A good friend of mine shared the following video on Facebook, wherein Cathy Newman, who is a journalist for Britain’s Channel 4 News, hosted a debate with Jordan Peterson, who is a liberal clinical psychologist from Toronto. But you can’t really call it a debate, because Newman was clearly out of her league. She obviously entered the studio that day in possession of several pre-conceived beliefs, and she held steadfastly to those beliefs despite the fact that all of her arguments disintegrated into a flaming pile of excrement as the ‘debate’ progressed. (Or digressed, as the case may be.)
Peterson easily defeated all of Newman’s false assumptions with a never-ending stream of well-researched and articulate facts. Nevertheless, Newman repeatedly assaulted her studio guest as though she were a pit bull from hell, to which Peterson continuously responded with a polite demeanor and a gracious disposition, which was an incredible accomplishment seeing as how Newman’s arguments had no basis in reality.
Here is the video of the debate in question:
All joking aside, this ‘debate’ should become required watching for all journalism students in the future, because it is the best example of how not to conduct an interview or debate. Not only did Newman arrive at this interview ill-prepared and bursting with incorrect, pre-conceived notions about what her guest believed, but she also failed to accurately listen to her guest. Throughout the debate, Newman maintained a constant state of combatant and accusatory maliciousness despite all of the well-researched evidence that was presented as contrary to her personal feelings. Newman continuously interrupted her guest, and she constantly misquoted Peterson by twisting his responses into almost the opposite opinion of what he actually said or believed, and all the while she prefaced her misquotations with a condescending introduction such as, “So, what you’re saying is…,” or “So, you think that…,” etc.
With all of that in mind, here is my recap of the general flow of information during the debate:
- Cathy Newman: I have this pre-existing and baseless opinion about what you believe, and I disagree with everything that you have ever said in your life.
- Jordan Peterson: Your pre-existing opinion of my beliefs has no basis in fact.
- Newman: So what you're saying is, my pre-existing, baseless opinion is correct.
- Peterson: No, I never said that. Your pre-existing opinion is easily defeated by these concrete facts.
- Newman: I will completely ignore your facts, and I will restate my baseless opinion as your belief.
- Peterson: No, I don't believe that. Here are some more facts, examples, and things that I have said in the past which disagree with your pre-existing opinion.
- Newman: I will ignore everything that we have said so far, and I will restate my original pre-existing and baseless opinion as though we hadn't said anything.
- Peterson: No, you are deliberately distorting reality; what I believe is this, which is backed up by years of empirical evidence.
- Newman: In a futile attempt to reinforce my baseless opinion, I am going to quote an unresearched statistic and hurl it at you in an accusatory manner.
- Peterson: I am going to easily refute your false statistic with an example that...
- Newman: I would rather interrupt you in a rude an insulting manner than listen to your facts, and ask what gives you the right to believe that my baseless opinion is somehow incorrect?
- Peterson: I am an expert in my field, and here is a bunch of reinforcing data that I have collected from first-hand experience throughout my vast career within this field, which is backed up by years of academic studies conducted by other experts in this field.
- Newman: So what you're saying is, you believe that my original pre-existing, baseless opinion is correct.
- Peterson: No, I don't believe that. You're doing very badly here, so I will attempt an offhanded compliment to spare you the embarrassment of looking like an intellectual buffoon on a public broadcast.
- Newman: I will resoundingly deflect your unnecessary compliment, and I will suddenly steer this conversation into a nonsensical, unrelated direction and use this change of topic to state another pre-existing and baseless opinion.
- Peterson: I have no idea why we are discussing this unrelated topic, but your other pre-existing opinion is also incorrect, and I can back this up with centuries of evolutionary evidence and study.
- Newman: So let me get this straight, you also agree with my other pre-existing opinion.
- Peterson: No, I never said that; I don't agree with either of your baseless opinions.
- Newman: I am clearly out of my league here, so I'm just going to call you a big meanie like I am some sort of kindergartener.
- Peterson: I'm not a big meanie.
- Newman: Well, you're mean to people who disagree with you.
- Peterson: I vehemently defend my beliefs with other academics, although I also have letters from thousands of people over the past few months who have thanked me for making their lives better.
- Newman: This interview has gone down in flames, so I'm going to thank you curtly and basically throw you out of my studio.
- Peterson: I will respond politely, as I have done for this entire debacle, which has been an amazing feat of patience for me since you clearly lack the intelligence to tie your own shoelaces.
I think that accurately sums up their discussion.
UPDATE: The same friend later posted the following image, which nicely sums up the overall accuracy of Ms. Newman’s responses to Peterson’s statements.