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Mainstream Media | Munk Debates

November 30, 2022

Mainstream Media

Be it resolved, don't trust mainstream media.

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Be it resolved, don't trust mainstream media

Public trust in mainstream media is at an all-time low. Critics point to coverage of COVID-19, the 2020 election, and the Ottawa trucker protest as proof that legacy outlets like the New York Times, The Globe and Mail and CNN can no longer be relied upon to provide unbiased reporting. Activist journalists are using pen and paper to push political agendas while their bosses lean into the profitability of polarization. Mainstream media’s defenders argue that their institutions offer an invaluable public service that alternative outlets are either incapable or uninterested in providing: careful fact-based reporting on important issues and holding the powerful to account. In a brave new world of “fake news” and “drive by” journalism, traditional news organizations are essential to democracy and a bulwark against corruption, misinformation and the private interests of the powerful.

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The Debaters

Douglas Murray

"The American media scene is, to all intents and purposes, a war of two opposing camps, with one side — the Left — overwhelmingly overrepresented."

Douglas Murray

"The American media scene is, to all intents and purposes, a war of two opposing camps, with one side — the Left — overwhelmingly overrepresented."

Douglas Murray is a bestselling author and journalist based in Britain. His books include The Sunday Times No. 1 bestsellers The Strange Death of Europe: Immigration, Identity and Islam (2017), The Madness of Crowds: Gender, Race and Identity (2019) and The War on the West (2022). He has been Associate Editor at The Spectator magazine since 2012 and has written regularly there, as well as for other publications including The Wall Street Journal, The Times, The Sunday Times, The Sun, The Mail on Sunday, The Telegraph, The New York Post and National Review. A regular guest on the BBC, Fox, and other news channels, he has also spoken at numerous universities, parliaments, the O2 Arena and the White House.
 

Matt Taibbi

"Intellectual diversity that was normal in a newsroom once upon a time is vanishing. There’s an expectation now among younger reporters to be a team player devoted to pursuing the same ideological framework."

Matt Taibbi

"Intellectual diversity that was normal in a newsroom once upon a time is vanishing. There’s an expectation now among younger reporters to be a team player devoted to pursuing the same ideological framework."

Matt Taibbi is an award-winning investigative reporter and one of America’s more recognizable literary voices.

Taibbi grew up admiring Russian writers, which led him to spend most of his early adult life in the former Soviet Union. After studying in Leningrad and graduating from Bard College in 1991, he worked as a freelance reporter for a number of years in and around Russia, including a period in Uzbekistan. In 1996 he moved to Mongolia and played in the Mongolian Basketball Association, where he was known as the "Mongolian Rodman." Taibbi eventually resettled in Moscow, where he co-founded an English-language newspaper called the eXile, a satirical biweekly known for investigative journalism and practical jokes.

Taibbi returned to the U.S. in 2002 and soon began work at Rolling Stone, where he won the National Magazine Award for commentary. He is best known for his coverage of four presidential campaigns and the 2008 financial crisis.

He has written ten books, including four New York Times bestsellers: The Great Derangement, Griftopia, The Divide, and Insane Clown President. His latest book about media division, Hate Inc., has been hailed by everyone from Joe Rogan to Publishers Weekly.

In 2020 he moved full time to the subscription platform Substack, where he is one of the most popular independent columnists in the country, with tens of thousands of subscribers.

Malcolm Gladwell

"A newspaper is not merely a monopoly protected by the printing press...there are a separate set of skills that are difficult to acquire and worthy of preservation. You can't start blogging at 23 and call yourself a journalist."

Malcolm Gladwell

"A newspaper is not merely a monopoly protected by the printing press...there are a separate set of skills that are difficult to acquire and worthy of preservation. You can't start blogging at 23 and call yourself a journalist."

Malcolm Gladwell is a Canadian journalist and the author of five New York Times bestsellers: The Tipping PointBlinkOutliersWhat the Dog Saw, and David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits and the Art of Battling Giants. His latest book is Talking to Strangers: What We Should Know About the People We Don't Know. He has been named one of the “100 Most Influential People in the World” by Time magazine and one of Foreign Policy magazine’s “Top 100 Global Thinkers.” He is also the co-founder of Pushkin Industries, producers of the podcast Revisionist History, which reconsiders things both overlooked and misunderstood,

Gladwell has explored how ideas spread in the Tipping Point, decision making in Blink and the roots of success in Outliers. With David and Goliath he examines our understanding of the advantages of disadvantages, arguing that we have underestimated the value of adversity and over-estimated the value of privilege. 

Gladwell has been a staff writer for The New Yorker since 1996. He has won a national magazine award and been honoured by the American Psychological Society and the American Sociological Society. He was previously a reporter for The Washington Post.

Michelle Goldberg

"Bias has become the key to an entire right-wing worldview...The conviction that conspiratorial forces are hiding the truth, and that only members of the movement are undeceived, justifies a refusal to acknowledge otherwise glaring realities."

Michelle Goldberg

"Bias has become the key to an entire right-wing worldview...The conviction that conspiratorial forces are hiding the truth, and that only members of the movement are undeceived, justifies a refusal to acknowledge otherwise glaring realities."

Michelle Goldberg has been an Op-Ed columnist for The New York Times since 2017 and was part of a team that won a Pulitzer Prize in 2018 for public service for reporting on workplace sexual harassment issues. She is the author of three books: Kingdom Coming: The Rise of Christian Nationalism, The Means of Reproduction: Sex, Power, and the Future of the World, and The Goddess Pose: The Audacious Life of Indra Devi, the Woman Who Helped Bring Yoga to the West. Her first book was a finalist for the Helen Bernstein Award for Excellence in Journalism, and her second won the Ernesta Drinker Ballard Book Prize and the J. Anthony Lukas Work-In-Progress Award. She is an on-air contributor to MSNBC, and her work has appeared in The New Yorker, The Washington Post, The New Republic, The Guardian and many other publications. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and children.