Sunday, November 17, 2013

Arguing with an SMH Deputy Editor

Since I won't give Storify the Twitter permissions it wants, I've had to do this Tweet-by-Tweet.

I decided to argue climate change action with the Sydney Morning Herald's Deputy Editor, Ben Cubby, today. It became complicated, he says, so I've put the timeline together here, and offer it for others to decide whether I was obscure, circular, difficult, or even particularly trollish.

@niltiac Sydney #climateaction rally was good turnout given downpour, but I don't think it was as many as 10k as reported here

@bencubby @niltiac @cousincat sounds about right to me - surprised they got that many, given the national mood re carbon pricing. (emphasis added)

That's the bit I took issue with. From here, I will not highlight anything except usernames.

@R_Chirgwin .@bencubby I think you're assuming that the journalistic mood about carbon pricing is cognate with the national mood.

@bencubby so many moods, so little time.

@R_Chirgwin @bencubby Let's call it a national 30,000. They're misreading the national mood?

@bencubby @R_Chirgwin who can say?

@R_Chirgwin @bencubby So - is there a "national mood re carbon pricing" or not?

@bencubby @R_Chirgwin hard to say.

@R_Chirgwin @bencubby You said so: "given the national mood re carbon pricing" (verbatim). That's what I'm trying to grasp.

@bencubby @R_Chirgwin it's hard to pinpoint these things specifically. however, i think it's self-evident that people are less keen on these issues.

@R_Chirgwin @bencubby Which brings us back to the protesters. Is a good number on the street evidence for or against your assessment?

@bencubby @R_Chirgwin why so interested in this?

@R_Chirgwin @bencubby It fits a whole lot of my interests: politics, climate, editorial assumptions, argument! :-)

@bencubby @R_Chirgwin so what's your point?

@R_Chirgwin @bencubby You said there's a national mood about carbon pricing. I'd like you to back it, given that the protests offer a counter-argument.

@bencubby @R_Chirgwin federal election result? polls since the election? smaller number at #climateaction rallies this time? they're all indicators.

@R_Chirgwin @bencubby Let's focus on the rally numbers. You were surprised, a moment ago, at the size. Are they now a disappointment?

@bencubby @R_Chirgwin 60,000 seems about right, nationally. but hard to tell - i think most of them are numbers from getup

@R_Chirgwin @bencubby I didn't stipulate 60,000. But surely a successful protest movement suggests "national mood" isn't a monolith?

@bencubby @R_Chirgwin no one said it was monolithic. it has waxed and waned, and will probably continue doing that, id have thought.

@R_Chirgwin @bencubby If there isn't "a" national mood, why base your opinion of the protests on "the" national mood?

@bencubby @R_Chirgwin you've lost me

@R_Chirgwin @bencubby You made a statement citing "the national mood". I'm asking you if the protests count as counter-evidence that such a thing exists

@bencubby @R_Chirgwin can you be a bit clearer.

@R_Chirgwin @bencubby 1. Do you believe there is "a national mood" as you originally said? 2. Does not a significant protest challenge that belief?

@bencubby @R_Chirgwin 1. national mood ebbing on climate change action. 2. the size of protests etc do feed into national feed.

@R_Chirgwin @bencubby See? It wasn't hard. It will be interesting to see how the mood moves in the future.

@bencubby @R_Chirgwin you have a very circular way of talking.


OK. By now I will insert myself. I really don't think I'd been that circular or difficult. Hence my response.


@R_Chirgwin @bencubby >shrugs< I am as I am.

@bencubby @R_Chirgwin excellent. good for you.

@R_Chirgwin @bencubby The question was simple. Did you believe what you said, and would you back it on challenge? The complications were not mine.


Now, I don't think I was circular or difficult or trolling. But I'll leave it to others to tell me whether I'm wrong.


BigBob said...

You were right - he put a statement out there like it was an immutable truth.

When you asked him to justify it, he did just about everything else bar justifying it.

Then accused you of being circular.

As to the truth - well, the polls indicate that support for a carbon tax is low, however, support for carbon pricing is still very strong.

Dee said...

awesome you stayed so nice and on target. I am feeling too bruised by politics to fight or stay nice. sad times.