A lopsided debate

Matt Taibbi and Douglas Murray debated Malcolm Gladwell and Michelle Goldberg on the proposition “Be it resolved, don’t trust mainstream media.” Taibbi and Murray took the affirmative, i.e., the mainstream media are not to be trusted. The event took place this past Wednesday under the auspices of the Munk Debates in Toronto, Canada. Before undertaking his dive into the Twitter Files, Taibbi wrote it up here at his Substack site for his subscribers. He proudly noted the lopsided nature of his and Murray’s victory in the tweet below.

National Review’s Ari Bluff reports on the debate in an accessible story here. As he notes, “Taibbi and Murray won by the largest margin ever recorded at a Munk Debate.”

I watched the whole thing on Vimeo here and found it incredibly entertaining. The pace of the debate was swift. Gladwell proved himself a sanctimonious nitwit whose strong point is condescension. He played the same stupid race card several times on Taibbi — because Taibbi praised Walter Cronkite in his opening statement. Gladwell could not be bothered to pronounce Taibbi’s name correctly either. It was somehow beneath him.

By the same token, Gladwell also persisted in calling Murray “Doug.” Murray returned the favor in his closing argument: “Well, Malc.” Murray referred at one point to Gladwell as “glib,” and that aptly characterized the nature of Gladwell’s remarks in toto. Murray showed how it was to be done with style in his second rebuttal (I think): “It’s so strange hearing you debate, Malcolm, because you listen to nothing your opponents say.” At least there was no false bonhomie.

Murray was magnificent throughout. The clip below comes from his opening statement.

I would love to have responded to Gladwell’s testimonial to the New Yorker’s legendary fact-checking (by means of an interruption deep into the debate). The New Yorker’s fact-checking did not make a dent in Jane Mayer’s 15,000-word profile of Christopher Steele, for example, and yet the profile got essentially everything relevant wrong. (I wrote about it at length in a series of five posts that I called “The Dossiad.”)

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