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Preposterous political posturing

By Don Aitkin - posted Friday, 31 July 2020


Why edit something challenging to our readers, or write something bold only to go through the numbing process of making it ideologically kosher, when we can assure ourselves of job security (and clicks) by publishing our 4000th op-ed arguing that Donald Trump is a unique danger to the country and the world? And so self-censorship has become the norm.

When I lived in the US the NYT was my Saturday reading, and it was huge, about three inches or more thick. I trusted it. I don't any more, for the reasons that Bari Weiss gives, and she has had to put up with a lot of hate email and similar abuse from the paper's staff.

Where is this leading to? I don't think we are in the same situation as the US, partly because we don't have a presidential system or a political leader as divisive as Donald Trump has become. Nonetheless, we tend to follow the US in matters of style, if not of substance, and I can see examples of this precious political correctness in our society right now. There are many other examples I could give, and some readers may have their own pet hates too.

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It's easy enough to say, oh well, they'll find something else to talk about soon enough. In my view, you need to stamp on this pernicious stuff when you encounter it. The slogan on my masthead is a great truth - we learn by disagreeing with one another. Or, a more home-grown version: we learn by trial and error, as long as we learn from the errors.

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This article was first published on Don Aitkin.



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About the Author

Don Aitkin has been an academic and vice-chancellor. His latest book, Moving On, was published in 2016.

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