CultureWatch

Bill Muehlenberg's commentary on issues of the day...

How the Other Side “Argues”

Feb 4, 2010

In any important debate, what is supposed to happen is each side presents its best arguments, offers the relevant data and facts to back up those arguments, and submits its case to the court of public opinion, hoping that the best man – or best argument – will win. That, at least, is how it is supposed to work.

But with many important hot potato social debates of the day, that is exactly how things do not operate – at least for those on one side of the debate. Take any contentious social issue, whether same-sex marriage, abortion, the existence of God, or climate change, and there seems to be a consistent pattern from those of the secular left: instead of actually debating the issue, they instead prefer to attack their opponents, resort to character assassination, and simply throw mud. Not always, but often enough to make one wonder whether these folks actually have any decent arguments at all.

The nasty and vicious ways the other side tends to operate in these debates is as alarming as it is predictable. But it is not just those on the other side: there is also the absolutely shameful way in which the mainstream media so often aids and abets these guys.

Indeed, I have written before – and documented before – how the MSM can so easily skew the news, create the news, censor the news, and prejudice the news. On most controversial issues of the day, it will simply feature those who share its own left-of centre and secular views. If and when a competing voice is heard, it is simply a token conservative voice which is then mercilessly attacked.

A common tactic here – and I should know, because I have personally been involved in this dozens of times – is for a “debate” to take place in which a sole conservative voice is pitted against two, three or four opposing voices. And almost always the “moderator” is on the other side as well. Thus the MSM considers a ‘fair debate’ to be a sole conservative pitted against four or five lefty-trendies.

Consider the most recent, most blatant, and most despicable example of this. I refer to how the mainstream media has been treating the visiting English climate sceptic Lord Christopher Monckton. Just tune in to any ABC, SBS or similar media outlet, and invariably Monckton is pitted against a number of hostile critics.

Monckton himself is given only seconds of air time, while his many attackers are given all sorts of time to abuse and vilify him. And abuse and vilification is exactly what he has been getting. Instead of dealing with his actual arguments and the mountains of evidence he provides, they simply attack his person and cast aspersions on his character. I have lost count of the number of times has he been called “controversial,” “eccentric,” “extreme” and the like.

Of course a favourite term of abuse is to call him, not a climate change sceptic, but a climate change denier. By referring to him (and others like him) as ‘denialists’, these folk are deliberately using smear tactics by trying to put such sceptics in the same camp as those who deny the holocaust. It is a cheap and dirty trick.

And while they are busy engaging in character assassinations, they are also even resorting to attacks on the way he looks. Lord Monckton of course has bulging eyes, and he has been mercilessly ridiculed and derided because of this. Never mind, as others have noted, that this is actually the result of an illness he has been battling for decades now: Graves disease.

There are plenty of examples of this junk journalism to choose from here. Consider an article in today’s Age. You don’t have to wait long. Indeed, the nasty attacks come immediately, both in the headline and the photo of Monckton directly below it.

The headline reads as follows: “‘Mad Monk’ meets Monckton”. Well there you go: in addition to attacking Monckton, they manage to abuse Tony Abbott before the article even gets started. And look to the link I provide below to the Age piece. What do you find by way of a photo? A head and shoulder shot of Monckton? A picture of him lecturing with one of his many scientific slides behind him? No, you simply have a close-up shot – you guessed it – of only his two eyes.

Talk about gutter journalism. Talk about a bunch of wretched miscreants who can only poke fun at the man’s looks instead of addressing his arguments. Indeed, simply look at any of the dozens of articles that have appeared in the MSM this past week. Hardly any deal with Monckton’s actual presentation. None of the numerous facts he mentions are given attention; none of his stats are mentioned; none of his scientific arguments are dealt with.

All these articles do for the most part is to attack Monckton, poke fun at him, mock him, seek to discredit him, and vilify him. They attack the messenger, in other words, and completely ignore the message. That sure beats offering an intelligent argument. That sure beats dealing with the facts and the data. Just throw lots of mud and forget the facts altogether.

Now consider some other visiting international speaker on the topic of climate change, such as Al Gore. Because he gives the PC line on this, the media swoons over him like a rock star or visiting deity. They will provide him with countless free hours of air time, promote his views at every turn, and refuse to ever ask him any difficult or penetrating questions.

