November 20, 2018

The Cure for Bad Opinions

“There’s a good reason on-air conversations have stricter boundaries than off-air conversations. People with major platforms— be they television shows, podcasts, or large readerships— have some responsibility not to infect the public discourse by promoting harmful ideas, intentionally or otherwise. Public discussions, then, are necessarily more cautious and less candid than those we share at the dinner table, bar, or barbecue.

That’s okay. But people still need to be able to talk. And they need to be able to be wrong without being canceled.

The surging popularity of podcasts is more than a matter of convenience. Monitored obsessively by media reporters and speech police, most conversations on TV and in print have become stilted and uninteresting. A slip-up that would be ironed out calmly in debate with friends can be career-threatening. So can perfectly reasonable opinions when clipped, disseminated, and misrepresented on social media. Podcast culture, re-popularized in recent years by hosts immune to the pressures of the speech police (think Joe Rogan), is much more open, filling a market demand for candid, thoughtful, and generally respectful discussion about controversial topics.”

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