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Monday, 13 May 2019 (Only #Current Affairs)

Tucker Carlson interviewed a Dutch historian Rutger Bregman who had just made himself unpopular at Davos. He then went on to make himself unpopular with Carlson, and with Fox who did not air the interview. Fox/Carlson have since had to do some back-peddling after Bregman published the recording he'd made of the interview.

One commentator described Carlson as ""a hollow mouthpiece with no true values". Harsh, but fair?

Sunday, 12 May 2019 (Only #Current Affairs)

Andrew Neil is a consummately professional journalist. Shapiro's lack of preparation for this interview included not boning up on who he would be dealing with.

There's also a fundamental misunderstanding by Shapiro about how journalism in the USA works compared with how it works in the UK. Andrew Neil, in his questions, takes an opposite viewpoint and challenges his subject on a topic. It does not mean he holds the polar opposite views; it's just an adversarial style of questioning, designed to get to the heart of the matter. On American television, it seems you are expected to assume the interviewer holds the position from which their questions come. He even explained his method to Shapiro when the poor Schlep seemed to misunderstand and take offence.

But even considering that stylistic difference in approach, it does not mean you should flounce off when things do not go your way.

Shapiro missed an opportunity here and buried himself. Perhaps he expected a friendly interview and was curve-balled when he found all was not "on side".

Tuesday, 4 Dec 2018 (Only #Current Affairs)

Monday, 21 Aug 2017 (Only #Current Affairs)

It's been a couple of weeks, but the story of the Neo-Nazi related violence at Charlottesville, USA, still seems important to me. Trump has shown his unsuitability for the job of POTUS again. If you needed a recap and some help in clarifying your thoughts on the matter, these outspoken, albeit comedic, commentators might help.

Here is John Oliver delivering a refreshingly concise critique of Donald Trump's response to the event.

Here's Seth Meyers offering his take. Some valid points here.

Google was known to have the injunction, "Don't be evil!" as its motto. My wry reflexion on that at the time was that a company that feels it has to explicitly tell its employees that they should not act in an evil manner, and to broadcast the fact to the world, has rather missed the point and probably the game is lost. Oh, but that was just me being cynical, right...?

Google have caved in to a PR and ideology driven ethos and fired a software engineer James Damore for his memo on diversity. The Twitter storm and online backlash of hate appears to have been a study in Straw Man engineering. It seems that many people have felt entitled to thrash out with hate towards this young man and his scientifically sound paper, without actually having read his work or knowing what it really says. Without reading the original paper, they cannot know what it says, because the media outlets and commentators who have reported on it and offered their critiques have cited it incorrectly and misleadingly.

It seems plausible that some of these second-hand sources did this intentionally rather than through honest mistake, and then stirred up outrage amongst their readership who assumed lazily that they had done the necessary research for them.

It was suspicious how difficult it was to find any citings to back up the criticisms of Damore's paper, or indeed the original source. When I found the original paper, my suspicions were confirmed. What we find is a thoughtful analysis of Google's diversity policies, informed by thoroughly uncontroversial scientific research.

I wonder if Google top brass actually read the contents of Danore's memo before they fired him for "perpetuating gender stereotypes". If they did not, then they are lazy cowards; if they did, then they are duplicitous bigots.

All this frankly sickens me. It's hard to detach one's life from Google and the services it offers, but I am going to try.

This story needs to be spread as far and wide as possible. Google should not be allowed to get away with this ideologically-driven thought policing without the world knowing and understanding. I do wonder if the company has shot itself in the foot or if it is so powerful and ubiquitous that it will be able to style it out and push this scandal under the carpet. Time will tell.

There follow some YouTube links to interviews with Damore, which provide some informed insight into what really happened.