Sunday, September 03, 2023

When There Are No Two Sides.

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When There Isn’t Two Sides to a debate?

There are many cases when there is not two sides to a debate. Here are a few examples:
  •  Facts. There are some things that are simply true or false, and there is no debate about them. For example, the statement "the Earth is round" is a fact, and there is no other side to that debate.
  •  Moral issues. Some moral issues, such as whether or not abortion is permissible, are inherently one-sided. There is no middle ground on these issues, and people who hold different views are simply not going to agree.
  •  Scientific consensus. When there is a strong scientific consensus on a particular issue, then there is no longer room for debate. For example, the scientific consensus is that climate change is real and that it is caused by human activity. There is no other side to this debate.
  •  Questions of opinion. Some debates are simply about matters of opinion, and there is no right or wrong answer. For example, the debate about whether or not pineapple belongs on pizza is a matter of opinion. There is no way to prove or disprove either side of the argument.
In these cases, it is not helpful to try to force a debate. Instead, it is more productive to focus on understanding the different perspectives and why people hold those views. It is also important to be respectful of other people's opinions, even if you disagree with them.

Here are some tips for dealing with debates where there is not two sides:
  •  Acknowledge the other person's perspective. Even if you don't agree with them, it is important to show that you understand their point of view. This will help to create a more productive dialogue.
  •  Be respectful. Even if you disagree with someone, it is important to be respectful of their opinion. This means avoiding personal attacks and name-calling.
  •  Focus on the facts. If the debate is about a factual issue, then focus on the evidence. Don't rely on emotions or personal beliefs.
  •  Be open to changing your mind. If you are presented with new evidence or arguments, be willing to change your mind. This shows that you are open-minded and willing to learn.
It is also important to remember that not all debates are worth having. Sometimes, it is better to simply agree to disagree.
Okay, this leads me to what I wanted to talk about, some media bend over backwards to present both sides but suppose there is only one side to the debate.
The New York Times has taken a lot of heat recently for its coverage of transgender issues. More than 370 current and former Times contributors signed an open letter detailing how the Times has covered trans issues with “an eerily familiar mix of pseudoscience and euphemistic, charged language.” The contributors emphasized the Times’ coverage of adolescent gender-affirming care, and detailed how its articles are being cited in court by states seeking to ban these treatments.

Though the Times’ immediate response was underwhelming, critics had hoped that the paper might take their criticisms to heart in future coverage. That hope was dashed when the Times doubled down with a nearly 6,000-word story about the unsubstantiated claims made by former Washington University in St. Louis gender clinic employee Jamie Reed.

The piece by Azeen Ghorayshi, headlined “How a Small Gender Clinic Landed in a Political Storm” (8/23/23), serves as a greatest-hits album of all of the Times’ problematic coverage on adolescent gender-affirming care, filled with familiar tropes and tactics the paper of record has used to distort the issue.
Sometimes there is only one side. Is there two sides to slavery? Is there two sides to the Holocaust? Is there two sides to the Ukrainian war?
The Times uses a “both sides” framing to set up its story on Reed:

Ms. Reed’s claims thrust the clinic between warring factions. Missouri’s attorney general, a Republican, opened an investigation, and lawmakers in Missouri and other states trumpeted her allegations when they passed a slew of bans on gender treatments for minors. LGBTQ advocates have pointed to parents who disputed her account in local news reports, and to a Washington University investigation that determined her claims were “unsubstantiated.”

The reality was more complex than what was portrayed by either side of the political battle, according to interviews with dozens of patients, parents, former employees and local health providers, as well as more than 300 pages of documents shared by Ms. Reed.

That framing suggests an equivalence between the politicians weaponizing Reed’s claims in order to ban youth access to gender-affirming care, and advocates for the people whose rights are being taken away. But what evidence does the paper provide to back up its claim that the clinic was misleading the public?
As James Baldwin said,
We can disagree and still love each other, unless your disagreement is rooted in my oppression and denial of my humanity and right to exist.

Sometimes there are no two sides!

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