As I no longer live in Sydney I'm a remote guest and this week my audio is a little weird as we used FaceTime audio to get me there.
Alex Jones must pay Sandy Hook families nearly $1 billion for hoax claims made on his conspiracy news service Infowars. Will it help to deconstruct one of the most potent engines of misinformation in the history of media?
And what is the point of going to work in an office if you’re just going to spend the day on video calls?
If you don't catch it on air, you can listen here.
Uncivil Wars - How contempt is corroding democracy
I've just read the essay by Waleed Aly and Scott Stephens in issue 87 of the Quarterly Essay. I wish I'd read this before we made the program.
The authors argue that treating people with whom we disagree with contempt rather than trying to see the world from the best version of their point of view hinders proper debate and, by extension, undermines democracy.
Recently I've interacted with several people who believe that COVID vaccination is some sort of conspiracy that ranges from being motivated by money making all the way up to a deliberate plan to kill people. I must admit I have sometimes treated people with contempt, not requiring serious debate.
Aly & Stephens have shown me the error of my ways and I will try to do better.
Good for you taking on challenging the 'lost sheep' - it takes a real effort to overcome the initial shock of pure ignorance that pours forth and I always find it hard to find some common, firm ground from which to engage. It's hard to use reason and facts with people who are driven by emotions and aren't open to reconsider alternative perspectives. As for the more extreme views like Alex Jones sprouts there can be no accommodation. Such disgusting views should be rejected out of hand - hard to do without offending some people. So be it.
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