Peterson unmasks stitch-up of TV interviews

Cook, Jonathan

Publisher:  Jonathan Cook Blog
Date Written:  24/01/2018
Year Published:  2018  
Resource Type:  Article
Cx Number:  CX22473

Jonathan Cook on Jordan Peterson’s recent interview with Channel 4’s Cathy Newman.



Here is an ideological duel between a sophisticated brand of the libertarian right and a corporate -- aka faux -- left-liberalism, represented by Newman. The pair, in their commitment to an aggressive individualism within a neoliberal system, have far more in common with each other than they do with a real left. I suspect Peterson would have struggled considerably more to justify his positions had he come up against someone like Noam Chomsky rather than Newman.

Nonetheless, the interview revealed something deeply troubling about what passes today for a news interview, and about the role of journalists. Here were two people talking at each other. This was mostly shadow play, rarely moving beyond shallow ideological posturing.

That is the standard format for news interviews, and one of the main reasons why the news in western democracies is so unenlightening.

Peterson, one should remember, had no choice about the nature of the gladiatorial contest presented to him in Channel 4's studio, and manages it as well as could be expected in the circumstances.

More importantly, at least from the audience's point of view, he succeeds -- much as does Glenn Greenwald in similar interviews -- in stripping away the artifice and exposing the nature of the stitch-up that is the rationale for an interview like this. For once, this was not a wasted half-hour of airtime.

Both Peterson and Greenwald are clever and skilful enough interviewees to refuse to be dragged onto a field of battle that has been designed to mock them and their kinds of politics.
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