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Iz O'Malley
post May 11 2019, 10:09 AM
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Do we give those who promote extremist ideas a platform on which to express such views, or do we deny them that platform, especially with reference to the modern era of social media?

This topic is inspired by two tangentially relevant news stories that amused me. The first has to do with deplatforming. Carl Benjamin of UKIP recently got the Yaxley-Lennon treatment of a milkshake-based projectile, on Lemon Quay in Truro. The assualt was unsuccessful and instead drenched an innocent bystander who helped take the assailant down. Rather wonderful headline picture.

Anyway, point is that he was joined there by Milo Yiannopoulos, far-right extremist and paedophilia apologist. He was really mad about it, you can read what he said on Twitter here. Joke is, he has been banned from nearly every form of major social media, most recently Facebook. Which has left him without a platform and him mostly playing sideshow to Benjamin, whose own Youtube channel was just demonetized by Youtube. The platforms by which these people built up their rhetoric are now turning around to them and saying 'no'. Is this a good thing?

The other side of the story is from an excellent BBC interview from Andrew Neil yesterday, interviewing Ben Shapiro. Youtube video here. It's 16 minutes long but well worth a watch if you haven't seen it, it's a classic of great interviewing from Neil and horrendous performance from Shapiro not understanding the BBC's interviewing tactics and turning hostile, calling Andrew Neil left-wing of all things. Excellent lines in there. Essentially, this interview is giving Shapiro a platform to a country where he hasn't had much reach before, and through his stupidity, utterly screwing it up, ensuring that no one will take his rhetoric seriously. So is there value in giving people platforms like this for them to implode upon? Note I wouldn't call for Shapiro to be deplatformed, he is completely disagreeable politically but I'm not aware of anything immoral he has done, but this interview is a great recent example of 'hoist by ones own petard'.

I'm not sure.
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Brett-Butler
post May 11 2019, 10:58 AM
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Quite a number of threads to unweave there, so I'll go through them as much as I can.

Firstly, whilst I violently disagree with the politics of Tommy Robinson & Carl Benjamin, I am utterly, totally opposed to throwing projectiles in their direction, for many reasons. Firstly, it gives them a sense of edginess, a feeling of taboo breaking, that they are saying things that "the establishment" don't want them so say. Their type use these incidents to rally their base, so resisting them in a physical way will only help their cause. I am also troubled that we are normalising such attacks on individuals, and in many cases this cheerleading is being led by those who really should know better. Without naming names, like Owen Jones for example, we've seen people rightly condemn physical attacks on Remainers in the past few months, yet when these physical attacks are against those they dislike, it suddenly becomes a laughing matter (and of course, let's not forget we've seen an MP being murdered in the past few years). And to anyone who may disagree with my point by saying "but it's only milkshake". You're right. This time it is.

In the case of Milo, his fall from grace is largely due to his own financial incompetence, but also as a result of being given a platform and saying things that went beyond the pail, in terms of remarks he made about paedophilia. Interestingly, it was a conservative organization that brought these comments to light, leading to his book being cancelled and his donors pulling their support for him. So in his case, being given a platform did lead to his downfall, a fall which only happened due to him reaching a peak helped by his continually being de-platformed on a massive.

In the case of Ben Shapiro, the lesson here is never, ever go into an interview with Andrew Neil unprepared. I must say, it's quite reassuring to discover that Mr Neil is a far-leftie, because up until last week I was assured he was a Tory, right-wing nutjob by the OJ-ites, rather than just the best damn forensic interviewer in the business. It's made Ben Shapiro look incredibly stupid - he had been given a platform to reach millions of people who had never heard of him before, and he blew it right out the gate.

Compare and contrast with Cathy Newman's trainwreck of an interview with Jordan Peterson. Like above, it was Peterson's first opportunity to reach a UK-wide audience, and as a result of his more measured answers to the interviewer's questions, as well as Newman's inability to actually interrogate what he is actually about, it boosted his profile immeasurably, his book became a bestseller on this side of the Atlantic, and he's been a regular on the BBC ever since.

In terms of who should have a platform - I draw the line at paedophile apologists and actual Nazis and their equivalents, but I'm more or less happy for everyone else to have a platform, as long as there is an opportunity to challenge your platform, either directly or indirectly.
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Iz O'Malley
post May 11 2019, 11:18 AM
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I must admit I prefer stuffing threads full of content than spacing them out. The commonality is that all these people are polemicists, who find themselves an audience, which then often becomes unreasonably devoted to their figurehead even when they use obvious devious rhetoric tactics to push their agenda. As you say, they like to believe they're railing against the establishment. Were I to choose to deplatform them, it would in part be in an attempt to break the spell that they seem to cast over their audience. In some cases it's tribalism up to a cult of personality and it worries me greatly.

