Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Hmm …

… Thinking Clearly With Alan Jacobs | The American Conservative. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Last week I got a phone call from a fairly well-known journalist who wanted to talk with me about the book, and her first question was about those TV news debate shows — the Crossfire or McLaughlin Group genre (I don’t even know what their successors are). She had been watching a lot of them lately, and I suspect has been on a few, and she wanted to know what strategies of Good Thinking could be employed by someone participating in such a show. I was a bit taken aback by the question, because I knew exactly what you say above: that those shows are not for actual debate — nobody, and I bet literally nobody, has even been “broken on the floor” on a news debate show, and if that ever happened, you can be sure that the person so broken would never be invited back. In such an environment, thinking is effectively forbidden.
I wonder.  Bill Buckley once had Paul Goodman on Firing Line to debate whether the public school system should be abolished. Goodman thought it just as might well be and Buckley was pretty much for the defense. But as the show neared its end, Buckley told Goodman that they were running out of time, adding wryly and that he wanted to de-brief his son, who was in the audience. He was, in effect, admitting that Goodman had the better part in the debate.

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