test Mainstream Media Debate - Munk Debates

Mainstream Media Debate

December 5, 2022

Mainstream Media Debate

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.

Arguing for motion was the associate editor of The Spectator magazine, Fox News contributor, and bestselling author of The Madness of Crowds, Douglas Murray. He was joined on stage by Substack publishing sensation, former Rolling Stone contributing editor, and investigative journalist, Matt Taibbi.

Arguing against the resolution was the internationally acclaimed author, podcaster and veteran New Yorker staff writer, Malcolm Gladwell. His debate partner was Michelle Goldberg, New York Times columnist, MSNBC contributor, former American Prospect senior correspondent and senior writer for The Nation.

“News media shouldn’t have a side. It should focus on getting things right…until they get back to the basics, they don’t deserve to be trusted, and they won’t be”


“The issue here is process. The mainstream media has a set of professional norms that work the best way they can to the production of fairness and accuracy”


“Having different opinions is so 20th century. In this century we have different facts. And its lethal for the functioning of society”


“The media loves counter-intuitive stories more than it loves ideologically convenient stories”