Excellent response there though, that does broadly help clear out my thoughts on these issues. I wasn't aware of the Jordan Peterson interview, that is an excellent counterpoint to the Shapiro interview, the exact opposite result. Few people, for Britain anyway, will be taking Shapiro's book seriously now.

See, although incidents like that Shapiro interview happen, far too often the polemicists will stay in their own bubble, where they are not materially challenged, where they can continue keeping their audience in a feedback loop and essentially radicalising them against other ideas. And that I just don't believe is healthy.
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post May 11 2019, 11:51 AM
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Deny, deny, deny.

Giving a platform legitimizes them as an authority, especially to older viewers or attendees. Authority requires and deserves followers, also, by ethic of moral righteousness must have a point or reasoning otherwise (yes, its a logical fallacy, but a common one) why would they be in that position in the first place? So it positions them and their views as having some value and shifts the Overton window.
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Suedehead2
post May 11 2019, 01:10 PM
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We can go back to Nick Griffin's appearance on Question Time in the days when the programme was a current affairs show rather than an attempt at entertainment. The then BNP leader was invited on to the programme at a time when his party was starting to win council seats. Naturally, many people thought he shouldn't be given a platform. In the event, his performance was so bad that he destroyed his party.
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Iz O'Malley
post May 12 2019, 03:43 AM
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The thing is when we go to talk about people like Griffin the contrast is those who are skilled enough to feed and thrive off being controversial in the limelight, I bet you can name two prominent politicians, one American, one British, who use this strategy very successfully. Giving them a platform in those cases only raises their profile. You can hope for meltdowns but at this point both Trump and Farage have a robust enough base that it makes absolutely zero difference.

Had there been no platform for either, had the media not fed off their headline-grabbing populism, our politics would be very different. Because people lack the critical thinking skills to refute their ridiculous ideas, they and went along with them. And the bases of those two operate very similar to those of these more extreme people, they rally around this figure, defend them at every turn and end up with a very skewed world view. I do partially blame the internet making it so easy to get into a feedback loop, but that could be a whole other topic.

Some of these people are more extreme than Trump or Farage but make no mistake, their success is encouraging people like this and the mediaís making the same mistake. Iím sure Carl Benjamin thinks of himself as the British Trump. Thankfully heís attached himself to a party currently going down in flames.
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post May 12 2019, 05:01 AM
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I believe in freedom of speech for everyone, including extremists, as they then can expose themselves for the idiots they are.
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post May 12 2019, 12:31 PM
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Unless we're talking about actual extremists on the fascist-right etc, De-platforming is a very dangerous path to go down and one that stifles debate more often than not. If we're so sure we abhor these views, why would we be so scared to hear them? In regards to people like Tommy Robinson, I agree with Brett that it gives them a chance to play the victim and will only advance their cause :') Some people are de-platformed for things that are...pretty trivial as well.

This post has been edited by Andrew.: May 12 2019, 12:33 PM
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Suedehead2
post May 12 2019, 12:55 PM
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QUOTE(Andrew. @ May 12 2019, 01:31 PM) *
Unless we're talking about actual extremists on the fascist-right etc, De-platforming is a very dangerous path to go down and one that stifles debate more often than not. If we're so sure we abhor these views, why would we be so scared to hear them? In regards to people like Tommy Robinson, I agree with Brett that it gives them a chance to play the victim and will only advance their cause :') Some people are de-platformed for things that are...pretty trivial as well.

While other extremists play the victim when they are given airtime. As an example, I cite Farage throwing his toys out of the pram when Andrew Marr dared to ask some slightly awkward questions about some of his past statements. Farage clearly forgot to make sure that the usual "no difficult questions" clause was included in the agreement for today's interview.
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post May 12 2019, 12:58 PM
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QUOTE(Suedehead2 @ May 12 2019, 01:55 PM) *
While other extremists play the victim when they are given airtime. As an example, I cite Farage throwing his toys out of the pram when Andrew Marr dared to ask some slightly awkward questions about some of his past statements. Farage clearly forgot to make sure that the usual "no difficult questions" clause was included in the agreement for today's interview.