He will be treated with kid gloves, and genuine critics of his – and their arguments – will nowhere be found. And if any journalist dared to resort to gutter tactics – like attacking his looks or smearing his name without addressing his arguments – he or she would be decried and censured. They would be reported to the Press Council and probably fired from their job.

Yet when the visiting lecturer is someone like Monckton, then any dirty trick, cheap shot, or ethically irresponsible tactic is allowed – even encouraged. That is the sort of media we today have to deal with. Fortunately I am not alone in such concerns. See for example Andrew Bolt’s take on this as well (link below).

So be forewarned. If you plan to enter into the public arena, arguing the conservative case for any number of contentious issues, watch out. Your opponents will do little to address your arguments, but do plenty to attack your person. They will talk much of tolerance and openness, all the while intolerantly shouting you down and seeking to silence you.

And the MSM will be up to its ears in helping the forces of PC to keep your voice from being heard. And if it is heard, it will mainly be allowed in order to attack you, discredit you, and insult you. No wonder so many people simply stay out of these hard-core debates. The abuse and vicious assaults can certainly take their toll. I know that very well from personal experience. So does Lord Monckton.

But the reassuring thing is this: we have at our disposal a weapon the other side seldom uses: truth. And in the end truth will always prevail. No matter how ugly the attacks become, no matter how hard the other side tries to drag your name in the mud and refuse to deal with your arguments, in the end, the truth will prevail. That we must count on.

www.theage.com.au/environment/mad-monk-meets-monckton-20100203-ndl9.html
www.heraldsun.com.au/opinion/mud-slinging-is-so-typical-of-the-approach-of-warm-mongers/story-e6frfhqf-1225826096726

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35 Responses to How the Other Side “Argues”

  • Lord Monckton is a GODsend. His audience sizes prove his popularity. Yes, I had seen the article in The Australian last weekend with emphasis on his eyes. Cheap work on their behalf. Their readership will judge them for these low stunts.

    Bill, keep up the absolutely amazing work you do. Your website is one of the best!!

    Jane Petridge

  • Many thanks Jane.
    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Bill, a famous poster:

    “Pray Without Ceasing –
    Prayer Changes Things”

    John Angelico

  • I agree with Lord Monckton however, he does make me laugh with those Marty Feldman eyes of his.
    Michael Webb

  • I’ll bet the journalist or sub-editor who dreamt up that headline “Mad Monk meets Monckton”, to accompany the malicious photo of Lord Monckton’s eyes, will be hugging himself with glee.

    What infantile and delinquent behaviour this form of character assassination is.

    What hypocrisy of the commentariat to constantly hector and admonish us on the need for more “inclusiveness” and anti-vilification laws, when they are prepared to mock someone’s disability or physical appearance.

    I recommend that civilised Australians should boycott “Pravda on the Yarra” and instead look to more reliable sources of information, such as CultureWatch.

    John Ballantyne
    Melbourne.

  • Thanks John

    I might be biased, but I’d have to agree with you there.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Thanks David

    Yes it is an absolutely terrific video. Monckton is just devastating here, demolishing the Greenpeace activist’s arguments – and it is funny as all get out.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Bill, you speak the truth! You speak it with authority and without fear! God bless you! You have everything in common with Lord Monckton ; )

    Lynn Nerdal

  • Thanks Lynn

    It’s good to be placed in such esteemed company.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Dear Bill, thank you for the article. It is great as usual. Personally, I find it very hard to keep up my standards of politeness in the face of so much injustice. I get so angry but I keep telling myself these people are more to be pitied than blamed. After all it is their whole belief system which is crumbling about them so they lash out. This is what happens when you put your faith in false gods instead of the One True God. Lord Monckton is exposing their feet of clay and they don’t like it. He quoted Pontius Pilate’s words to Christ in Latin when he was on ABC last evening. He said that he believed he had been born to testify to the truth on climate change. The journalist looked bewildered and was silenced just as Pilate had been. He said it with humility and sincerity because as an English aristocrat he oozes noblesse oblige – the obligation of the aristocracy to be honourable and generous especially towards the poor whom he knows have gone hungry because of this obsession with climate change. He will be worn out when all this is over but the Lord and our prayers will help him to stay strong because he is doing His work.
    Patricia Halligan

