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Has the New York Times suddenly reformed?
Plus, an insight that we use when reading their newspaper
The New York Times is the flagship publication of the regime media. As such, they’re a leading operator of the Conflict Machine.
The Conflict Machine is a visual, even visceral description of our national management practices. Politics is such a tepid term. And instead of aiming for truth or happiness, Machine operators create and act out a simple and often entertaining two-sided narrative. The two most common stories they tell are good vs. evil and Republicans vs. Democrats.
Therefore, you should be aware of two things when you read an article from the regime media…
The Permanent Political Class is highly incentivized to trap people inside the Conflict Machine. The conflict is clickbait and yields ratings for the regime media, while it also divides and conquers voters for the benefit of incumbent politicians and parties. Therefore…
The conflict is more important than the solution. Indeed, the solution might not even be mentioned because it interferes with the drama.
Breaking News: Debate Backfires
So it’s with great surprise that we find that The New York Times suddenly wants to pause the debate. In an email newsletter to Times subscribers (5/20/21), Stuart A. Thompson, writes…
“Debate is a lousy way to change someone’s mind,” said Karin Tamerius, a former psychiatrist who helped develop the tool. “It’s fine for persuading impartial observers who have nothing at stake — like judges and juries — but for those with preconceptions, evidence-based arguments feel like personal attacks and lead to defensiveness.”
It turns out that our instincts for how to convince others are often wrong. We approach disagreements like contests, using our best arguments to bat away misinformation and half-truths from interlocutors we treat as enemies. But you’ve probably noticed these approaches — whether they’re used around the dinner table or in the workplace — don’t really work.
We wonder… If contest and debate are such terribly ineffective ways to change someone’s mind, what cause does The New York Times have to exist? How will they sell subscriptions or get clicks for their online articles?
This anti-conflict preamble comes in a piece on how to change the mind of someone who does not want a COVID-19 vaccine. And the advice is sound. It turns out that telling a human being they’re wrong provokes the part of our brain responsible for “fight or flight,” actually suppressing our ability to reason. The Oatmeal has an entertaining comic depiction of this mental process called The Backfire Effect.
Still, you would think that a newspaper that is so frequently accused of being a part of the “liberal media” would, by now, recognize how debate backfires.
It’s likely that they actually do realize that! So what? Remember, they’re selling newspapers; they crave clicks and subscriptions. They also need members of the Permanent Political Class to sit for interviews, provide quotes for their stories, and even give them juicy gossip that they call “deep background.” So, they’ll keep creating conflicts.
While the Times has stumbled across the Backfire Effect for a day, you can go further.
In fact, we’ll give you an insight we routinely use to analyze articles in The New York Times and other regime media publications.
Persuasion vs. Coercion
Here’s a valuable insight: There are essentially two ways to solve a social problem such as poverty, illiteracy, or public safety.
The coercive scheme — you pass a law requiring compliance.
The persuasive method — you appeal to the interest and values of others, hoping to sell your idea to them, voluntarily.
The New York Times covers dozens of stories every day wherein they accept coercive schemes as both normal and moral.
But in your normal, day-to-day affairs — at work, at home, or in the community — you use the persuasive method. Is it normal to force others to do what you prefer?
In addition, are coercive schemes moral? When someone you love doesn’t follow an arbitrary policy of the State, no matter how mundane, they can expect violence to come their way.
A prime motivation for the Backfire Effect is coercion. That is, people recognize both the interruption of their happiness and the threat behind a law. They react negatively, and the Principle of Human Respect explains why.
Human happiness, harmony, and prosperity decrease as persons experience violence or theft initiated against them.
That Principle shows us that a cause-and-effect relationship exists. When people recognize that some ideas are hostile to their values or goals, they want to resist.
We’d have far greater social peace if our society practiced a Philosophy of Human Respect. We can stop participating in the Conflict Machine and leave coercion behind. We can appeal persuasively to the interests of other human beings, instead.
Indeed, here at The Exit Network, we imagine a future where the Conflict Machine approach no longer sells because everyone is out practicing Human Respect.
Jim Babka is the Host of The Exit Network. Joanna Blaine edited this piece. Our website is coming soon!