “combine some form of hardcore libertarianism with an unfortunate manner”, without a word in their defense. This includes respected academics such as Jordan Peterson and Steven Pinker. They don’t even link to their website.
So they don’t consider exclusionary academic consensus to be a troubling issue? Not at all. And people who complain about it are just glory-hogs and idiots. They have youtube channels after all, so being fired for their opinions and turned away from venues doesn’t matter.
That seems rather uneducated and childish. Quite.
I mean, isn’t freedom of speech an important issue facing everyone right across the spectrum of political opinion? Yes. Yes it is. The article sums it up as a “coalition of strange bedfellows”. This is the depth of their analysis.
Is that really it? They also says it’s “unfortunate” that these people are being listened to.
Oh dear. Indeed.
Do say:It’s hard to believe this is allowed in a “serious newspaper.”
Don’t say: “I believe in the importance of high quality investigative journalism and would like to become a Guardian supporter.”