  • Hi Bill
    Another classic example of the type of ‘reporting’ we get in the MSM is to be found in Thursday’s edition of the Canberra Times. Under the front page banner headline of “Plenty of emissions from lord of sceptics in capital call for inaction” the paper’s Science and Environment Reporter, Rosslyn Beeby, started her report on Lord Monckton’s visit to the Press Club by commenting on the “predominantly greying” audience. This can only be a ‘sound-bite’ to paint a negative picture in the minds of the readers of us “mature aged” people – but at least we can still think – and do research which is something Ms Beeby seems unable to do.
    She picks on some of the more colourful remarks made by Lord Monckton (quoting the one about AID’s sufferers incorrectly), and then gives a passionate defense of Al Gore before claiming “Several scientific references quoted by Lord Monckton to support his claims that climate change is a giant global scam, also appeared to fail the Google Research test.”
    She then lists three specific claims.
    The first was a reference to the 2005 “Johannessen et al” paper that claims the Greenland icecap has increased in depth for the past 11 years. Despite Ms Beeby being the scientific reporter, her Google skills appear to be somewhat deficient because she failed to find the article in question citing instead a 1999 paper which, not surprisingly, suggested a shrinking of ice and another paper from 2 years ago which didn’t talk of whether it was increasing or decreasing. She then snidely added “Perhaps there is another, lesser known Johannessen.” My Google search produced the 2005 paper as the first item – and it confirmed exactly what Lord Monckton had said!
    She then talked of an “anonymous2007 study by the University of Illinois” regarding ice cover in the Antarctic. In reality, the University of Illinois is far from “anonymous” and does in fact provide raw data information on the extent of the ice at both poles for the past 30 years and anyone can download this information (as I have) and see it changing day by day over those 30 years (much accelerated of course!).
    Her third and final point was “As for the loss of polar bear habitat, that was another of Al Gore’s lies.” In reality, Lord Monckton only talked about the increase in polar bear population – not their loss of habitat!
    Lord Monckton told the audience “Do not believe anything I say” stating instead that we should check the facts for ourselves. Ms Beeby inferred it was her investigative prowess that uncovered all these “errors” – that were in fact correct!
    The sad thing is that the readers of the Canberra Times will believe her report and thus dismiss what Lord Monckton has been saying.
    When the MSM effectively censors information on Climategate and then distorts so blatantly what someone says, it is very clear how these lies continue to spread and how this scam has been allowed to get so far.
    All of this is without even looking at the leaked emails! For anyone with 4-5 hours to spare, I recommend going to http://assassinationscience.com/climategate where a physicist with a PhD analyses the content of all the emails. It’s long, but for anyone who wants to see just how so-called ‘scientists’ have pulled this global warming scam, it’s mandatory reading.
    Roger Birch

  • Thanks guys

    Two great ten-minute video clips of Monckton’s talk in Melbourne with key highlights can be viewed here:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=idTHcot8tLc
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZLrWZK1rP3g

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Ad hominem ad nauseum!
    Went to the Monckton rally last night in Adelaide. A brilliant, well organised event. From what I could see, the only element of our society that was noteably absent was the Fourth Estate. They must have been sitting home in the dark!

    Paul Russell

  • An excellent article and how true. The character assassination of those who dare to speak up against PC is quite horrific. And don’t we know it!
    Alison Marsh

  • Maybe we should approach the ministry of respect?
    Chris Dixon

  • Thanks Chris

    Yes great idea, except I somehow suspect they want only certain persons and ideas to be respected, not us and ours. I write up our new Minister for Respect here: https://billmuehlenberg.com/2010/02/04/gimme-a-little-respect/

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Another thought on how the other side “argues” is in relation to numbers.
    I attended the Lord Monckton session at the Press Club in Canberra and whereas I didn’t do a precise head count of the total numbers, there were 98 in the section where I was sitting which was one of 3 sections all of similar size and all full. So, my estimate was ‘about 300.’ I noticed the press reported the numbers as ‘over 200.’
    Now, whereas this is correct, it is certainly downplaying the true figures and creating a different image in the minds of the readers whereas we know that had it been a homosexual rally, it would most likely have been reported as ‘about 1,000’.
    However, if they’d used climate science statistical methodology to measure the attendance and modeled the numbers, especially if it was possible to correct any anomaly by removing the middle ages warming period, they might have even got the numbers as high as 3,000!
    Roger Birch

  • The malicious, self-serving, immoral, lying, arrogant, reckless and dangerous media will be held to account. For an accurate description of the media and of their fate read 2 Peter 2:1-3 and the verses following.