Exactly, and like the example of Nick Griffin you posted earlier, it's surprising how many people didn't know just HOW extreme he was until his appearance on Question Time. If he'd been de-platformed, perhaps the BNP would've done better in the general election 2010/continued to gain support.


This post has been edited by Andrew.: May 12 2019, 12:58 PM
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Popchartfreak
post May 12 2019, 01:45 PM
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Freedom of speech is essential PROVIDING journalists do their job and thoroughly expose lies hatred and hypocrisy. If they fail to do that then all it is, is propaganda opportunities.
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Harve
post May 12 2019, 04:10 PM
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Very good thread but some disappointing takes in here guys.

QUOTE(Iz~ @ May 11 2019, 11:09 AM) *
The other side of the story is from an excellent BBC interview from Andrew Neil yesterday, interviewing Ben Shapiro. Youtube video here. It's 16 minutes long but well worth a watch if you haven't seen it, it's a classic of great interviewing from Neil and horrendous performance from Shapiro not understanding the BBC's interviewing tactics and turning hostile, calling Andrew Neil left-wing of all things. Excellent lines in there. Essentially, this interview is giving Shapiro a platform to a country where he hasn't had much reach before, and through his stupidity, utterly screwing it up, ensuring that no one will take his rhetoric seriously. So is there value in giving people platforms like this for them to implode upon? Note I wouldn't call for Shapiro to be deplatformed, he is completely disagreeable politically but I'm not aware of anything immoral he has done, but this interview is a great recent example of 'hoist by ones own petard'.

I'm not sure.

No-one? The Shapiro interview earlier this weekend, as well as the Farage interview, look like terrible performances from the point of views of those that already dislike them. For those that already agree with them, they just reinforce their pre-existent views: that mainstream media are biased against their opinions, that you can't talk about X or Y without being called racist etc., that no-one can talk about the thing that makes them really angry (Brexit) without bringing up unbecoming stuff (various racist propos) that they either actively support, are indifferent about or are more than happy to overlook because they consider it irrelevant. Faragism is all about having a siege mentality and the Marr interview gives him exactly what he wants. People are angry with 'the establishment' and they want to see a politician be angry against it with them. Both sides walked away claiming victory, with the polemicist getting exposure to undecided/unengaged voters and legitimised by a prominent platform and a new precedent/microshift in the Overton window.

Also Nick Griffin's famous Question Time appearance absolutely didn't destroy them. I have no idea where this myth came from. It massively mobilised his own (limited) base and 22% of voters then responded that they were considering voting for the BNP. A few weeks later they gained their first (and only) two MEPs. The following year they had their most successful ever General Election ever, beating their previous record by nearly 3x. The BNP only died because of the party infighting and UKIP swallowing them 2011-2013.
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Popchartfreak
post May 12 2019, 04:27 PM
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I agree. Marr sat there like a dummy while farage blathered on about bbc bias. It will boost his appeal. It needs a stern paxman whi can annihilste lying fraudsters, and clips of them lying followed by aggressive insistance hes a lying twat is the only way to show him up, cos his followers basically dont give a shit what he says. I live with them and watch them. You have to have cast iron proof reminders on video then follow it with him lying and contradicting himself. They have short blinkered memories and anything you say just grts fismissed as remoaner based sour grapes, people need to be SHOWN howbadhe is. Everything else short of that is just pr. The last 5 or 10 years should show how piss easy it is to manipulate the masses with bs and history is an ongoing lesson that people fall for it every time.

Snake oil salesman should neverbe underestimated and freedom and democracy have tobe fought for forever more. There is never going to be utopia. Never. So thete will always be farages ready to foster bitterness and blame and lies.
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post May 12 2019, 04:29 PM
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QUOTE(Harve @ May 12 2019, 05:10 PM) *
Very good thread but some disappointing takes in here guys.
No-one? The Shapiro interview earlier this weekend, as well as the Farage interview, look like terrible performances from the point of views of those that already dislike them. For those that already agree with them, they just reinforce their pre-existent views: that mainstream media are biased against their opinions, that you can't talk about X or Y without being called racist etc., that no-one can talk about the thing that makes them really angry (Brexit) without bringing up unbecoming stuff (various racist propos) that they either actively support, are indifferent about or are more than happy to overlook because they consider it irrelevant. Faragism is all about having a siege mentality and the Marr interview gives him exactly what he wants. People are angry with 'the establishment' and they want to see a politician be angry against it with them. Both sides walked away claiming victory, with the polemicist getting exposure to undecided/unengaged voters and legitimised by a prominent platform and a new precedent/microshift in the Overton window.

