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Crikey Says

Dec 8, 2015

In defence of offence

The media is now so fractured and curated that plenty of people now expect to agree with everything they read, to experience the news and current affairs in an echo chamber where their

The media is now so fractured and curated that plenty of people now expect to agree with everything they read, to experience the news and current affairs in an echo chamber where their own views are repeated back to them, thus confirming their own biases.

Twitter is in meltdown today about an article in New Matilda that criticises prominent feminist Clementine Ford, and suggests that the feminist message of equality, when delivered in an aggressive way, is not being heard by those who need to hear it.

Many among the Twitterati disagree and are expressing their displeasure with the article on the social media site. But it’s what they are doing next that gets our goat: they are demanding New Matilda pull the piece and apologise. They are offended by the sentiment, and therefore the website should never have published it.

This represents a fundamental misunderstanding of the role of media — and especially of the role of independent media.

It is the sign of a mature mind to accept that reasonable, intelligent people think differently about things than you do, and that their conclusions, while different from yours, do not come from a place of idiocy or malice. If our opinions are never challenged by contrary positions, how do we know that our views are really ours, and not just what we have read a thousand times?

We think thoughtful news consumers should be mature enough to be able to handle views they themselves do not hold — and even, gasp!, opinions that offend them. And we think it’s the role of independent media to challenge readers to do this.

That’s what we love about Crikey readers: for the most part, you don’t shy away from strong debate, and you don’t subscribe to Crikey only to read worldviews that exactly line up with your own.

So here’s to offence, keeping an open mind and refusing to follow the crowd.

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11 comments

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11 thoughts on “In defence of offence

  1. klewso

    The twitterati are carrying on like the paid/professional shock-jocks in our media (from viewspapers, radio and TV)?
    As for “mature minds” – on the intolerant organic fertiliser the greater public has been fed by that opinionated media editing our diet of reality?

  2. areaman

    I can’t speak for the “twitterati” my issue is why the piece was commissioned in the first place. Do we need more men getting paid to talk about feminism?

    So far there have been zero rape or murder threats against the author, or comments on his appearance or fuckability, which just goes to show how different his experience online is to these women whos tone he is trying to police.

  3. Phen

    Unfortunately there’s plenty of this sentiment btl on Crikey too. Any article that goes significantly against the grain will likely receive the odd “This article makes me want to cancel my subscription” or “Since when did Crikey become News-Corpse?” type statement.

  4. David Hand

    “So here’s to offence, keeping an open mind and refusing to follow the crowd”

    I’m so pleased to see Crikey lining up to repeal the “offense” section in 18C od the Racial Discrimination Act

  5. paddy

    Believe me Crikey, if you published a piece of mansplaining crap like that article on New Matilda, I’d be happy to call you out on it.
    BTW
    I see on twitter, that NM is now writing an “explainer” as to why they published it.
    I await their reasoning with interest.
    My first impression was that it looked suspiciously like outrage clickbait.

  6. Ben.

    Paddy: Would you demand they retract it though? Would you spend more of your day trying to complain and shame someone who agrees on principles but not on methods rather than spend the day doing anything productive towards your cause?

    ” My first impression was that it looked suspiciously like outrage clickbait.”

    Because you couldn’t believe a lefty wouldn’t be in 100% agreement with every other leftie?

  7. StefanL

    Wow, I can’t believe I am reading this article on Crikey – a bastion of leftie groupthink.

    But I will take you at your word and quote this article whenever I am about to post something that could offend some of the delicate flowers on this site.

  8. CML

    The only time I want to cancel my subscription is when I read an article in Crikey which is either factually incorrect…or when opinion is given which is simply not based on the truth.
    IMHO neither of these instances is acceptable, no matter what the subject matter.
    As a female, I can say that I was a ‘feminist’ in the early 1950’s (and have remained so)…long before it became fashionable. Haven’t read the article under discussion, but some of these ‘delicate flowers’ today need to understand the concept a whole lot better!
    What men write, say or do about feminism is irrelevant. Don’t get me wrong, I love men…but most of them spend their lives telling anyone who will listen that they will never understand women. So what does it matter what men say…don’t read this stuff if it ‘offends’ you…Simple!!

  9. AR

    I scarcely managed to wade through the NM – could someone please explain wtf is the deal with Clementine?
    Speaking of clickbait, could this be Crikey’s first, deliberate or not?