    “But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves. Many will follow their shameful ways and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. In their greed these teachers will exploit you with stories they have made up. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping. …”

    Tasman Walker

  • The Fourth Estate. Ha!
    “The notion that the Press is the fourth estate rests on the idea that the media’s function is to act as a guardian of the public interest and as a watchdog on the activities of government.”

    How far from the truth that is, on both accounts. Main stream media journalists spend much of their time covering up the very things that they should be reporting.

    Garth Penglase

  • A true article Bill. I had the pleasure of shaking Monckton’s hand and we had a small chat prior to his talk here in Adelaide. He has one incredible mind, and can can articulate his message better than anyone I’ve ever seen. The meeting started with the Lord’s Prayer, and one atheist at the end posed a question to Monckton (excuse me I do not remember it word for word, but I remember it for the most part) : “Lord Monckton, you emphasized in your speak that we should constantly verify things, and you were very scientific throughout. Why then did you start the meeting with such a belief and faith based event?”. Sadly, Lord Monckton answered by saying ultimately you can’t prove if there is or is not a God, and that religion and science are two separate bodies, addressing different questions. I think he is half right, but that was the only thing that wasn’t perfect throughout the event. That misrepresentation about what faith and belief for the Christian should look like. Credit to him, Lord Monckton has a lot of guts for doing what he does, and quite a fair amount of humour too. Bravo!
    Keith Jarrett

  • Oh, and the Adelaide event must have had more than 500 who attended.
    Keith Jarrett

  • Dear Kieth, As Lord Monckton would only have had a moment to answer the ‘atheist?’ that was all he could say. That no one can prove that God does or does not exist. This would be in the sense that He is not going to appear before anyone in the flesh just to prove He exists because He is a spirit. However, when the human heart and will is open to the existence of God He will reveal Himself because human beings were made for God.Some reject outright, [or say they do] this ‘intimate and vital bond of man to God’ [Catechism of the Catholic Church ch1] so God cannot make Himself known to them. He is not going to force Himself on them. They must come to Him in love and humility. Personally, I think there would be very few atheists on their death beds because humans love life too much to reject eternity. I once wrote a university essay on ‘Does God Exist?’ and up to that time I hadn’t questioned whether He did or not. I just took it for granted. However, after thinking long and hard about it and being a mature age student I decided I had been a believer for far too long to just give up my belief in His existence just because there was an argument to be made against His existence which couldn’t be proved either. It is all in the will and that is why God gave us one. He wanted us to be free to choose and love is in the will. After that I could better understand why young Catholics often lose their faith at uni especially if they had no support. I often wonder why people don’t believe. It must have something to do with pride. The idea of depending on a higher power makes them feel inferior I suppose and then there is the question of suffering but that is a discussion in itself. Hope my comments are useful.
    Patricia Halligan

  • Bill – You refer to biased reporting and defamation: have you seen this Spectator article on the global warming scam: http://www.spectator.co.uk/spectator/thisweek/5749853/the-global-warming-guerrillas.thtml
    It warms the heart.
    John Thomas, UK

  • Thanks guys

    Miranda Devine has a good piece today on this topic (and it even appears in the Age!): http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/society-and-culture/climate-alarmists-out-in-the-cold-20100205-nik5.html

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • “We don’t need a censorship of the press, we have a censorship by the press”

    -GK Chesterton in “Orthodoxy.”

    Louise Le Mottee

  • Bill, I 100% agree with all that you have said. But I am just astounded at how someone as intelligent as you, can implicitly say that people with a left wing bias are capable of such gutter journalism or such “arguments, or supporting abortion, gay marriage and all the rest of it.
    One would imagine, from reading this article (and many others of yours), that voting for left wing governments is a mortal sin and immediately makes you a person who can not be a true christian.
    But aside from your extremely obvious right wing bias, all you articles are really well written and I do thank God that I;m not alone in my thoughts about today’s world. Keep up the superb work!
    Daniel Amos