Also Nick Griffin's famous Question Time appearance absolutely didn't destroy them. I have no idea where this myth came from. It massively mobilised his own (limited) base and 22% of voters then responded that they were considering voting for the BNP. A few weeks later they gained their first (and only) two MEPs. The following year they had their most successful ever General Election ever, beating their previous record by nearly 3x. The BNP only died because of the party infighting and UKIP swallowing them 2011-2013.

No actually, Iím not sure where that came from as they gained their MEPs almost six months prior to the appearance in question time. Their support rose from 2% to 3% (the 22% consideration was for future Euro elections). The 2010 general election was their most successful, but that was more due to their number of candidates rather than any big rise in support. They got 1.9% of the vote and iirc Griffinís vote fell where he stood.
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Harve
post May 12 2019, 05:26 PM
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QUOTE(Andrew. @ May 12 2019, 05:29 PM) *
No actually, Iím not sure where that came from as they gained their MEPs almost six months prior to the appearance in question time. Their support rose from 2% to 3% (the 22% consideration was for future Euro elections). The 2010 general election was their most successful, but that was more due to their number of candidates rather than any big rise in support. They got 1.9% of the vote and iirc Griffinís vote fell where he stood.

Oops, yes I got my wires crossed in a number of areas - I thought it was in the run-up to the Euros for some reason, and I didn't realise that they didn't stand in many places in 2005. Pleased to learn that Griffin's vote share went down slightly! But overall they still managed to increase the number of votes per seat in those that they contested. There's no way you can argue that his QT appearance destroyed the party or shut Griffin down.

I think his views expressed were so extreme that the exposure did effectively hasten the finding of a ceiling on the vote that a party like the BNP could get. It also did some work in solidifying the hostility of the majority (thank fuck it was a solid majority) that indeed disagree with his views. I still maintain that watching him get destroyed might've been fun and satisfying for us but it didn't do the BNP any harm amongst their own supporters/would-be supporters.

We live in a country where a third of voters think that there are parts of cities that non-Muslims aren't allowed to enter and a plurality support bringing back the death penalty. Similarly we've already long passed the stage where 'unelected Brussels bureaucrats that hate Britain' has gone from being some sort of crank conspiracy theory to a central tenet of a broader worldview that wouldn't even make us, as liberal-inclined Remain voters, blink if we heard your average Leave campaigner come out with it. It's all a bit dangerous.


This post has been edited by Harve: May 12 2019, 05:32 PM
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post May 12 2019, 05:39 PM
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The Question Time appearance provided a small short-term boost to the popularity of the BNP though this was likely to have also been somewhat helped by the recession we were also going through at the time but the appearance will have spiked interest. Ultimately, long-term their support has collapsed however I'd agree with Harve that other reasons, such as the rise of UKIP, may have played a much more significant role there.

I think there are huge risks to both, Farage for example is very good at being able to speak clearly and directly to his audience on every occasion and therefore platforming him will only amplify his message and help him grow support. Honesty and integrity don't matter anymore, after all, as Donald Trump has said, “I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn't lose any voters”. Equally No-Platforming someone because of their views will often create its own controversy and media coverage which itself will lead to unintended consequences such as an even wider platform for the message you dislike and with the added sting of the victim card being allowed to be played.

I think that even though I may strongly disagree with someone's views or opinions, I would much prefer them to be allowed to speak than be censored or attacked in any way. The job is for us to argue against rather than stick our fingers in our ears and say ‘You are wrong, you are wrong, la la la’.

I do worry about all of this though, the drive for click-bait and its associated revenue means that more extreme (and somewhat exaggerated) opinions and views are shared, more violent language is used- people are not challenged but DESTROYED in debates. We are becoming more and more polarised as people, and as the Brexit debate has shown, people on extremes of both sides of the debate have become so entrenched as to become immovable. The word compromise, and I'm talking to Remainers just as much as Brexiteers, just doesn't exist in their vocabulary.
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Popchartfreak
post May 12 2019, 07:22 PM
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Except that the vast majority of remainers would acept a norway option a canada plus option another referendum on any version or any option that didnt come under Hard Brexit.

Brexiteers have shifted their position to a hardened NoDeal only position because they are incapable of compromise - even to save the uk from breaking up or the economy from crashing or killing their own party. Andvery much dont want another referendum which effectively will kill their opportunity to lie and make impossible promises.
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