Man reports detecting no misogyny

A few days ago the Guardian reported the abuse Cathy Newman of Channel 4 was getting in the wake of her interview with Jordan Peterson. A couple of days later it reported that Peterson had “expressed his dismay at the fallout from the encounter.” It then went on to quote what he actually said (i.e. tweeted) and that was well short of “dismay,” in my view, and he went on to say but it wasn’t misogyny.

A controversial clinical psychologist whose interview with a Channel 4 news presenter resulted in her being subjected to a barrage of online abuse has expressed his dismay at the fallout from the encounter.

Cathy Newman’s interview with University of Toronto professor Jordan Peterson, who was promoting his new book 12 Rules for Life: an Antidote to Chaos, went viral after Channel 4 posted the full 30-minute footage online last Tuesday. It has been watched almost two million times on YouTube and attracted nearly 50,000 comments. Many are highly critical of Newman, who declared on Twitter that she had “thoroughly enjoyed” the “bout” with Peterson, considered one of Canada’s leading intellectuals. A large number of the comments criticised Newman’s approach to the interview, accusing her of being a “social justice warrior” with a preconceived and misplaced grasp of Peterson’s views.

Jordan Peterson is “considered one of Canada’s leading intellectuals”? Really? Wasn’t he just a not particularly famous academic until the pronouns war?

Ben de Pear, editor of Channel 4 News, told his Twitter followers that Newman had been subjected to “vicious misogynistic abuse” after the interview and that the broadcaster had drafted in security specialists to carry out a risk analysis as part of their duty of care to her.

Mike Deri Smith, deputy head of digital at Channel 4 News, tweeted that a quick search had revealed more than 500 comments calling Newman a “bitch”. Peterson, who is interviewed in today’s Observer magazine, said that when he became aware of the abuse allegations he “immediately tweeted ‘if you’re one of those people doing that, back off’, there’s no excuse for that, no utility’.”

That’s what I’m saying is well short of “dismay.” It’s not dismay, it’s just saying stop doing that, it’s not useful, there’s no excuse for it. It’s good that he said it but let’s don’t exaggerate how impassioned he was about it.

He said the experience had left him trying to put himself in Newman’s position. “There is no doubt that Cathy has been subjected to a withering barrage of criticism online. One of the things I’ve been trying to do is to try to imagine what I’d do if I found myself in her situation and how I would react to it and understand how it was happening. But they’ve provided no evidence that the criticisms constituted threats. There are some nasty cracks online but the idea that this is somehow reflective of a fundamental misogyny and that’s what’s driving this is ridiculous.”

So he failed in his attempt to put himself in Newman’s position, because he left out the part about being a woman as opposed to a man. It makes a difference.

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