  • The third President of the USA Thomas Jefferson made a comment concerning the media of the day viz, newspapers which could apply to today’s general Shame Stream media, particularly TV. Jefferson said that “A man who never reads a newspaper is better informed than one who does.” Jefferson was of course using hyperbole to make a point. Some people might not know that Kerry O’Brien, not a particularly good interviewer in my opinion, once worked in a junior role In Gough Whitlam’s office. If he worked there, I would assume he thought Whitlam was a “great” politician. That would give some indication of O’Brien’s poor judgement. I stopped watching the 7.30 Report years ago. I noticed that O’Brien always had copius notes, from which he read when conducting an interview -quite amateurish. What would I know about interviewing you might ask? Well I spent over 33 years in commercial radio and conducted interviews all over the world with approximately 3,000 people. After all that time and experience, I can even tell if any particular interviewer has fed the proposed questions to a guest, whose views he supports, prior to the “mate” coming in for an interview. It’s quite easy when you know what to look for.
    Frank Bellet, Petrie Qld

  • Thanks Daniel

    I always find it a bit difficult to know what to do with a comment which praises me to the high heavens with one hand, but condemns me mercilessly with the other! Be that as it may, can I suggest you have not read me all that widely. I of course have never said anything close to “voting for left wing governments is a mortal sin and immediately makes you a person who can not be a true Christian”. Indeed, I have said time and time again that Christianity ultimately transcends all political and ideological positions. I have also carefully argued elsewhere that from my vantage point, many of the beliefs and policies of the right seem to more closely align with biblical concerns than those of the left. These are just a few of such articles:

    https://billmuehlenberg.com/2007/09/13/religion-and-the-political-spectrum/
    https://billmuehlenberg.com/2006/10/17/faith-and-politics-part-1/
    https://billmuehlenberg.com/2006/10/17/faith-and-politics-part-2/

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Bill

    Would you include the libertarian Right within your biblical framework? I wouldn’t. But many of your camp followers here at CultureWatch would; and that’s a big worry.

    Michael Webb

  • Bill, I agree, you can be a Christian and vote for the left. But would you not say that voting for a government that legalises abortion, call what God call evil good and promotes lifestyles that God calls sin is tantamount to walking in the counsel of the wicked or standing in the way of sinners or sitting in the seat of mockers? Should the church not proclaim this from its pulpits?
    Des Morris

  • Thanks Michael

    I have dealt with that issue elsewhere on this site, so I don’t really need to repeat myself here. See for example: https://billmuehlenberg.com/2006/06/01/christianity-and-partisan-politics/

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Thanks Des

    Yes I am basically with you. It tends to be the left side of politics which pushes so many of these ungodly agendas, be it abortion, homosexuality, or other radical and immoral agendas. But of course some politicians on the right can and do support such causes and policies as well at times, but not as much it seems.

    It seems to me that this is one drawback of the Australian political scene. Instead of being able to support an individual politician that you agree with, you are umore or less forced to vote for a whole party. There is much less freedom for individual politicians to go against their own party than there is, say, in the US. However, the Libs offer more freedom here in this regard than does Labor. The current Turnbull situation is a case in point. Labor allows very few issues to get a conscience vote on (mainly abortion) while there is more latitude with the Federal Coalition.

    That is why many Christians are supporting smaller Christian and/or conservative parties (CDP, DLP, FF, etc), or independent candidates.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Your article on how the Secular Left argues is spot on. Years ago I and a penfriend were posting on a Yahoo atheist discussion board. My penfriend suggested that there was a link between paedophilia and homosexuality. We were suddenly treated as unwelcome intruders and six posters abusively set upon us, including a very malicious homosexual threatening violence. The moderator sided with the six and expelled us both on the grounds that we were off topic. He did not even caution the pro-gay side for their unseemly behaviour, including a total failure to deal with the evidence. A month later I got back in under another name and found the moderator and a few others discussing homosexuality in a tame manner. A check of the archives showed similar discussions, safely uncontroversial.

    The moderator was an American Methodist minister who also had his own website portraying himself as a conventional family man, complete with photos. He had an atheist co-moderator whom he claimed to have consulted on the eviction issue. This was my first encounter on the Internet with a Christian who had plainly been corrupted by secular culture to the point of failure in integrity.

    I have since found that the allegation of a link between homosexuality and paedophilia really sets pro-gay types frothing at the mouth. They are never interested in the evidence.

    John Snowden

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